The Corset Stays the Course

Ladies, you may breathe a sigh of relief!

Actually, you may want to start by just breathing, now that you’re permitted to unfurl the bandage tape, unlace the corset and free your bosom from the bonds of a sports bra one size too small.

We know this to be true because the New York Post – a publication owned by Rupert Murdoch – has declared it so.

The paper reports that Rihanna “risked bursting out of her voluminous red dress as she hiked up her lady lumps” at an event last week, marking the official Return of the Breast.

For those of us unaware that our “lady lumps” – a term that, frankly, makes Trump’s descriptions of the female anatomy seem positively poetic – ever went away, it goes on to explain that “the perky little bosoms of supermodels such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have reigned supreme” in recent times.

It’s 3:30 on a weekday afternoon at Orchard Corset, and Peggy and Ralph Bergstein have already sold close to 20 corsets, from a black matte satin underbust to a yellow cotton waspie with brown trim. They could sell 10 more before closing time.

These corsets are the real deal. Although no longer made with whalebone, they have steel boning and top-to-bottom lacing, and can draw in the waist by four to five inches. Women (and not a few men) of all shapes and sizes come in, leaving with silhouettes that could tempt a Victorian.

Who are all of these people still buying corsets in 2017?

“Everyone is wearing them,” said Ms. Bergstein, who runs the Lower East Side shop with her husband. “You have no idea. Just most people won’t tell you. They want you to think it’s natural. But when you see that shape on the street, with the little waist, I’m telling you, it’s a corset. They are more popular than Spanx right now.”

The repeal of the big boob ban extends to this side of the Atlantic too. “Curve Your Enthusiasm: Big boobs bounce back” reported the Sun, another Murdoch title, this week.This might seem like good news for the average Irish woman, whose bra size is 34C. But don’t think this means you can manoeuvre your lady lumps into any old underwired Marks and Spencer number and be done with it. Oh no. There are improvements to be made first. (Remember, ladies there is literally no part of the female anatomy that can’t benefit from the application of something cooked up in a marketing department by experts in making us feel bad about our bodies.) Consider enhancing them with “push-up bras, chicken fillets, clever make-up” or “glitterboobs”, as seen at Glastonbury, advised the Post.

It seems like it’s ‘bring back old fashion trends week’. First, there were the days of the week jumper that virtually every blogger on Instagram is wearing – a nod to those knicker sets that kids of the 90s will remember.

Now Zara is throwing its proverbial hat – or rather bag – into the ring.

Behold the corset bag, by which we mean a bag shaped like an actual corset, boobs and all.

Those of us who were teenagers in the noughties will know this was quite the statement bag to parade on your weekly shopping trip to Claire’s Accessories.

You might even have worn it to parties, thinking you were literally the coolest girl there. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?

Zara’s leather cross body bag , with its minimal style and suede finish, is admittedly more stylish than its predecessor – the baby pink and floral version.
But if we’re honest, we’re just not sure we can go there again. That said, if you’re bold enough to embrace the trend this time round, you might be able to pull it off with a well cut Breton top, cropped jeans and pointy ankle boots.

It’ll certainly be the focal point of your outfit and a good conversation starter. Will you dare?

The Corset Is Back—Can You Handle It?

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, women regularly warped their bodies into organ-mashing S-shapes reinforced by corsets in order to create man-made curves to please, well, men. Aside from jutting hips and minuscule waists, that pursuit of altering one’s body shape into something deemed acceptable was hidden under layers of (typically similarly restrictive) clothing. Fast-forward to 2017: The corset is trending once again,
but this time, it’s out in the open. Could it be the Kim Kardashian West effect? The famously curvy social media superstar is as open about her “waist trainers” (essentially a “training corset”) as she is about her use of trompe l’oeil makeup contouring, or her wigs. So then it seemed only natural that her friend, designer Olivier Rousteing, used her figure as his inspiration for Balmain Fall 2017, filling the runway with rail-thin models in dresses that gave them the corset’s exaggerated busts and hips. That same season even Miuccia Prada, an icon of feminist fashion sensibility, featured the waist-highlighting piece in her collection, throwing the corset on top of everything from bulky jackets to hefty, metallic embellished dresses.

Still, the 2017 take on the corset is far from the brutal, rib-crunching underpinnings of yesteryear, which required a firm hand and something to brace yourself with, à la Scarlett O’Hara. Today’s corset is mostly ornamental (often coming with a zipper, rather than laces), transforming the body-shaming accessory of the past into an in-your- face symbol of femininity worn by the likes of Rihanna, who sported a lavender corset over a boyish Chanel shirtdress; Gigi Hadid, who has worn the style as a top, out on the town; and of course, Kardashian West, who threw on—what else?—a bold Givenchy and Balmain look.
Très chic and sheer, too! Bella Hadid dared to bare her nipples in a see-through corset dress for the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 Bal Masque for Paris Men’s Fashion Week on Monday, January 23.

PHOTOS: Bella Hadid’s Hottest Bikini Instagram PicturesThe Dior Makeup brand ambassador, 20, stunned in a delicate pale blue dress with a
structured bodice, a full, floaty skirt and all-over crystals. She went without a bra up top and layered a pair of briefs printed with J’Adore Dior on the waistband. The model teamed her number with fashion’s favorite accessory: a choker. Hers was studded with sparkling diamonds to match her dress. To complete her head-turning ensemble, the Chrome Hearts designer assembled her long brunette hair into a sleek ponytail and chose a light pink lip.

Hadid, who partied with Kendall Jenner, Eva Herzigova, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg at the luxe event, also showed off her look in a selfie video on Snapchat beforehand. She posed and pouted to “PRBLMS” by 6LACK, mouthing along to the lyrics.

We decide that in order to make it work in my wardrobe, I need to wear it in a more tomboyish manner, befitting my own style. I put a striped men’s button-down over the slip dress, slouched similarly to the parkas and bombers at Balenciaga’s Fall 2016 show, slipping the corset over to belt it. And here it is, that “feel good” effect that Choi mentioned: I stand up a little straighter, I feel my chest pushed forward, as if I’m wearing a power suit—but without the bulk of shoulder pads. As it turns out, wearing the corset is not just a total cinch—it can tie your whole look together.
It’s been a busy week for the younger sister of Gigi Hadid so far. She also walked in shows for Christian Dior, Givenchy and Chanel. And on January 22, she puckered up for a steamy photo op with Givenchy’s creative director Riccardo Tisci and Jenner: “HOT SANDWICH,” he captioned the Instagram.

Thankfully, the beauty appears to be unbothered by stateside drama. Her ex The Weeknd was spotted kissing Selena Gomez earlier this month, and sources tell Us that Hadid wasn’t pleased. ”Bella has reached out to Abel a few times and told him Selena is using him,” a Hadid pal told Us Weekly. “He thinks she’s just jealous and isn’t listening to her.”

From Marilyn Monroe to Victoria’s Secret, look back at the fascinating history of the corset style bra

From structured whalebone corsets in the 1500s to the invention of cup sizes and underwire in the 1930s, we look back at the history of the bra and how its design has evolved over time.

The corset belt is a sexy trend that seems to be everywhere we turn, but what outfit should you wear it with? Since it can be a bit tricky to style, we consulted celeb stylist Brad Goreski who offered up his tips for mastering the trend in an effortless way.

From casual oversized tees worn as dresses to sexy little slips and even clining midis, the celeb set loves to accentuate their waists with corset belts! The belt is yet another lingerie-like element that became a major street style trend, and we can thank the stylish, fashion-forward celeb set for offering up inspiration behind the look. Kim Kardashian was the first celeb to debut the style as her little sister, Kylie Jenner, was quick to follow suit — and the trend is everywhere we turn, with everyone from Gigi Hadid to Ashley Graham embracing the sexy style.

Want to embrace the trend but not sure how you can pull it off? Well, you’re in luck! Celeb stylist Brad Goreski teamed up with Marshalls to break down the hottest summer trends and we got the chance to pick his brain on the latest fashion craze — and what you should wear it with.

Without ever having been introduced, I’d been told to be outside Her Majesty’s bedroom at precisely one minute to nine in the morning, ready to perform the most intimate of services.

By reputation, I’m the UK’s leading boobologist, you see. Or to put it more formally, in July 1982, I became the official corsetiere to the Queen.
That meant using the Palace’s tradesman’s entrance, from which you walk for ten to 15 minutes through a vast and shabby basement.

You go past the kitchens and workrooms, through the floristry area and finally, after what seems like miles of corridors, into the lift that goes to the Queen’s private apartments.

I’d imagined her visitors’ room would be full of gilt frames and gorgeous furniture. Instead there was a jumble of mismatched bits and pieces.

It looked like an old-fashioned dentist’s waiting room. At 9am precisely, Miss Margaret McDonald — the Queen’s dresser and former nanny — ushered me into the royal bedroom.

This is the final episode in our video series that takes a nostalgic look back at everyday items in your wardrobe, revealing their sometimes-unlikely origins and examining how they have gone in and out of fashion throughout the years.

Previous episodes have shared the history of the wedding dress, the high heel, the ever- changing style of the handbag and the back-story of the power suit.

How to Wear Corsets Without Looking Trashy

Valerie Steele once wrote that the corset is “possibly the most controversial garment in the history of fashion.” In fact, the fashion historian and director of the Museum at FIT devoted an entire book to the subject titled The Corset: A Cultural History. So it’s no surprise that stylish women, including Miuccia Prada, Kim Kardashian, and Gigi Hadid, have picked up on the fashion item in recent months and turned it into something we’re
beginning to see everywhere, from the runways to the streets and even the gym. The main difference, however, is that women are now wearing the corset as a way to flaunt their curves rather than restrain them.

Kris Jenner moved her raucous ways from the camera to the party on Wednesday evening as she headed to Kathy Hilton’s 58th birthday bash alongside her sisters at celeb hotspot Craig’s restaurant – living it up among her fellow TV stars.The 61-year-old momager looked stunning in her sheer gold gown which flashed a mass of her bra from underneath shortly before she risked showing off her derriere while climbing into a cab at the end of the night.

While it may have been Kathy’s celebration, after she turned 58 on Monday, Kris stole the show in a hard-to-miss gold dress complete with a sheer body and busty front.Despite her sexagenarian status, she still showed off her youthful flare for fashion in her scanty mini which flaunted her push-up bra atop her perky cleavage.

The gown was a mix of textures, with beading, ruffles and a Lamé body making for a dazzling finish, while her exposed black bra perfected the look.The grandmother of six gave a nod to the cardinal legs or cleavage rule as she wore the metallic frock with thick black tights and lace up boots.

The history of the highly debated garment is loaded. Once used a medical device to correct the spine more than 400 years ago, the corset was originally made of metal. Later, the item—constructed of whalebone or wood—became an essential part of any respectable woman’s wardrobe. “It was a normal part of clothing, like wearing a bra or panties would be now,” Steele tells Allure. The ones we’re seeing on the runways today are quite the opposite: soft, flexible fabrics that support rather than modify the body and crush organs.

Similarly, Prada’s fall 2016 show had many models walking down the runway in corsets that laced in the front. The pieces were made of cotton, denim, and even knits. At Maison Margiela’s fall 2016 show, the massive buckled belts worn over sleeveless blazers mimicked the effect of corsets.

The great thing about the look is that it can elevate almost anything you pair it with. Plus, it totally defies the male gaze by allowing you to flaunt what you want when you want—no discomfort required. In the words of Steele, “It’s kind of remarkable that a garment that could be so criticized and so hated, to then be reappropriated as a sign of female sexual agency and power.”

All Women Need To Know About Ashley Graham’s Tip For Wearing A Strapless Bra

Ashley Graham knows a thing or two about bras and boobs.

For one, the “size sexy” model is the mastermind behind some of Addition Elle’s most seductive and supportive bras, so she understands how a woman with a big bust should be feeling and looking in a bra.

And two, she’s the hottest supermodel of the moment, meaning she takes part in a lot of fittings, trying on hundreds of different looks and picking up some valuable fashion advice along the way.

Getting a bra to fit just right can be a serious chore sometimes. Whether too loose, too tight or too hot, there’s always an issue popping up at the worst moment. On a recent Rachael Ray Show segment, I helped viewers resolve their real-world bra problems and found the perfect solutions to get their chests in order once and for all with bras they brought from home!

For any of us suffering through sweaty bras—because it’s hot outside or we’re internally overheating due to breastfeeding or extra hormones—it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Made from moisture-wicking material like bamboo, a bra liner tucks right along the edge of your bra and against your breastbone until it lies flat. It creates an added barrier that separates your skin from the bra that absorbs the sweat and prevents any feelings of wetness. The best part is that it can be machine-washed and air-dried to be
reused again and again.

You might find that your straps are always sloping off your shoulders. This could be because your shoulders are naturally rounded or because the straps themselves are extra silky. First, simply try tightening your straps; it’s a common mistake that we make strap adjustments when we first purchase a bra and then we forget to do anything further! If that simple solution doesn’t work, then second, consider a product like these elastic bra
clips that hook to each strap between your shoulder blades with an adjustable band in the middle to get just the right fit.

You finally found the perfect backless dress that you love—and the deep plunge has been on-trend for many seasons—only to realize you don’t have the right bra to go with it. Do you really want to spend upwards of $50 on a backless bra to potentially wear with one dress? Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could transform a bra that you already own? Here a bra converter lowers the back of your bra in the rear in a criss-cross fashion that wraps
around to your front where it is secured (don’t forget to initially lower your bra straps). This will lower your bra back by about four to five inches.

Along the lines of strapless and backless bras, bralettes might end up being appropriate for a wedding in 2017. Interestingly, some of the 2017 trends for bralette dresses have open lace designs, according to InStyle, and that mean adhesive bras would be the only choice.

Clearly, any wedding dress that will have a “barely there” appearance around the chest or back will need an appropriate bra, but traditional padded bras or corsets might not work as well as adhesive bras.

Getting familiar with adhesive bras will be necessary for everyday clothing as well, because the barely-there trend is also commonly in the forecast for 2017 style trends outside of formal wear. This corresponds with the latest fashion trend that includes wearing no bra, no bra or shirt with a blazer, or wearing a bra as a shirt.

So long to the days of constantly trying to yank up your fabric prison for your chest bra when you’re wearing a cute dress at work.

And this isn’t the first time Ms. Graham blessed us with fashionable and life-saving style hacks. One time, the model gave us her top five tips for finding the perfect pair of jeans. And it was beyond helpful.

La petite histoire des “bullet bras”, les soutiens-gorge emblématiques des années 50

Finding the perfect strapless bra can seem like a never-ending and never-fruitful task. For every good style, there are probably five or more that fall short in one way or another; whether it’s that the underwire digs in, or that it starts to slip down after ten minutes, or that it’s just plain unflattering.

If you’re yet to land yourself the perfect strapless bra then help is at hand, because the Telegraph fashion team have tried and tested a selection of bras to help you make a beeline for the perfect one for you…

Le corset pointu de Madonna créé par Jean Paul Gaultier, ça vous évoque quelque chose ? En mode, c’est ce que l’on appelle communément un “bullet bra”. Le truc, c’est que ce n’est pas notre cher Jean Paul Gaultier qui est à l’origine de ce design. Petit retour en arrière dans les années 1950, quand il était tout à fait de bon goût de se balader avec des seins pointus.

À l’époque, ces soutiens-gorge très pointus ont défrayé la chronique. En effet, une nouvelle technique de couture circulaire (dite du “whirlpool circle stitch”) donnait aux poitrines de celles qui les portaient un aspect “missile” particulièrement visible à travers les pulls moulants de l’époque. Ce style fut par la suite baptisé “pointy look”.

Ces soutiens-gorges conférant une poitrine voluptueuse ont très vite été adoptés par les plus grandes stars de cette décennie : Patti Page, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe ou encore Brigitte Bardot. Cependant, comme nous le rapporte Dangerous Minds, cette mode est tombée en désuétude dans le courant des années 1960 (notamment en raison du grand mouvement d’émancipation des femmes qui s’est lancé à ce moment-là).

I’ve always felt a bit jealous of women who are able to wear backless dresses without a bra – but stick-ons have always seemed like a scary, nay, risky proposition. However, Fashion Forms stick on bras are Net-A-Porter approved, and are apparently worn by several stars under their red carpet gowns, so I thought I’d give their ‘Go Bare Ultimate Boost Strapless Backless Bra’ a try.

Sticking it on for the first time is tricky – there’s a 6-point list of instructions for how to take it on and off and you’re only advised to wear it for a maximum of 6 hours, meaning they wouldn’t work for a wedding. With no straps, you’re obviously relying only on the cup and although the brand caters for up to a size E, I didn’t feel entirely secure. That said, the shape was great once you’d got it on – smooth and bump free. Perhaps it’ll just take a few goes to convert to the stick-on revolution?

Après les années de pénurie de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les femmes ont pu de nouveau retrouver une silhouette féminine pendant la période de prospérité des Trente Glorieuses, notamment grâce au New Look de Christian Dior (un style qui eut un écho dans le monde entier). Lorsqu’elle arrive en 1947, la révolution Dior propose une “silhouette sablier”. Le New Look se caractérise ainsi par un “volume corolle” sur les hanches, des vestes cintr
ées, une poitrine saillante et une taille étranglée par le retour du corset (au plus grand désespoir de Gabrielle Chanel, qui s’était battue pour libérer la femme de cet accessoire).

À cette époque, les femmes se réapproprient leur corps à travers la lingerie. De ce fait, la culotte gainante, la guêpière ainsi que les serre-taille sont revenus dans leur vestiaire, ce qui leur a permis de se glisser dans la silhouette taillée par Dior. Rien de tout cela n’était confortable, mais les femmes cherchaient avant tout à retrouver leur fé minité d’antan, laissant ainsi libre cours aux fantaisies les plus excentriques. Cette nouvelle mode était aux antipodes de celle des années 1920, quand les femmes essayaient d ’effacer leur poitrine, allant même jusqu’à porter une brassière pour aplatir leurs
seins – alors qu’au contraire les bullet bras accentuent les formes de ces dames.

Quarante ans plus tard, ces courbes artificiellement améliorées ont aussi été reprises par un certain Jean Paul Gaultier, qui confectionna l’iconique corset conique de Madonna pour son Blond Ambition Tour, en 1990. Après la mode unisexe, les “bullet bras” reviendront-ils dans nos vestiaires ? L’une des dernières collections de Stella McCartney pourrait bien nous le laisser croire. Affaire à suivre.

Suck in your stomach: Corsets are making a comeback … on top of clothes!

Fashion corsets are now popping up at your local mall, in big-box stores like Zara and Forever 21 and at popular online hubs like reports corset searches are up a whopping 97.2% year-over-year (corset belts are the most popular).

But those adopting the look aren’t wearing the Victorian-era waist-cinchers like they used to. Trend-setters like Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian are strapping corsets over their clothes, putting all that boning on display.

The look didn’t come out of a vacuum: Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain, Louis Vuitton and Preen have all sent the rib-crunching trend down their runways.

inding the perfect strapless bra can seem like a never-ending and never-fruitful task. For every good style, there are probably five or more that fall short in one way or another; whether it’s that the underwire digs in, or that it starts to slip down after ten minutes, or that it’s just plain unflattering.

If you’re yet to land yourself the perfect strapless bra then help is at hand, because the Telegraph fashion team have tried and tested a selection of bras to help you make a beeline for the perfect one for you…

I’ve always felt a bit jealous of women who are able to wear backless dresses without a bra – but stick-ons have always seemed like a scary, nay, risky proposition. However, Fashion Forms stick on bras are Net-A-Porter approved, and are apparently worn by several stars under their red carpet gowns, so I thought I’d give their ‘Go Bare Ultimate Boost Strapless Backless Bra’ a try.

Sticking it on for the first time is tricky – there’s a 6-point list of instructions for how to take it on and off and you’re only advised to wear it for a maximum of 6 hours, meaning they wouldn’t work for a wedding. With no straps, you’re obviously relying only on the cup and although the brand caters for up to a size E, I didn’t feel entirely secure. That said, the shape was great once you’d got it on – smooth and bump free. Perhaps it’ll just take a few goes to convert to the stick-on revolution?

Since my past experiences of strapless bras could all be summarised with the word ‘scaffolding’, I doubted that Wacoal’s unpadded lace option would work past a C cup on first inspection. Somehow, though, it kept everything where it should be, but without digging in so much that it created unsightly bulges. And since it wasn’t heavy, it didn’t shift down during the day and need hoicking up constantly. The natural shape (not too natural, mind) even looks good under a white t-shirt, which is the ultimate test for me, as I find most bras look a bit torpedo-y through a white t-shirt. The nude shade was a pretty good match for my fair skin, too, and while nude bras generally aren’t the prettiest, the lace helped. I’ve been wearing mine under things that would hide bra straps, which says it all.

From corsets to bras: Britain to commemorate history of First World War women

The official commemorations of the First World War are going to explore the contribution of women through fashion

They famously picked up the reins to keep Britain running during the First World War, taking on the job left by men, throwing themselves into manual labour and changing the course of women’s history forever.

The official programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War will now celebrate how women not only kept the country going, but transformed the world of fashion while they were at it.

The 14-18 NOW project has commissioned an exhibition on “fashion and freedom”, exploring how the women of Britain went from “restriction to release” over the course of four years.

It will trace the history of fashion from “corset to bra” as female workers threw off the confines of their tight clothing to adopt shorter skirts, looser shirts and even in some cases trousers.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever relegated a gorgeous dress to the back of your closet because you didn’t want to wear a strapless bra. Is that everyone? Generally, they can be a real buzz kill, so what are some hacks for wearing strapless dresses without a strapless bra? For most traditional looks, they’re tough to avoid, but if you get a little creative and/or gutsy and/or crafty, you’ll actually find that there are a lot of ways to ircumvent the infamously uncomfortable undergarment.

It will show how they donned sturdy uniforms to befit their new physical work, including caps, overalls, and even skirts to work on public transport despite the perceived risk to moral life.

The show, which curators insist is not “frivolous” but central to social and economic history, is part of a year which is intended to celebrate the “changing role of women” during the First World War.

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said they would be invited modern designers to “respond and reflect on a moment when women’s fashion changed forever, when we lost the corset and gained the bra”.

Bra History Made by Females Seeking an Alternative

Bra history was first made at the beginning of the 20th century when innovative women sought an alternative to being tied into a restrictive corset. Often debated as to what woman, and what country, created the first bra, the invention of the undergarment was a step into the future for women’s fashion.

Accolades are given to a New York City socialite, Mary Phelps Jacobs, for inventing and patenting the first bra on Nov. 3, 1914. Yet, it was a Parisian woman who first made bra history revealing her own invention before the 20th century. Madame Herminie Cadolle showcased her innovative bra type in 1889, at the Exposition Universelle of Paris.

Cadolle’s idea for the bra-like fashion design was to split the traditional uncomfortable corset in two parts. The lower half still worked as a corset with the upper part improved to work on its own. By adding straps for the shoulders, it worked independently as a supportive garment for the breasts.

The designer called her invention a “soutien-gorge,” brassiere in French. Cadolle established a lingerie shop where she sold the item. By 1905, women took to the new garment, making bra history, seeking to purchase only the upper half.

During the same time period, Marie Tucek of New York, was granted a patent in 1893 for her own breast- support invention. Tucek’s creation offered women a durable and improved undergarment to replace the corset. Her device was designed to use sheet metal, or another hard material, fashioned to sit under the breasts for support, much like today’s underwire.

If you’ve been #blessed with big boobs then you know that bra shopping is literally the
bane of your existence.

Pretty AF bralettes are a total joke ‘cause your girls need more support than a simple strip of elastic. Same thing goes for strapless styles that slip down ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME. Yeah, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Good news y’all! Fellow bigger-busted babe, Ashley Graham, has an incred hack for helping keep those pesky strapless devices up and we’re listening.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood stars took notice of bra- enhancing curves and promoted the undergarment to fans. Companies were taking notice of the bra as well, working to make it better with fabric that stretched. The first bras were made one-size-fits-all. Ida Rosenthal and her husband William, established the still well-known lingerie company, Maidenform in 1922. They noticed different shaped women should have different sized bras for better comfort.

Rosenthal became another important figure in bra history. Around the late ’20s early ’30s, Rosenthal introduced different cup sizes so the bra would conform to the body and be a better fit.

This has been debated though. Some give credit for the invention of cup sizes, A, B, C, and D, to S H Camp & Company. They were the first to advertise the newly available sizing, in February 1933. The ads were seen in the Corset and Underwear Review publication.

What Can the corset style bra Teach us About Ageism and Innovation? Quite a Bit, Actually

The bra of 2017 comes in every imaginable shade, in at least 36 sizes, comes with a joey pocket to stash your phone, is invisible, washable, can be worn on the inside or the outside and even, in some of the latest iterations, is said to be close to detecting breast cancer.

But the bra comes from pretty ordinary beginnings. The precursors to the modern bra – including the corset – were first worn as early as the 14th century. They were conceived, invented, manufactured and taken to market by men for women – and they didn’t take off. Under the cover of many layers of clothes, women were secretly making all sorts of modifications to make horrific contraptions almost tolerable.

The big breakthrough came when a woman, Herminie Cadolle (herself the owner of a pair of breasts), invented the wellbeing bra. It first appeared in a catalogue in 1889 and cut the traditional corset in two. This radical redesign shifted focus away from corsetry that had fought the female form in a bid to reshape and constrict, to a device that started to embrace women’s bodies. It paid attention to function and comfort and was said to be the bra that freed women.

Tons of celebrities freed the nipple in 2017, but this year, people are doing things differently and actually incorporating underwires and bra-like tops into their wardrobes.

New York-based brand Orseund Iris has made underwire shirts and corsets a thing, and fashion girls all over are catching on.

While unique corset belts have been recognised as a waist-snatching trend this season, the Orseund Iris Structured Corset ($230) ensures your boobs are pleasantly perky without an uncomfortable bra.

The bra has gone from strength to strength with an average of $16 billion spent on bras each year. So what was the turning point? Women were involved in all stages of the design. It turns out that the problem the bra was to fix was not, as early male designers had
guessed, to change the shape and aesthetic of the female body. It was to support the wildly different shapes and sizes of breasts while women ran, worked, danced, debated and bred.

So what has this got to do with the older South Australians that we so proudly represent? It turns out, the story of the bra and services and products for older people are not all that different. The same two success criteria are evident in great innovation for older people. The first is that innovation must shift the way we value ageing. We must overturn ageism and stop guessing what might help older people live. Indeed much of what masquerades at the moment as innovation in fact institutionalises ageism.

And then, imagine, iterating potential solutions, and, if they like them, assisting in selling and teaching others about those solutions. The bra is an uplifting story of innovation. Even the cleverest men cannot design for women’s bodies without women. Our cleverest SA designers equally cannot invent solutions for older people without older people.