Stage 1 Sources

“Bra Glossary.” Bra Glossary,

This website is taken from Hanes Inc. It features a glossary of terms related to the bra. Included in these terms were the fabrics and materials used to make their bras. This is useful for knowing the types of materials that go into a bra.


Carter, Alison J. Underwear, the Fashion History. New York, Drama Book Publishers, 1992.

This print book goes into detail about the history of undergarments. It includes designs, advertisements, and real-life pictures of undergarments throughout the ages. Though mainly focused on women’s undergarments, Carter also occasionally provides information about the undergarments of men and children. Carter explains not only the changes in underwear fashion, but also the reasons for those changes. For example, she explains that corsets were phased out due to the start of World War II, when steel was recruited for the war effort. Carter also explains the advertising boom of bras in the 1950s, when FCC regulations became loose enough to allow the airing of ads featuring women wearing the bra. Prior to this era, advertisements showing a woman wearing the bra without anything to cover it up was prohibited. This makes me wonder about how this change in advertising affected women and culture throughout the ages. Without a woman to wear it, commercials featuring the bra on its own were probably not as powerful as commercials featuring a woman wearing a bra. Advertisements use “perfect” and “ideal” people, people who look as though they embody what the product is purported to provide to the consumer, (e.g., happiness, vitality, youth, strength, confidence…) to convince the consumer to buy the product. Instead of selling a product, advertisements are selling ways of life. Laundry detergent commercials feature a mother and her child folding laundry together and laughing. The marketers aren’t making a pitch for a more effective detergent, they are putting into viewers minds that their product is linked with happiness, with the hope that people will come across the item at the store and buy it, because they have associated that brand with a certain image of happiness. Detergent commercials create an ideal of happiness, just as sexy bra commercials promote the ideal form of the female body. When have Victoria’s Secret commercials featured plus-sized models? I’d wager never. So the bra industry possibly has power over what the ideal female body should look like.


“Corset.” Britannica Academic, Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 14 Jul. 2016. Accessed 22 Oct. 2016.

This encyclopedia entry on the corset gives useful historical background of the corset, as well as the health risks of the garment. The important thing I gleaned from this source is the fact that women of Western societies have been wearing body-shaping garments since the Bronze Age. How does the tradition of female body shapes differ in other parts of the world?


Garber, Megan. “The First Bra Was Made of Handkerchiefs.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 3 Nov. 2014.

This source gives the background of what led to the creation of the first bra. Mary Phelps Jacobs, a teen socialite fed up with bulky corsets showing under her light, airy gowns, designed a garment that only confined the breasts and didn’t show underneath her dresses. Jacobs applied for a patent later on, and boasted of her invention’s contribution to women’s freedom to move. This article illustrates the feminist foundation the bra is built off of.


Lynn, Eleri et al. Underwear: Fashion in Detail. London, V &Amp; A, 2010.

This print book provided illustrations of real-life artifacts of corsets and bras, as well as specific design and materials information. Though the information of this book echoed that of other sources I’ve listed, it was a good supplement.



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