January 9, 2014

WORN FASHION JOURNAL: The forgotten bra fitters

I just filed a draft of a fairly long feature about the lost history of bra fitters. That’s right, those women who fondled boobs for a living. They still exist today in specialty boutiques, but they were such a big deal in department stores during the first half of the 1900s. Girls and women were expected to undergo the ceremonious ritual of a fitting before buying a bra. You know when Gretchen Wieners told Cady Heron, “You wouldn't buy a skirt without asking your friends if it looked good on you, right?” It was the same with bras in the heyday. Except the friends were the fitters.

During my research, I became really fascinated with this profession and the history of bras that I kept a digital scrapbook of old-timey ads. Some are hilarious. Some are weird. My favourite, I think it was everyone’s, was Maidenform's campaign. Even Don Draper said so: “Maidenform is a dream, but Playtex is a bra.” Needless to say, I had many dreams about bras during the writing of this story.