[Ads-l] more from chatting w/ costume historians re: "teddy" the undergarment

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Thu Jan 28 13:14:43 UTC 2016

What I'm noticing in the period ads (c.1915) that a couple of the 
costume historians have sent me is that:

a) we have the appearance of the brassiere, but it's like a supportive 
camisole with boning and goes down to the waist

b) over that is worn the corset, which is placed much lower than it was 
in earlier eras: below the bust, and extends down over the abdomen and 
hips, so it's also much longer. More like the modern girdle.

so, yes, there is a much straighter shape to the body. Verrry different 
from the 1890s corset, which is still the main means of supporting the bust.

Bizarrely enough there were bust enhancers - ruffles to stick in to to 
the brassiere or corset (I guess). This goes contra to my image of the 
flat chest as the desirable look. (But I may be thinking more 20s there).

More than you ever wanted to know. Sorry.

And no, they haven't sent me any ads for "teddy bear combinations" yet . . .

---Amy West

On 1/28/16 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> Date:    Wed, 27 Jan 2016 18:26:03 -0500
> From:    Jonathan Lighter<wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject: Re: more from chatting w/ costume historians re: "teddy" the undergarment
>> >And one responded, "Definitely infantization [sic: JL] of women in the
> 'teens [sic: JL] --look at the artwork--so much baby [sic: JL] sexualization
>   starting, while
> losing the hourglass figure and childbearing hips...."
> Women were also being masculinized in the late teens, as in Howard Chandler
> Christy's recruiting posters of  women in USMC and USN uniform ("Gee! I
> Wish I Were a Man!"), bobbed hair, the far-out "flapper"look (ideally with
> small breasts), the rising tide of female smoking, the appearance of women
> as "pals" in pulp fiction, especially Westerns,  the employment of women in
> defense plants, the admission of some 13,000 women into active duty in the
> Navy (other than nurses, IIRC), etc.  (OK, I can't think offhand of any
> particular "etc.")
> Most of these trends became more prominent in the '20s, but they were
> already present in the previous decade.
> JL

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