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bra 1986.246/3

This soft cotton brassiere is a simple yet practical garment, providing support without exaggerating the shape of the bust, as so many 1950s bras had done. The decorative machine stitching is in pink floral sprigs, and the edges are gently scalloped for extra delicacy and femininity. This item was retailed by Dorothy Perkins which was an inexpensive store frequented by youngsters eager to look fashionable. The wearer at the time was Assistant Keeper at the Gallery of Costume, although she did not donate the bra until over 30 years later.

Compared to many of the brassieres which came after, in black lace or scarlet satin, this is an innocent garment, looking to a fresh youthful image, and reminiscent of Laura Ashley's ethos. Increasingly from the 1970s, bras have been much bolder in colour, have included lycra for a close fit, and sometimes underwire "push-up" support as first made popular by the "mega-hit" Wonderbra in 1994.

Full item descriptions:

"brassiere & bra" [1993.21], Dorothy Perkins
"bra & briefs & petticoat" [1986.246/3], Jeune Europe, Harvey Nichols