I don’t know about you, but I prefer the bra on the left. (Judging from the look of distress on the model’s face, I’d wager that she does too!) I’m in favor of a soft, natural bustline over one that looks like the business end of an AAM-4 Japanese missile. The interesting thing is that this ad from the 50s is targeted towards the “small or less-than-average” bust, which certainly wouldn’t need the crazy support the bra would offer. But I guess they were pitching falsies without the padding to women who wanted to seem more well-endowed. Such was life in the 50s. Torpedo tits were de rigueur because fashion dictated it. I think it had to do with the rigid notions of gender identity, formal codes of etiquette, and overall uptight attitude of that era. It stands to reason that they wanted their breasts to be as firm and unyielding as their convictions.
Fortunately, the McCarthy Era is over. We’re living in a different time now, where a politician can initiate a frank, open dialogue about touchy issues like racial relations in America, and every civil servant has a sex scandal or two under his belt. This has paved the way for our “anything goes” philosophy in fashion. When it comes to their lingerie wardrobe, women can choose the standard underwire, opt for a camisole in lieu of a bra, or scrap the undergarments all together. Why would anyone want to return to the confining discomfort of a corset or a foundation bra like the one pictured above? Surprisingly though, I’ve seen a resurgence in foundation undergarments like these made from nylon/spandex in the past few months. Brands like Made by Niki, What Katie Did and FleurT, to name a few, have all jumped on the retro bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE vintage lingerie. I just prefer the pre-WWII styles of french knickers, teddies, full-length gowns, Kimonos and soft bralettes.
As a 34C to D, I am always looking for bras that minimize, rather than maximize the space my breasts take up in this world. I am desperately envious of girls who can rock a wife beater without a bra, and I drool over the Araks bralettes daily. I have recently come to the conclusion that I prefer a bra that lets the girls hang a little lower, rather then propping them up to high heaven. There is a time and a place for unyielding undergarments – namely, your wedding day, or perhaps someone else’s. But for everyday comfort and general well-being, I think it’s best to opt for oranges over apples.