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THE MAIDEN FORUM    5
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"HOLDTITE" the accentuated brassiere that Maiden Form introduced in 1934.  It became the basic foundation for all future bras of the entire industry.

"Thirty Years of Progress"
Evolution of Styles

The reaction of the first wearers of Maiden Form's new type of "uplift" brassiere was tremendous.  This bra was really little more than a piece of cloth with a few well placed darts.  However, the garment was a radical departure from the cummerbund type of boyish form brassiere popular in the early twenties.

Maiden Form's "uplift" was actually revolutionary in two respects.  First it encouraged women to be feminine rather than boyish in appearance and actions.  This was certainly much more natural and realistic than attempting to become a masculine duplicate.

Secondly, the very efficient manufacturing and labor-saving set-up made it possible for Maiden Form to sell its bras at the very popular price of $1.00.  For the first time in the history of the United States, the average woman was able to purchase an uplift brassiere.  Up to that time only women who could afford custom made bras were able to by them.

Maiden Form Educates Public

Actually, the garments produced during the first ten years of Maiden Form's existence had very little uplift.  Their "uplift" value came from the fact that they held the bosom in position instead of flattening it out as the cummerbund type of bra did.  During this decade, Maiden Form was educating the American woman to the importance of an accentuated uplift garment.

But it was a slow process.  When

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The original "UPLIFT" brassiere made by Maiden Form in 1922.

the original Maidenette was produced, the accentuation of the pocket was a complete departure from the orthodox brassieres of the time.  As a result the public was not ready to accept it and the garment had to be modified.

By 1934, however, women understood the function of a brassiere.  When "Holdtite" (extremely accentuated for the thirties, though not by today's standards) was introduced, it became the basic foundation for future brassieres and was copied by every other manufacturer in the industry.

Designs Systemized

When the company first started, designing was done on an experimental basis.  Each season Maiden Form brought out a number of styles.  Bra and slip combinations, dance sets and garter belts were introduced.  However, the company decided to concentrate primarily on brassieres. Gradually the designing was systemized and one or two styles were brought out yearly.  These designs were made up in several different materials and lengths to suit various types of figures.  From its earliest inception, the company has followed the slogan, "A Maiden Form for every type of figure."

Until the thirties, laces, crepé de chines, tricots and swamis were the only materials used in manufacturing  brassieres.  These materials were loosely knit, gave easily and quickly lost their shape.

Since the accentuated uplift brassiere molded and confined the bosom, a material with these same qualities was needed for its manufacture.  English broadcloth, a lightweight material, had these qualities.  Brassieres made of broadcloth were introduced and proved to be very successful.  Eventually the entire industry started using broadcloth.  Tricots and swamis were entirely eliminated.  The only other fabric to have such a great effect on the industry was nylon, introduced just before World War II. 

Line Becomes Very Extensive

Despite the fact that Maiden Form presented only one or two new numbers each season, the line became very extensive.  It is repeat business—the customer coming back time and time again for a certain style—that has kept the line so large.  Even today Alloette, introduced in 1941; Allegro created in 1940; Intimo and Allo added to the line in 1937, are still big sellers.

Through the years Maiden Form has striven for simplicity of design.  Conservatism in styles has built up a repeat business.  Dress modes, such as plunging necklines, halter tops or off-the-shoulder designs, do have an affect on bra styles.  But these extreme styles usually have short sale lives.  A customer may be attracted by a certain color, contour or material.  But she will continue to buy a garment only if it fits well, wears well, launders well and is comfortable.

Repeat business, therefore, demands simplicity and conservatism of style.  Tailored styles that can be worn under the majority of fashions will sell best.  Repeat business also demands precision in manufacturing; each garment must be exactly like the next one or the one before.  Thus a Maiden Form bra has become a matter of engineering as well as designing.  The simpliest bra has as many as twenty separate pieces, a long line as many as fifty.  Therefore, extreme care must be used to see that each garment corresponds exactly to the previous one.

Women have learned that when they buy a Maidenform they get the finest quality material and workmanship at the lowest possible cost.  Simplicity of design and exacting production standards make this possible.


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