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Uplift: The Bra in America First Edition Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0812236439
ISBN-10: 0812236432
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the 1890s, mail-order "bust girdle" advertisements were discreetly hidden in the back pages of women's magazines; by 1918, bras were a major staple of the fashion industry, with 52 different brands prominently displayed in department stores. In this good-humored yet careful examination of mainstream print advertisements and bra-industry publications such as the Corset and Underwear Review, Farrell-Beck, a professor of textiles and clothing at Iowa State University's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Gau, president of a home-based textile-conservation business, illuminate women's experience of this most everyday, functional yet still titillating and even scandalous garment. Less a history of the bra than a study of its relationship to history, the book traces public perception of the bra's foremost function: originally conceived as a garment meant to promote women's health, it came to be seen as one meant to improve their appearance. Bra design, the authors demonstrate, shifted endlessly in response to such factors as wartime rationing, the increasing number of women in sports and, of course, the feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s. Many of Farrell-Beck and Gau's discoveries are surprising: Who knew that the U.S. government commissioned Maidenform to design a vest for carrier pigeons during WWII or that one enterprising manufacturer marketed a bra with a tiny, zippered pocket intended to hold money? The 51 b&w illustrations add to the entertainment value of this fun, punchy book. (Dec.)Forecast: Uplift will appeal primarily to women's studies and pop culture scholars, and readers interested in the history of fashion. A word to the wise: don't confuse this work with another recent one sporting a similar title, Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau have collaborated to produce a minor miracle: an informal yet comprehensively researched work of history and sociology that isn't dull, isn't pretentious, isn't politically correct (or incorrect), and that's fun to read as well as being instructive."—Robert Gottlieb, New York Observer



"In this good-humored yet careful examination, Farrell-Beck and Gau illuminate women's experience of this most everyday garment. . . . A fun, punchy book."—Publishers Weekly



"Uplift is extremely well-researched, and is significantly better than previous histories of the brassiere."—Valerie Steele, Fashion Institute of Technology

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press; First Edition edition (October 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812236432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812236439
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,139,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This readable history of the brassiere is both fun and informative. Topics of discussion include the transition from the corset to the bra, how the bra reflected women's changing position in society, and the birth of companies like Maidenform and Victoria's Secret.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did a program on the history of the bra, YES, there really is a history. It was a hit!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this for my daughter who is in the fashion industry
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By Sarah on February 20, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a find. Not a subject covered in many books.
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