Thursday, 28 October 2010

Herstory- the bra

Tomorrow is Coppa Feel Day. So let's BOOB HIJACK!!

To inspire your mission, I'm sharing some trivia with you about the one thing that cops a feel every day. Your bra, and a couple of the wondrous women we have to thank for it.

So, bra facts:

The word comes from brassiere, 'upper arm' in old French.

The garment itself has been around in various guises, gauzes and girdles for eons. But 'brassiere' appeared in American Vogue in 1907. And so naturally became the name of choice.

The bra as we know it is based on it girl Mary Phelps Jacobs' invention in 1913. Commercial success was originally far from her mind. She just wanted to go to a party in a plunging sheer dress. Her corset was cumbersome and poked through, so she sewed silk handkerchiefs together with pink ribbon. Ingenious. And history, or herstory, was made.

She patented her design and set up business as Caresse Crosby (Coppa Feel Crosby?). But soon sold to Warner Brothers Corsetry for $1500. They went on to make over £15,000,000 from the design over the next 30 years.

Rarely mentioned are her other passions, as a peace activist, and success as a publisher of some literary greats' early work. Think Hemingway, Pound, Eliot & Joyce.

Equally inspirational, in 1928, Ida Rosenthal pioneered the cup sizing we use now. She epitomised the American Dream- a Russian immigrant using hard work and inventiveness to rise to the top with her business, Maidenform.

Like Mary, her interest in underwear stemmed from a love of dresses and wanting them to look their best. She was surprised when her bras sold better than the dresses they were supposed to promote.

But she embraced the trend and was the first to sell nursing bras and adjustable backs... All under a racy slogan: 'I dreamed... in a Maidenform Bra'. I think Peggy would have been proud.

And now it's your turn. Check your own breasts, maybe check some others, and make sure everyone knows how and why to coppa feel.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Faux real?

I am an animal lover. I love them so much, I wear them. As fur. Capes, coats, wraps, collars... even a handbag.

But before you skin me to wear around your own neck, let me tell you why and when I wear it:

1. I wear fur whenever it is likely to strike up a conversation. On the tube, to a party, the pub. Whatever... So long as I can chat to people about new versus old, real versus fake, you'll find me in fur. There is no conversation starter like it and it lets us chat about the points below.

2. I buy it second hand, so no money goes to the fur farming industry. The older the better. And a charity shop find beats all others as then money is going straight to a good cause.

3. Faux fur is usually made from polymers. Like acrylic . These are synthetic fibres that need water, coal, petroleum and other ingredients. I won't elaborate on why these are bad. There are also cases where supposed fake fur has actually been made using real animals, and sold in high street shops. Watch this: Racoon dog film

4. If nobody wore old furs, or other cast off clothes, they would pile up in landfills. This takes up land and, more worryingly, the decaying process releases methane into the atmosphere. This contributes to climate change.

5. I don't only buy second hand fur, I buy all my clothes that way. I think that if more people did, the better our climate and environment would be. People who want to protect animals should act on that. Rather than an aversion to fur. Of course you can buy faux that way too.

Lastly, I really do love animals. I've adopted two homeless old lady cats, and the ashes of my pet rabbit take pride on place on my mantel place. Yes, that is him in the picture. And no, I didn't kill him.