Ah yes, there’s nothing like a good game of tennis while sporting a pair of pointy cotton hats glued to your bosom. I had the pleasure of digging up an actual fashion feature that Life magazine ran in 1949 on the latest brassiere to hit the market, called the Posĕs (pronounced “pose-ease”). Advertised as both bra and bikini, the “discrete” frilled cups were backed with a specially developed adhesive strong enough to keep everything in place during even the most vigorous games of racket ball, but also painless and easy to remove. Oh what’s that you say? Did they come in an array of colours and patterns?
Why yes, they did indeed. Here’s inventor Charles L Langs, Detroit industrialist and Yale graduate, who came up with the idea while watching his wife Mary fidgeting with the straps of her regular old swimsuit. She must have been glowing with pride when her husband turned her collection of doilies into a collection of stick-on bra cups.
It was claimed the cups would stay on even if its wearer jumped into the swimming pool from a 10-foot diving board. Huh, that must be some pretty effective adhesive. The claim about “painless removal” was of course, not likely tested on the inventor’s own chest. Minor details!
The Life magazine article noted that the Posĕs design gave any woman “a startling look, especially when she is seen from the rear.” Taking a cue from the bullet bra, released the very same year by Maidenform in 1941, it maintained the fashionable new cone shape of the day while allowing a sunbather to achieve an even suntan.
Of course uneven tan lines in those days were highly undesirable, as evidenced by this lady ↓ undergoing a skin bleach treatment at a Helena Rubinstein salon…
(I love how they’ve painted this lady in brown make-up to demonstrate the bleaching treatment ↑ I found it in another classic feature on the salon by Life Magazine).
But back to the Posĕs. I just can’t imagine why these things vanished into obscurity.
Doesn’t she just look ecstatic?