The Jewish Woman Who Invented the Modern Bra


In the 1950s and 60s, Maidenform ran a series of ads with the slogan, “I dreamed.” In one, a woman “won the election in my Maidenform bra.” In another, a woman “opened the World Series in my Maidenform bra.”

Who was responsible for the underwire behind these racy and progressive ads? A shrewd businesswoman and eventual philanthropist named Ida Cohen Rosenthal.

Having fled czarist Russia, Rosenthal settled in America in 1905. She began work as a dressmaker, but with the help of her friend Enid Bisset, soon discovered that the fashionable gowns of the moment required some help under the fabric. Initially, they gave away bras for the dresses they sold, but quickly realized that the undergarments themselves were in demand. The structure and support that women came to expect from Maidenform was born.

But Rosenthal’s innovations didn’t stop there. Maidenform was the first company to make maternity bras and to develop standard cup sizes. With the fortune she and her husband made from Maidenform, Rosenthal gave generously to Jewish causes like the United Jewish Appeal and the Anti-Defamation League.

Now that’s what we call support.

Watch why Maidenform lifted up the industry:

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