March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday.
IDA ROSENTHAL (1866-1973)
Ida Rosenthal has had an uplifting effect on virtually every woman in America, though her name may not be instantly recognizable. Rosenthal was the inventor of the modern bra. She was also the embodiment of the American dream, coming over from her native Russia to escape religious persecution in 1904, and setting herself up in business with a partner, Enid Bisset. Together they established Maiden Form. Ida Rosenthal created the modern bra as a way to make the dresses in her shop fit better, but the undergarments became more popular than the dresses.
The renamed Maidenform company opened its first factory in Bayonne, NJ, in 1925. Maidenform became highly successful, even during the Great Depression, and it also held claim to a lot of firsts, including the first maternity bra, the first adjustable bra fastener, and the development of a standardized method for cup sizes. The fact is that her Maidenform advertising campaign, which utilized underwear models and a racy-for-its-time slogan, “I dreamed…in a Maidenform Bra,” was as big a deal in its time as “wardrobe malfunctions” are now.