Money & Bras: From Corsets to Brassieres, States with the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Curated by CLAI

THE BRA: Women today breathe a little easier — thanks to a World War I metal shortage. Since corset frames were mostly made of metal, which was needed for ammunition and other military supplies, in 1917 the U.S. War Industries Board asked American women to stop buying them.

  • Caresse Crosby patented the first modern bra in the U.S. in 1910.
  • Some historians credit William and Ida Rosenthal, founders of Maidenform, with introducing the A-, B-, C- and D-cup system in the late 1920s or early ’30s, while others claim it was S.H. Camp and Company.
  • When the androgynous flapper look came into vogue in the Roaring Twenties, so-called bandeau bras — which flattened the breasts — became the popular choice.
  • Today, nearly 95% of women in Western countries wear bras, which translates to a billion-dollar industry dominated by Victoria’s Secret and corporations like Hanes.
Brassiere in 1914

Brassiere in 1914

STATES WITH BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: You’d squeeze the most out of $100 in Mississippi, where you could use it to buy $115.74 worth of goods and services, relative to the national average. Arkansas comes next, followed by Missouri, Alabama and South Dakota. The state where $100 falls flattest is Hawaii, where that same $100 gets you only $85.32. (D.C., though not a state, is even worse: It would buy you just $84.60 in goods.)

Relative Value of $100 in States in the U.S. (WAPO)

 

 

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