In Miss Mary’s wardrobe – from corsets to camels

14 Jun 2020 8:27 am
Annica Svensson

Did you know that MISS MARY has made quality underwear for over 60 years? Join us for a nostalgic look back at what they were like during the happy (and sometimes a little crazy) 70s.

Miss Mary’s first underwear saw the light of day in 1962, and the range then grew year by year. Miss Mary’s underwear range was probably mostly associated with supportive, sturdy corsets and bras, though we also sold panties, girdles and petticoats. We even had a ‘health programme’ with beneficial garments for the body, such as support stockings and thermal garments.

Bras of all shapes but fewer sizer

We introduced the first T-shirt bra in our range already in the 70s. The term T-shirt bra was not coined in the 70s but the function was the same, with smooth, moulded cups and no seams.

A typical bra model that was popular in the 60s and 70s was the cross bra. In the 70s, we launched a front-closure model with practical poppers. The cross bra got its name from the X-design that separates the breasts.

The push-up bra was introduced in the range already in the 60s, but then we called it a fullness bra. It remained popular also during the 70s, and we took the chance to photograph it in a slightly more playful way, as seen as in the picture below.

Cup sizes and sizing system

In the 60s, we offered cup sizes A-D for bras and corsets. This size range was standard in the underwear industry in general. At the end of the 70s, we began to offer DD cups for big, heavy busts. According to the current sizing system for bras and corsets, a DD cup corresponds to an E cup. In the USA and England, DD cups are still used. Today, Miss Mary’s range goes up to I cups.

But it wasn’t just cup sizes that differed from the sizing tables of today. For several of our corset series, two different measurement systems were used, one for women of 163 cm or taller and one for women of 162 cm or shorter.

The Garanti series for women of 163 cm or taller

The Garanti series for women of 162 cm or shorter

Garments with strong support

Our most famous corset series was GARANTI, seen in the two pictures above. This was a best-seller for many years. The series was called Garanti because we guaranteed that the waist circumference would be reduced by at least one size when wearing the corset compared with not wearing one. The series was made from the world-famous Swiss material BALLY with Lycra®. Lycra® was the base material in all Miss Mary’s corsets. Throughout the 60s and 70s, underwear was mostly white, though it was also available in beige, pink and blue. In 1972, we introduced our first black corset (see picture above).

The following season, we launched a brand new best-selling corset series called DE LUXE. It consisted of a corselette and a body corselette in extra thin and cool LYCRA® elastic mesh with a beautiful floral pattern. The special thing about these garments was that they had a specially designed inner girdle that shaped and slimmed down the waist by up to 7 cm. Just like the GARANTI series, DE LUXE was made with consideration for different body heights. If you measured 39 cm or less from under the bust to the crotch, you were a LADY MARY, and if you were taller you were a MISS MARY.

Not all corsets were as strongly shaping or had as many reinforcements as the DE LUXE or GARANTI series. In the mid-70s, we launched a corset made from the flexible material BODYCARE, which was stretchable in all directions, giving complete freedom of movement.

In the 60s, all our girdles and corsets had suspender belts – fixed or removable – but in 1976 we introduced our first body without a suspender belt. It was beige with brown printed flowers, a lovely trendy 70s pattern.

We also had bodies with moulded cups. These were a little daintier than the other corsets, which were much more sculpting.

Underwear that promoted health

In the 70s, we also sold a health and support programme of underwear. It was developed in collaboration with Doctor Erik Velander. The garments included ‘the only medically functional support stockings with circular compression’. The stockings had a 3-month ladder guarantee. If they got a ladder, even with daily use, we sent out new stockings at no extra cost.

The health programme also included a bra with an in-built thermoplate that provided beneficial warmth for the muscles on the back and at the back of the neck. It was said to prevent and counteract stooping, ache and tiredness in the shoulders. It was made of Lycra with a pretty floral pattern. There was also a support corset to improve posture and provide rest for the back.

Miss Mary didn’t just sell underwear for women, the range also included underwear for men. The support pants for men, launched at the end of the 60s, were given a selling name in the 70s, Mr. M, for support and relief for tired and aching backs!

All the materials we have used in our garments have always been of the highest quality. The GARANTI series, for example, was made from the world-famous Swiss material BALLY Lycra from Switzerland. Of all the different materials, there is probably one that stands out more than all the others and that was our knitted thermo programme made of real camel’s hair. The series included long johns, vests, shoulder warmers, socks, fingerless mittens, knee warmers, abdominal supports and panties. Camel’s wool was popular in the 70s for its superior warming properties and recommended for people with rheumatism or who were exposed to cold and draughts. Few things probably say 70s like these garments.

Isn’t it great to see how fashion has changed over the years? If you are curious and want more information about what it looked like in the past, we recommend our first article in the series MISS MARY’S WARDROBE in which you can see and read about what the very first underwear collection looked like when it was launched in 1962.

Miss Mary's wardrobe