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The Teen Who Invented Bras

Young debutante Polly Phelps didn’t like what her corset did to the appearance of her dress in 1910 and put two handkerchiefs together to replace it. Her brassiere became popular, and she patented it in 1914. She then sold the patent for a pittance, but she didn’t need the money. That’s when Polly’s life got really interesting.  

After her invention she met Harry Crosby, who confessed his adoration for her in a Tunnel of Love. She promptly divorced her first husband, married Harry in 1922, changed her name to Caresse and moved to France. Harry had also suggested the name Clytoris, but they decided to name their dog that instead. From Europe, Harry sent a telegram back to Boston to his family declaring: "PLEASE SELL 10,000 WORTH OF STOCK. WE HAVE DECIDED TO LEAD A MAD AND EXTRAVAGANT LIFE."

And it was an amazing life. Caresse Crosby ended up with a list of accomplishments that ranged from substantial to silly, which you can read about at Racked.


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