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Bras have come a long way in 100 years. EPA/HO

The story of … the bra

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the first bra patent. Amazingly for the time – 1914 – it was made by a woman in her twenties, Mary (Polly) Phelps Jacob (nee Crosby). Polly made her bra initially…
The stripe is the mark of the ordinary seaman, never of the officer.

Jean Paul Gaultier and the true history of the fashion stripe

The publicity material for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, which opened last week at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), unsurprisingly came decked in stripes. The blue and white…
‘We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.’ AAP Image/David Crosling

The story of … the supermodel

Women, fashion, and glamour are synonymous in the modern era – but in the mid to late 1980s this association intensified into one distinct cultural icon: the supermodel. While highly professional models…
Whether fashionable or functional, the handbag – and what it contains – is intensely personal. The Chanel 2.55, Wikimedia Commons

The story of … the handbag

Under attack from a flock of killer crows, Tippi Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller The Birds, pauses to collect her handbag. It’s an instinctive gesture that many women would recognise. For a…
The Beatles’ bright costumes can be seen as cheeky nostalgia for an empire in decline. Jeremy Chan

The story of … the military jacket

Fashion and war don’t seem an obvious pairing, but the military jacket is a fashion staple. It may take the form of a double-breasted dress uniform with brass buttons and epaulettes, trimmed in rock star…
Wearing tweed evokes a complex history spanning fashion, class and gender politics. JoePhilipson

The story of … tweed

Tweed is a mainstay of traditional tailoring; it is the cloth of royalty and aristocracy, fly-fishers and deerstalkers, bespectacled academics, Doctor Whos, fictional detectives, politicians and leaders…
The influence of the white dress shirt can be traced back to the Victorian era. Ross

The story of … the men’s white shirt

The classic white dress shirt is familiar and omnipresent in men’s fashion. As a result, we tend to be unaware that for more than 200 years this singular item of apparel, which is essentially unadulterated…
By the 1830s, fortunately for beaver populations, beaver pelt became démodé as the silk top hat appeared. Paul Stevenson

The story of … the top hat

If you had to tell the story of one item or phenomenon in fashion, what would it be? See the end for information on how to get involved. Throughout the 19th century, the top hat was a mainstay of Victorian…

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