1904 - Lena Bryant rented a small storefront on Fifth Avenue with living quarters in the back for $12.50 a month. There she hung her garments from the gas fixtures, and opened the doors.
Asked by one of her pregnant customers to design something "presentable but comfortable" to wear in public, Lena created a dress with an elasticized waistband and accordion pleated skirt. This would be the first known commercially-made maternity dress. This dress was welcomed not only by middle-class women, but by poorer pregnant women who had to work. The maternity dress soon became the best-selling garment in Lena's shop. Lane Bryant got it's name when a bank manager misspelled Lena's name as Lane.
1940's- Lane Bryant is at the height of their mail order catalog business.