All Women's Talk

The History of the Bra for Girls Wondering Where It Came from ...

By Neecey

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, a girl’s best friend is not diamonds but her bra. Keeping your boobs safe and supported is necessary for so many important reasons. Although they are an instrument of torture for the teenage boyfriend who fumbles with the clips, bras are your breasts' protector. So so vital, the idea of the bra has been around for longer than you might imagine.

1 Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt Women spent their days bare chested underneath long, flowing tunics that covered their modesty.

2 Roman Empire

Roman Empire Young girls began to wear ‘breast bands’ around their chests under the belief that it would prevent sagging as they got older.

3 16th Century

16th Century The corset becomes a must have piece of clothing for aristocratic women. The next four centuries saw a trend of women binding their waists and pushing their breasts upward.

4 1866

1866 The first modern type of bra appears in Great Britain and is made from wire and silk.

5 1869

1869 In France, Herminie Cadolle decides to cut the corset in to two separate pieces: the top part that only supported the breasts and the lower part that acts a miniature corset.

6 1893

1893 The first bra patent in the USA is taken out by Marie Tucek, which was the first incarnation of the modern underwired bra.

7 1910

1910 A young socialite called Mary Phelps Jacobs fashions one of the first modern brassieres when she makes a support garment from two silk scarves after her whalebone corset becomes too uncomfortable.

8 World War I

World War I Metal shortages all over the world lead to the end of the corset, and by the end of the war in 1918, hardly anybody wore the old garment, instead adopting the new brassiere.

9 1920s

1920s The age of skinny flappers brought to the forefront a bandeau, which rather than pushing the breasts up, actually flattened them down to achieve that slim jazz club body shape.

10 1922

1922 Seamstress Ida Rosenthal founded Maidenform to fight against the restrictive nature of the bandeau, instead inventing a bra that focuses on accentuating your natural curves.

11 1930

1930 It was in this year that the formalities were dropped and the brassiere became known worldwide as simply the ‘bra’.

12 1932

1932 The S.H. Camp and Company begins to assign cup sizes to women’s bras, from an A cup through to a D cup.

13 World War II

World War II Women began to go to work in larger numbers than ever before and needed more support, therefore styles like the bullet bra and torpedo bra became increasingly popular.

14 1941

1941 A survey conducted by the British government discovers that, on average, women own only 1 bra each.

15 1950s

1950s Due to the baby boom connected with WWII, the 1950s sees a rise in marketing of bras to young girls and early teens, simply because there are more alive than ever before!

16 1962

1962 Austrian born American fashion designer Rudy Gernreich unveils the topless monokini, a big foreshadowing of the counterculture of the 1960s.

17 1964

1964 The infamous Wonderbra is created by Louise Poirier for a Canadian company named Canadadelle.

18 1967

1967 The film The Graduate causes a stir when main character and seductress Mrs. Robinson shows off a black lace bra for young Dustin Hoffman!

19 1968

1968 The ‘bra burning’ trend reaches a new high point when 400 women protest the Miss America contest and throw their bras, makeup and heels in a ‘freedom trashcan’.

20 1977

1977 The first sports bra, the ‘jog bra’ is invented at the University of Vermont by Polly Smith, Lisa Lindahl and Hinda Mille.

21 1983

1983 Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia causes a stir in Return Of The Jedi with her iconic golden slave outfit, complete with skimpy bra.

22 1990

1990 Madonna adds an iconic image to the history of undergarments with her infamous cone bra designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

23 1995

1995 Seinfeld sees the invention of the ‘the bro’, or ‘the mansierre’, depending on whose side you are on, of course!

24 2009

2009 UK Newspaper, The Daily Mail reveals that on average, a woman will spend £4000 ($6000) on bras during her lifetime.

25 2014

2014 Victoria’s Secret unveils a bra that will set you back 10 million dollars! Encrusted with 4200 gems and set in 42 carat gold, it might not be the most comfortable undergarment in your wardrobe!

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