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History of Bra

Category: Lingerie tips July 30th, 2011
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History of Bra

Bra is a basic undergarment for any woman. Modern bras vary greatly in styles and designs offering different effects from lifted look to enhanced breasts size that doesn’t require any surgery. The history of bra is long and dates back to Minoan era when women athletes were wearing brassiere-like garments whereas the term brassiere was invented only in 19th century. The first mentioning of brassiere has emerged in American Vogue of 1907. The ancient history also mentions brassiere-like garments and women clothing items that were used to restrain and support breasts.

History of Bra in Various Cultures

A woolen or linen band, called apodesmos was worn by women in ancient Greece for breast support likewise women in Rome wore a band of cloth or leather. During the rule of Ming Dynasty in China women wore a garment that had cups and shoulder straps and tied at the back and were called dudou that also prevailed during Qing Dynasty.

History of Bra

In Middle Ages women wore high neck dresses and gauze drape over the chest and didn’t use additional garments much. The Renaissance period was marked by emergence of corsets and décolleté being in fashion. The corsets were very fashionable among wealthier women whereas working women wore cotte for convenience.

The corset made a step back as the French Revolution roared but in 1814 it was returned being popular through Victorian era. Elizabethan era has a peculiar corset shape that significantly differs the Victorian corset. The latter is more hour-glass shaped while the Elizabethan corset has a more graphic and rectangular silhouette.

Bra in Fashion

History of Bra

The first brassiere was patented in 1914 by Mary Phelps Jacobs under the name of Caresse Crosby. Jacobs’ brassiere was two silk handkerchiefs joined together and a ribbon attached to them. The invention drew attention but failed to become popular with customers so Jacobs sold her rights to Warners Brothers Corset Company for $1,500. Since 1910 the corsets were replaced by more lightweight and less restraining undergarments. In 1920s the brassieres looked as bandeaus and were worn with short corsets giving a woman a boyish figure that was quiet popular during that time. Symington Side Lacer also popular in 20s gave large-busted women a flattening effect.

Right in that time a company named Maiden Form accentuated the breasts with their bandeau bra that made to fit different women’s breasts lifting and supporting them.

By the 1930s the term bra has placed the brassiere and the alphabetic size indication emerged in 1932 thanks to S.H. Camp and Company. This is also a time when bra industry evolved rapidly featuring new fabrics and colors. By 1940s the pointed bra shape became popular. They were called cone or bullet bras and transformed women’s silhouette while the tight outerwear accented their curves.

History of Bra

The bra continued to evolve through 50s to 70s enduring such changes in culture as radical feminist movement that rejected the bra and other things like heels and makeup but nevertheless such brands as Wonderbra have thrived. A monokini was also designed during that time. The garment was created in 1964 by designer Rudi Gernreich and was a one piece topless swimsuit with two shoulder straps that exposed breasts.

The maternity and mastectomy bras also started to gain interest and until modern days the bra has evolved greatly to numerous styles, designs, fabrics, and colors as well as sizes. The lingerie industry is now a highly competitive environment with high profits.

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