Booby-trapped: the history of the bra
Just as the modern woman has evolved over the last one hundred years, the bra reflects that transformation.
Before the bra was invented, corsets lifted breasts to artificial heights—but they pushed from below instead of lifting from above. In 1913, using two pocket handkerchiefs and some pink ribbon, socialite Mary Phelps Jacob created the “backless brassiere,” and became the first patent recipient for the modern bra. From Jacob’s invention, to the bullet shape of the 40s, to modern-day pillow cup push-up plunge bras, our boobs have been cinched, flattened down, and lifted up.
Did you know?
- A standard underwire is made up of 35 individual pieces.
- Ancient Greeks thought the Milky Way was made from drops of breast milk from the goddess Hera.
- The average woman owns from 4 to 10 bras. Are you average?
- There’s a bra that doubles as a gas mask in the event of an emergency.
- Some people believe that men who are obsessed with breasts were weaned too early.
Why study the history of the bra?
What’s most important to know is that here was no single inventor of the brassiere. But from boyish flatness, to torpedo, to plunge, to sporty – where fashion goes, bras will follow. Booby-trapped audiences frequently debate the fate of the bra post-pandemic.
You can discover a lot about women in history by how much cleavage was showing, and the era’s most desirable breast shape. After all, a bra may be a necessity, not an accessory. But, one of the best feelings at the end of the day is to release ourselves. One thing’s for certain: the American Woman is still waiting for her ideal brassiere!