How is it you have a drawer full of bras: It's In the History Books
But still as a fashion item and one that spans so many styles and designs! And so complex, one of my favorite shows Project Runway has not even touched the subject (but please pick me to design for a gyno office!! How cool would that be!) Anyway, as mulling over the historical highlights I was thinking about the changes in size as we cycle and age, and how often I see those horrible gashes in women's shoulders from ill-fitting designs. My goal is to bring some gyne sense to those girls and help women understand good fit, I'm handing out cloth measuring tapes and we need to have a chat!
• 2500 BC The first bra-like garment came into existence when the women of the Greek Islands began using man-made materials to lift their breast out of their clothing.
• 450BC-285AD Roman and Greek women abandoned the support concept and began using a strap with a band to diminish the size of their bust. The women of China wore a foundation cloth with cups and straps over the shoulders tied to the cinch seem at the lower back.
• 1550’s AD Amongst the wealthier classes in Europe, the corset was beginning to appear. The wife of King Henri II of France was said to have prohibited “wide waists” at court functions.
• 1850’sThe first bra is patented.
• 1860’s Corsets become the main undergarment for women. Waist size modification through “corset training” becomes the norm, reducing waist to such unhealthy levels ribs and organs become damaged. This starts debate over the health risks of corseting.
• 1889Herminie Cadolle invents a bra that supports the breast from the shoulders and rather than from below, to prevent squeezing of the abdomen. It appeared in a corset catalogue as a two-piece undergarment. Her description reads "designed to sustain the bosom and supported by the shoulders". She patented her invention and showed it at the Great Exhibition of 1889.
• 1907Vogue Magazine is the first to use the term Brassiere, which means “upper-arm.”
• 1913Mary Phelps Jacob, a New York socialite, creates a bra that is light, soft, and separates the breast. Jacob’s “backless brassiere” was patented and she markets her bra until she retires and sells her patent to Warner Brothers Corset Company who seemingly earned over $15 million dollars over the next several years from the patent.
• 1920’s Bras were designed to flatten rather than enhance the breast, inspired by the silhouette of the Flapper.
• 1928 Ida Rosenthal, a Russian Immigrant and seamstress, was the first to create bust size categories, A to D, and develops bra’s for each phase of womanhood.
• 1930’s The word 'brassiere' became shortened to 'bra' in the 1930s, initially by young women. The bra was becoming more sophisticated, and home-sewn versions vanished in the 30s. Bras rapidly became a major industry over the 1930s, with improvements in fiber technology, fabrics, colors, patterns, and options.
• 1940’s World War II had a major impact on clothing. A postwar baby boom created a demand for maternity and nursing bras.
• 1950’s Strapless bras came into fashion, they allowed women to dress in clothes off the shoulder and still wear a bra. Padding and stretch-ability were among other innovations.
• 1959 Warner and a DuPont team of scientists created Lycra, which is used in most bras today.
• 1961 “Wonderbra, the Company,” formally known as Canadian Lady Corset Company, introduced the Model 1300 plunge push-up bra. This bra is identical to today’s Wonderbra.
• 1973 The first sports bra was introduced by two runners combined two male athletic supporters and a bit of thread to craft the world's first sports bra, Champion Brand Claims the invention and is born as a brand
• 1977 Victoria's Secret was established in San Francisco by Roy Raymond. The concept was to establish a cozy, inviting atmosphere similar to that of a Victorian boudoir.