The History Of The Bra

The history of the brassiere changed the evolution of the corset and various undergarments worn by the prosperous western woman in the 14th century. The brassiere was designed to enhance the shape and support of the breasts, to replace the corset that had little support to the breasts.


In the early 19th century the brassiere was created to replace the corset as the main breast support worn by women.  The first bra was designed by a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob in 1913. Mary had purchased a evening gown not realising the whaleback bones on the corset were visible by removing the bones and replacing with silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbon, the first backless bra was created.

Jacob’s introduced her new creations to her family and friends, as backless gowns were the high fashion for socialite women in 1913, she decided to start her own production line for the backless brassiere.

By the 1920’s women fashion dramatically changed, with the desire to show a more streamline figure. Women began to wear the cami- knickers that were designed to de-emphasize the bust line to be worn with the tubular dresses of the 20’s.

In the 1950’s women appeared to show an hourglass figure. The conical breasts, small waist and curvier hips introduced the new bullet bra of the 50’s. The name was given due to its conical shape and quite pointed. The lingerie became sexier with women wearing panty girdles with garters to pull in the waistline and to keep their hosiery in place. The thigh high stockings and garter belts were introduced to fashion for functional as well as sexy.


The 1960’s women became more liberal with their freedom including bras. The designs of bras were softer, wireless and less structured. The thigh high stockings were replaced with decorative tight to accompaniment the mini shirt.

The 1980’s brought back the cleavage, women realised the natural look didn’t enhance the full cleavage women desired. The era of the Wonderbra and push up bras was created. The plunging necklines were the most popular in the 80’s as this created an alluring cleavage and fuller breasts. The underwire bra and padded bra became popular; this trend has still carried on today.

Today’s fashion in Lingerie has gone from one extreme to another. With the creation of the gel filled, air filled, padded, strapless, backless and the convertible. Bras have been designed to suit the larger and smaller breasted women for every day wear with matching panties, g-strings, and thongs. Other lingerie that has been complimented for your body the baby doll, the bustier, the camisole and the chemise.

This post was provided by Katy who is an enthusiast of fashion who particularly enjoys writing about Lingerie. Her latest project was for Cinderella Lingerie.

5 thoughts on “The History Of The Bra

  1. It would appear that you are right Sofia. Herminie Cadolle did in fact create the first bra in 1889 by cutting the traditional corset in two. It was named the Corselet Gorge.

    Mary Phelps Jacob invented the first modern bra that was widely recognised and used.

  2. Pingback: Sleep and Stuff | Stylish Big Bras for You

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