How was the bra invented?

While some historical accounts might indicate otherwise, there is no single inventor for the modern bra. Instead, it evolved from something that women have known for centuries; if you have a garment holding your breasts in place, it is easier to travel.

Fashion, society, and sexual tastes of the times have adapted and inspired bras. The bra has gone through dramatic changes over the course of history, from the bandeau-like strips of fabric worn by athletic women in ancient Greece to the classic underwire bras that we know and love today. The lowdown here below.

The sources were different in the ancient cultures of the Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, Romans, and East Asia. A rectangular piece of cloth that was folded and sewn down the side to create a tube was worn by the Egyptians. This is how their breasts were hidden by Egyptian women. The blouse custom has always been prevalent in India. The first reference to bras dates from the time of Harshvardhana, during whose reign it was very common to have sewn bras and blouses. These were also worn by young girls. Figurines and wall carvings show women in Greece wearing a specialized dress to restrain women’s breasts. The bikini, they called it. A clear resemblance to the modern tailored and laced corsets or a corselette was present in their clothing.

European history reports that women used something like a fabric binder to cover their breasts during the Middle Ages. Some women refrained from revealing their breasts, although it was not popular then. The aim of these cloth binders was to cover the breasts and make them look smaller. Women later began wearing dresses with simple bodices and high necklines. These functioned well to provide the breasts with support. If we look at Extra’s past, the women had “conceal and support” in mind, and therefore abstained from the notion of revealing their breasts. Thus, women moved to dresses that were sufficiently tight to provide the requisite protection.

During the Revival, the asset display was back in trend again. The time for cleavage had come, but women did not really fully expose themselves. The new Renaissance dresses caused the breasts to pinch and thus, revealing the cleavage, forced them upwards. This became popular due to people’s mindset that only wealthy and attractive women were synonymous with firm breasts and ample cleavages. This may sound shocking, but women often refrained from breastfeeding during the Renaissance period since they assumed that breastfeeding might weaken their breasts, so they would have to deal with what they had to work with.

During the Victorian Era, the thing got a little complex, when women starting to wear corsets that were really tight because of the lacing. This caused women’s waist to look slimmer than the usual, but damaged women’s bodies. Their health started to decline, causing problems like nausea, dizziness, etc. The tight lacing and dresses again pushed the breasts up, making them expose more cleavage.

In 1869, a woman called Herminie Cadolle designed the first bra. The bra was designed as a two-piece corset for her. To offer the breasts better protection, the upper part was built with shoulder straps. It was much more comfortable than the normal corsets, too. The Time Magazine states that Mary Phelps Jacob invented the “Backless Brassiere” in 1914. She needed a more comfortable bra to be developed that could be worn for the parties. By using two handkerchiefs and ribbons, she did that. She finally came up with a lightweight, fluffy, comfortable bra that was very different from the bra that Herminie Cadolle invented.

The feminists began demonstrating against bras because they felt the original sports bras were simply women’s torture devices. Thus, Lisa Lindahl invented her first sports bra in 1977 and named her Jogbra. The New York Magazine said it was the first bra to be developed with movement and athleticism, with women in mind in particular.

Today, in the industry, we have a wide selection of bras and a lot of styles to choose from as well. Celebrities such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé have made people enjoy all kinds of bras. There are so many businesses on the market that have made it possible in a lot of sizes to get bras.

Check out my related post: How was the tea bag invented?


Interesting reads:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/11/the-first-bra-was-made-of-handkerchiefs/382283/

https://blog.mylola.com/womens-health/history-bra/

https://www.herroom.com/blog/the-history-of-the-bra-a-timeline/

https://www.colbert-innovation.eu/en/stories/who-invented-the-bra/

https://www.insidehook.com/article/history/100-years-brassieres-inside-historical-evolution-bra

https://www.clovia.com/blog/abracadabra-life-story-of-a-bra/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/fashion/g1291/bra-history/

https://www.postoast.com/history-of-bra/

https://www.looksgud.in/blog/types-of-bra-styles-cups-names-sizes/

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