An Uplifting History: Evolution of the Bra

Obrien_braevolution (1)Throughout the history of our country, women have tirelessly pursued the fight for equality while continuing to climb the ladder of success – a feat accomplished with a lack of support and backing by our nation, history has shown. There is one support system, however, that has never wavered or ceased to give ladies a lift when needed most. The tit-sling, the boulder holder, the flopperstopper – ladies, call it what you will – it’s time to give it up for the bra.

The Backless Brassiere

A woman by the name of Mary Phelps Jacob received q patent in 1914 to create the first widely-worn bra. The idea was sparked after noticing that her corset, made of whaleback bones and steel rods, was visibly noticeable around her dress neckline of sheer fabric. Jacob instead fashioned two silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbon to create her first-ever bra. Women were soon after discouraged from buying corsets to save metal by the U.S. War Industries Board. It is reported that 28,000 tons of metal were saved, the amount of metal needed to make two battleships.

Cup Sizes Galore

The 1930s marked the launch of cup sizes. S.H. Camp and Company was the first to measure cup size by the letters of the alphabet, A through D. The sizes did not actually measure volume of breasts, however, but their pendulousness.

“The Rising Star”

This is the name of the first push-up bra developed in 1948, just after the first-ever padded bra developed in 1947 by Frederick Mellinger. Founder of Frederick’s of Hollywood, Mellinger is also known for developing a selection of front-hook bras, colorful bustiers and in the 1980s, the thong.

The Sports Bra Debut

The sports bra was founded in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl and friend Polly Smith, who started by sewing two jock straps together. After hearing of sore breasts and discomfort in regular bras while exercising, the friends, along with clothing designer Hinda Miller, came up with the “jockbra,” later changed to “jogbra.”

In today’s world, women are now faced with an overwhelming amount of choices. There are bandeau bras, memory foam bras, anti-wrinkle bras and more. Faux-corsets have also resurfaced into lingerie fashion. Bra companies have begun to sell cup sizes that surpass the DD cup, some even reaching the existing KK cup. Women can now choose the coverage of their bra, the type of bra straps they want or even how padded they really want their two closest friends to be. Options are available in ways they have never been before.

Long-story short? Don’t lose sight of what’s been supporting you all these years. Though it now takes many forms, it has been none other than the bra.

Photo by Alex O’Brien


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