The History Of The Bra, From Corsets To Bandeaus To Setting ‘Em On Fire, All In One Handy Diagram

The bra is without question an amazing invention. For big-busted girls like myself, finding the right bra is as essential as oxygen, providing shape and support for Mary- Kate and Ashley, as I like to refer to ’em. For me, going braless is a struggle and a process, since I am so reliant on that over-the-shoulder-boulder holder to keep everything in its right place. But the bra in its current incarnation is very different from the undergarment’s earliest iterations. In honor of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, The Huffington Post and Genius 3D Mammography created this amazing
history of the bra.

The graphic offers an illustrated, bite-sized history of the evolution of the bra, from its earliest corset functionality to its binding of waists and pushing up of boobies to its splintering off from the corset into its own entity to the bombshell sweater phase in the idyllic ’50s to its burn, baby, burn status in the more modern feminist era.

Whew. The bra has had quite a life, hasn’t it?

Love your bra or hate it, you cannot deny that it serves many purposes, both functional (to defy gravity) and fashionable (to create a smooth line under your curve-hugging t- shirt). The bra has made and change history and will continue to do so as time marches on. Here, a few of my favorite facts from this awesome visual history class — head on over to HuffPo to see the rest.

I’ve always loved gorgeous, sexy underwear. Growing up watching Gossip Girl and Sex and the City, I had the idea that when I was a grown-up, sex-having woman, I’d always stroll around in a matching set of hot lace underwear, with the occasional corset thrown in for good measure.

But thanks to a lacklustre commitment to doing laundry, a lack of drawer space and general lingerie-related laziness, I’ve never lived up to my fancy pants wearing dreams.

Instead, I tend to stick to one faithful bra, plus whatever knickers are comfy, clean and easily accessible via a quick rummage in my wardrobe.

I sometimes contemplate splurging on some sexy new undies, but then I think ‘wait, this money could go on clothes people will see. Or food. Surely those things are more important?’

During the Roman Empire, young girls wore “fascia,” or breast bands, to keep the girls perky as possible. That’s a far cry from ancient Egyptians, who went bra-less under looser tunics.

The first modern bra, made of wire and silk, surfaced in 1866 in Britain. Some things never change.

In the 16th century, the corset was aristocratic, binding waists and pushing boobies up and out for centuries. In 1869, the French cut the corset in half and the bodice seceded from the bottom.

In The Jazz Age, aka the 1920s, bandeaus were designed to flatten boobs for flappers, since a more boyish shape was in vogue. Cups sizes were eventually assigned to bras in 1932.

After the bombshell “Sweater Girl” age of the 1950s, bra burning happened for the first time. It took place on an Atlantic City, NJ boardwalk in 1968.

In recent years, the bra has made an impact on pop culture, with the manssiere and the jewel-encrusted bras with million dollar price tags, courtesy of Victoria’s Secret. Dude bras and bling bras — what will they think of next?

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