When was the bra invented?

100 years of brassiere : Round thing: the bra is 100 years old

A step in the emancipation of women was also the liberation from the old-fashioned bodice. Until the beginning of the 20th century, women still forced themselves into a whalebone corset. A firm hold and slim waist were fashionable, but the skin under the uncomfortable frame was painfully bruised. An ordeal, as Mary Phelps found Jacob. The 19-year-old New Yorker made her first brassiere with the help of her maid from two silk handkerchiefs and pink ribbons. The first modern brassiere was ready. The creation was so popular with her friends that she applied for a patent on February 12, 1914. But contrary to expectations, the success of the business model was a long time coming, so Mary Jacob sold the rights to the Warners Brothers Corset Company in Bridgeport for 1500 US dollars.

From liberation to a sign of patriarchal oppression

A bad decision: just six years later, the profit from the sale of the new bra was $ 12.6 million. In addition to being more comfortable to wear, the First World War resulted in good sales figures. Because everything had to be saved, women were encouraged to put on the more economical bra. The end of the bodice was sealed and the new era of the bra began - at least for a while.

Because just 50 years later, the symbol of the new woman had become a vilified epitome of her oppression. As a sign of a patriarchal society, the brassiere was even publicly burned by feminists in Chicago in 1969.

Towels tied the breasts to make the women look more masculine

Indeed, the story of the bra is also a story about the role of women. Already in the time of classical Greece women wore scarves tied tightly around the upper body to sporting events in order to appear more masculine. Until the Middle Ages, the breasts were covered with bandages to support them. Together with shorts, they looked not dissimilar to today's bikini.

Later designs from the 15th century already show the modern cup shape. But until the 19th century, the “breast bodice” was the breast garment most worn by women. From the 16th century, the stiff bodice was put over this, which ultimately culminated in the anti-body hourglass shape with a wide upper and hip width with the smallest possible waist width. Liberation was only brought about by the bra, which made the woman slip out of the uncomfortable and health-endangering corset. The last little revolution came with the Wonderbra, which not only supports the breast, but also creates the desired fullness.

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