Women’s Bra History Over the Years

Women have been sporting brassieres or bras for well over centuries now. This piece of clothing provides the comfort and support that’s much needed for adult women. But have you ever stopped and wondered when these bras first came into being and how it has evolved over the years?

Seek no further! This article will provide you with all the details you’ll need to know about the history of bras. Get ready to be amazed as you find out how bras have evolved over centuries, ranging from its design to concept and comfort to fashion.

Why do women wear bras?

Well, you might think the answer to this question is simple- because women have different biological bodies than men! However, apart from this, there are plenty of other reasons why a woman must wear a bra. These reasons are important to know because all women know how comforting it is to unhook their bra and toss it across the room! Read the list of reasons listed below to understand why. 

1. Support

Wearing a bra not only intensifies the looks of breasts while keeping them in shape; underwear also gives support to the shoulders and breasts. This is important as it helps in preventing several problems related to the back and neck. It also helps in improving your posture. 

2. Sag prevention

It’s a known fact that some breasts tend to sag with time. And bras come to the rescue to help prevent that! Wearing a bra helps in lifting the breasts, thus avoiding the problem of sagging. Though the sagging of breasts may not happen for some women, wearing a bra helps in preventing it to the maximum.

3. Shape

Women often tend to get conscious of the shape of their breasts. This is the reason why some women go for breast treatments. While not everyone can afford it, wearing a high-quality bra can do the trick. Of course, the result will not be the same, but it will definitely help in shaping the breasts to a great extent. 

4. Comfort

While it is highly recommended not to wear a bra while sleeping, you should definitely wear a bra during the rest of the day. This is so because not wearing a bra can cause discomfort and sometimes even pain. Wearing a bra helps in keeping your breasts together, allowing you to move freely without discomfort. 

5. Confidence

Wearing the right bra can also definitely boost your confidence, depending on their style and purpose. For instance, it helps in enhancing your appearance, whether you’re wearing a tube top or, a deep neck top, or a T-shirt. It also adds to your fashion statement, making you feel confident about yourself.

Find out why vintage style bra is better than modern here.

When was the first bra invented?

If you have done your research on when the first bra was invented, you may have found out that it was in 1914. While that’s technically correct, on extensive research, you will find out that bras go way back to ancient Greece. During those times, women would wrap fabric bands around their chests and tie them in the back.

The word brassiere, which translates to ‘upper arm’ in French, had its origin from The DeBevoise Company. In 1911, the word ‘brassiere’ found a place in the Oxford English dictionary and in 1914, bras officially came to be known by the world!

History of women’s bra

Ancient era

During the ancient era, bras were sported differently across the world. For instance, in Greece, women wore a special garment, calling it ‘bikini.’ This garment resembled modern corsets. In India, the ‘blouse’ has always existed, along with sewn bras, during Harshvardhana’s reign. As for women in Egypt, they would fold a rectangular cloth and sew it down the edge, resembling a tube.

Middle era

According to European history, women in the middle era used a cloth binder for coverage of their breasts and to make them appear small in size. Soon after, women started wearing dresses with close-fitting upperparts which helped in providing support. 

Renaissance period

The Renaissance period was all about showing the cleavage! Without exposing their breasts, women would wear dresses which squeezed the breasts while giving an upward push. This trend had particularly to do with the people’s mentality of that time where they considered women with ample cleavage to be beautiful and rich. 

Victorian period

Women with beautiful flared dresses, tiny waists and ample bosom- yes, this was the Victorian age! During this period, women started wearing tight corsets, thanks to its laces. As slim as women’s waists looked, this was causing a lot of damage to their bodies and other health-related problems.  

The first bra

Finally, women got to wear their first-ever ‘bra’ in 1869. Invented by Herminie Cadolle, her design of the bra was a two-piece corset. The upper part of this two-piece corset came with shoulder straps which gave much support and comfort to women. Surely, this corset was more comfortable compared to the regular corsets. Vintage bra was born

20th century bra

Mary Phelps Jacob is credited for inventing the first backless brassiere in 1914. With the help of handkerchiefs and ribbons, she tried to create a bra which was even more comfortable for women to wear. The end product was a light, comfortable, and soft bra, which was, again, better than the ones that were in existence.   

The twenties

The ‘20s was initially associated with the ‘flapper’ generation of women where they would dress up in short skirts with bob cut hairstyle. They did not seem to care much about their physical appearance as was evident by the way with which they flattened their breasts. This phase changed in 1925 with Ida Rosenthal’s shop Maidenform where bra cups with different sizes were introduced. These cups with bras are still the best-selling bras in today’s day and age! 

First sports bra

With the ever-evolving bras, in came the sports bra. The first-ever sports bra came into being in 1977, which was called Jogbra. This bra was a result of protests by feminists during that time, saying that the existing bras were torture for women.  

Modern-day bra

Then came the modern-day bra in all its glory! Early 2000 saw the incoming of bras in various designs- strapless, underwired, non-underwires bralettes, one strap, and more. The sizes of bras also changed, adapting to the modern sizing.

List of best vintage bras.


So there you have it- the history of women’s bra fully explained! A lot has changed over the years since women started wearing them. But at the end of the day, women look for bras which are comfortable and fit well!

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