Mesua Ferrea

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History of Bras

Evolution of Bra. Who Invented the Bra and Why?

There comes a time in every girl’s life when wearing a bra becomes a part of their journey to womanhood. The bra has been in fashion for more than a  hundred years. It is an undergarment that is designed to provide support and coverage to their breast. They were discovered in the 19th century and became a fashion very rapidly. 

There are gazillion different types of bras each one for a different purpose from enhancing the cleavage to make the breast appear fuller to giving small breasts a gentle life to make them look sexy. 

Mesua Ferrea Bra1913 — Mary Phelps Jacob, 19, creates the first
concept of a bra using two handkerchiefs and a pink
ribbon. Her bra concept 1s patented in 1914, after
which she sells the idea to Warner's Corset
Company for $1,500
That patent would later be valued at $15 million

Bra in 16th century

In the early 1500 corsets became a thing for women to support their upper body. I gained popularity as it helped women gain a perfect figure. This is how Egyptian women used to cover their breasts.

These corsets supported women for the next 4 centuries. They pushed the breast up causing them to spill out of the tops giving them a shelf-like bust.

Bra in 19th century

In 1889 the corset was split into 2 parts, creating 2 different undergarments. The upper garment was laced with straps to support the breast and the lower part cinched and shaped the waist. 

Which only supported the bust, to longer ones which were also used to shape the waist.

19th century bra
hand kerchief bra

Bra in 20th Century

In 1914 the first modern bra was invented which changed the look and feel of previous versions. In New York City, Mary Phelps Jacob designed and patented the first modern bra by simply using 2 silk handkerchiefs and a ribbon. Her invention was called a backless bra.

It was soft, lightweight, comfortable and they naturally separated the breasts.

  • 1918s fall of corsets

Later in 1918, the fall of corsets started due to war. The U.S war industry asked all women to stop using and buying corsets as the metal used in them could be a valuable item in war. This step led to 2 battleships that the U.S. military created.  Also, women were also entering the workforce in great numbers and corsets weren’t considered appropriate to wear to work. 

  • 1920s Small Chested Bra

In 1920, smaller chested and splendid figure flappers took over the fashion scene. And instead of buying corsets, they opted for tight bandeau tops which flattened their breasts and gave them a boyish look. 

  • 1930s Center Cup

In the 1930s, cups took the center of the stage and the name changed from “brassieres” to “bras”. It was S.H camp and company that gave the scale of the cup as A, B, C, D which we use today. This allowed bras to evolve from one size fits all to better fit. 

  • Pushup bra became a trend in 1947

Pushup bra also known as the era in which cleavage started to take shape. The idea of a padded bra crossed the mind of a genius whose name was Frederick Mellinger. This changed the face of fashion and what was considered sexy for years to come. 


  • 1950s Modern Bullet Bra

After 3 years in 1950 bra manufacturing company began creating bras using different fabrics, colors, patterns, and shapes. It was after world war 2 that popularized the era of bullet bra, in this decade Hollywood starlets like Patti Page, Marilyn Monroe, and Lana Turner became a sensation using bullet bras.

bullet bra 1950s

Bullet Bras From The 1940s And 1950s

In 1977 fitness became more popular. Women needed something more comfortable to jog around and do exercises more relaxed. This is when the first sports bra also known as “Jogbra” came to light. 


21st Century

In 2009 the smart memory bra made an entrance, the first memory foam bra whose cups are made from high-tech memory foam that adjusts to the shape of your chest and also reacts to the body temperature. They automatically adjust as you move to make you feel more comfortable. 

Modern Bras 21st Century
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