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History of the Bra

  • 2000 B.C.E. — Minoan women living on the island of Crete were the first identified to have worn a 'bra-like' device.

  • 1550-1900 C.E. — The corset reigned.

  • 1913 — New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacobs created the first 'brassiere' to be patented as the first reaction to the restriction of the whalebone corset. This was a backless device made from two handkerchiefs tied together with ribbon, which flattened rather than supported the breasts.

  • 1928 — Russian immigrant Ida Posenthal rebelled against the flat chested trend and was the first person responsible for grouping women into bust size categories.

  • 1930's — The first brassiere was introduced to separate the breasts, paving the way for its modern-day design function: to lift and support the breasts.

  • 1937 — The word 'bra' emerged as an abbreviation for 'brassiere.'

  • 1938 — The emergence of the underwired bra cup.

  • 1948 — Criss-cross stitching became a design detail for uplift.

  • 1950's — The decade of the breast and the 'sweater girl' look epitomized by Monroe, Mansfield and Bardot saw the introduction of continuous circular stitching and the 'whirlpool bra' for the pointed cone look that was the height of fashion.

  • 1959 — DuPont introduces LYCRA, the elastane fibre that would revolutionize the underwear market, offering superior fit, shape and comfort.

  • 1960's — The 'Burn the Bra', 'No Bra' era ... but gravity and aging were on the side of the manufacturers and bra sales did not drop significantly.

  • 1970's — The continuation of 'minimalist' underwear.

  • 1980's — The body-conscious era leads to the re-emergence of the sculpted hourglass figure enhanced by shaping and contouring underwear and uplifting bras.

  • 1990's — Fabric technology innovations result in a wider spectrum of prettier, more cutting-edge fashion bras.

  • 21st Century — The Bioform bra emerges, a revolution in bra design that challenges the conventional underwired bra. It does not contort or distort the bust, but simply shapes and supports in the most flattering, comfortable way, especially for fuller cup sizes.


Ok, Ladies, bet you don't have any of these in your drawer! What these quilters from South Carolina have done with bras is amazing, creative, hilarious and generous. (Be sure to click on page 2 after you finish looking at the first page.)

Favorite Quotes

"Who ever thought up the word 'Mammogram'? Every time I hear it, I think I'm supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone."

— Jan King

"A woman needs only two tools: WD-40 and Duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use the tape."

"An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a row boat and takes the tartar sauce with her."
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