History of the Bra

2139 words 9 pages
History of the Bra
Shanna Averre
ENG 215
Professor G’Fellers
Spring 2010


When discussing fashion women often talk about the amazing dress they picked up or the sexy peep toe heels that they just couldn’t bare to pass by, however, very often does one think of the bra and its impact on fashion history. A necessary evil in most women’s lives the “over the shoulder boulder holder” has been around since ancient times in some form or another. Before the invention of the brassiere women were suffocating in corsets that resulted in crushed rib cages and damaged reproductive organs. But in 1914, Mary Phelps Jacob changed all that by stitching together the very first bra. The rest, they say, is history.

History of the Bra
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However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, more choices were available for women as the bra was invented. Although there are many myths as to who invented the bra, it was Mary Phelps Jacobs, a New York Socialite, who after becoming frustrated with her corset had her housemaid help her create the first know brassiere made from two handkerchiefs and a long pink ribbon (Berry, 2006). Women could finally breathe! After many requests poured in from family, friends and strangers, Jacobs realized the potential for her new creation and quickly patented it in 1914. It wasn’t until World War I when the U.S. Government requested women to quit buying corsets in order to conserve metal that Jacob’s brassiere became popular, however, by this time Jacobs had sold the rights to the Warner Brother’s Corset Company for $1500. Warner would dump corsets and go on to market the popular brassiere for the next 30 years (Famous, 2008).
The 1920’s, also known as the Roaring Twenties, was revolutionary for women. Women gained the right to vote and were ready to continue proving their independence. First thing to do was to throw out those rigid corsets and embrace the brassiere! With the flapper look being the latest rage, bras were made specifically to flatten out the chest like women wanted. The bras were more constricting than the bras women wear today but were much more flexible than the earlier worn corsets. For the first time


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