A Brief History of the Bra from the 1890’s to the present day

These days the bra is taken for granted as a piece of lingerie by ladies all over the world. Originally the ladies supported their breasts by bounding them with material restricting the movement of their chests. Now the bra represents much more than underwear and comes in many different shapes and forms. We are used to companies such as Wiesman Lingerie producing the finest bras with the most wonderful material.

Split Corset

The earliest version of a bra was in the 1890’s where the bra originated as a simple split corset, a number of female designers developed the design further and by the 1930’s bras were available for all. As new fabrics developed the bra became increasingly more comfortable and supportive. The brassiere elevated the bust line to be an increasingly prominent erogenous zone.


Marie Tucek and Polly Phelps Jacob

These two ladies revolutionised lingerie wearing for women everywhere. In 1893 Marie Tucek received a patent for an item of clothing described as a, ‘breast supporter’, the design was similar to a low cut balconette bra with straps criss – crossed at the back and fastened with hooks and eyes. A failure to market her product sufficiently resulted in Polly Phelps Jacob taken the credit for the wonderful invention. Polly designed her version of the garment out of necessity, to avoid unsightly bumps under her floaty prom dress.

Herminie Cadolle

After Polly Phelps Jacob’s success with her company, ‘Caresse Crosby,’ where she sold her patent to Warner Brothers Corset Company for $1500 Herminie Cadolle became the lingerie sweetheart with her ‘le Bien-etre’ – ‘well being bra’ at the Paris Exposition in 1900.

The Impact of War on Bras

Corsets tended to be reinforced with steel and women were expected to give up their restrictive and uncomfortable underwear for the war effort. They actually donated more than 28,000 tons worth of steel in total. This was completely liberating and after the war ladies could enjoy the freedom wearing less restrictive underwear gave them and the spirit of the independent Gibson girl lead to the introduction of flappers in the 1920s with big hair and high hems. Their overall look was of a boyish figure that was recreated again in the sixties.

The 1960’s

In the 1960’s it was considered the height of fashion to be flat chested because that made women look younger that way. Ladies who were particularly well endowed used to have to make measures to reduce the size of their breasts so that they could go some way to emulating the look of Twiggy, who was a very slim model at that time.

Present Day

Now that we have a variety of different production methods, we are able to produce material that is supportive, comfortable and beautiful all at the same time. We are more accepting that everyone has different sized breasts and are much more accommodating for ladies with larger cup sizes. Examples of how lingerie has developed are evident in the selection designed by Wiesman Lingerie, as they have tried to accommodate everybody’s needs.

The Lingerie featured in this article are available from www.houseoflingerie.com where you will find an amazing selection of bras and lingerie to suit all figures.

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