The History of Bras

June 23, 2017

The History of Bras

We’re on a mission to match women to the perfect bras, which got us thinking... who invented the boob-holding contraption that we now call the bra? We did a little digging to learn a bit about the history and where bras came from.

Who was the first to figure out that securing the ladies would make life easier?

The Greeks!

Though they definitely didn’t create anything like the bras we have today, Ancient Greek women were the first to wrap their breasts in cloth to provide some security and comfort. These ladies (goddesses, really) got the ball rolling, but the bras we see today wouldn’t see the light of day for over 1000 more years.  

the originators of what are now bras... the greeks!

Before bras, there were corsets. Uncomfortable and unsafe, these contraptions designed to squish women’s bodies into the perfect hourglass shape are what inspired the creation of the first bra. In the early 1900s, Mary Phelps Jacob was so fed up with squeezing into her corset that she designed the first bra. Her design was a halter style with no underwire, and was instantly a huge hit with her equally uncomfortable peers.  

Mary Phelps Jacob - the bra-inventor!

*Photo from Phelps Family History in America

By 1914, Jacob had her bra patented, and she later sold it to Warner Brothers Corset company for $1500.

The metal shortages that accompanied World War I and II drove the corset industry further into the ground, and made brassieres the new go-to undergarment for women.

Though taking off your bra might be the first thing you do after you get home from work, we can thank Mary for saving us from the crushing grasp of corsets and setting the foundation for the bra industry we love!

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