The History Of The Bra, From Corsets To Bandeaus

The bra is without question an amazing invention. For big-busted girls like myself, finding the right bra is as essential as oxygen, providing shape and support for Mary-Kate and Ashley, as I like to refer to 'em. For me, going braless is a struggle and a process, since I am so reliant on that over-the-shoulder-boulder holder to keep everything in its right place. But the bra in its current incarnation is very different from the undergarment's earliest iterations. In honor of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, The Huffington Post and Genius 3D Mammography created this amazing history of the bra.

The graphic offers an illustrated, bite-sized history of the evolution of the bra, from its earliest corset functionality to its binding of waists and pushing up of boobies to its splintering off from the corset into its own entity to the bombshell sweater phase in the idyllic '50s to its burn, baby, burn status in the more modern feminist era.

Whew. The bra has had quite a life, hasn't it?

Love your bra or hate it, you cannot deny that it serves many purposes, both functional (to defy gravity) and fashionable (to create a smooth line under your curve-hugging t-shirt). The bra has made and change history and will continue to do so as time marches on. Here, a few of my favorite facts from this awesome visual history class — head on over to HuffPo to see the rest.

1. Corset Origins

In the 16th century, the corset was aristocratic, binding waists and pushing boobies up and out for centuries. In 1869, the French cut the corset in half and the bodice seceded from the bottom.

2. Banded Together

During the Roman Empire, young girls wore "fascia," or breast bands, to keep the girls perky as possible. That's a far cry from ancient Egyptians, who went bra-less under looser tunics.

3. Wire And Silk

The first modern bra, made of wire and silk, surfaced in 1866 in Britain. Some things never change.

4. Do It For Our Country

During WWI, the corset was replaced by the bra due to things like metal shortages, women entering the workplace, and ladies generally being more fashionable.

5. Flattened Flappers

In The Jazz Age, aka the 1920s, bandeaus were designed to flatten boobs for flappers, since a more boyish shape was in vogue. Cups sizes were eventually assigned to bras in 1932.

6. From Bombshells to Blazes

After the bombshell "Sweater Girl" age of the 1950s, bra burning happened for the first time. It took place on an Atlantic City, NJ boardwalk in 1968.

7. Manssieres + Millions

In recent years, the bra has made an impact on pop culture, with the manssiere and the jewel-encrusted bras with million dollar price tags, courtesy of Victoria's Secret. Dude bras and bling bras — what will they think of next?

Images: Giphy (7)