#TBT: The Surprising History Behind the Bra
It wasn't until the early 20th century that the bra we now know and love became part of our boudoir. Before the bra, women and girls wore tight corsets, which bound their waists and pushed their breasts up and out. (Basically, the original push-up bras, but we're talking a lot more painful!)
Mary Phelps Jacob, a New York City socialite, is credited with inventing the first modern bra, which she recieved a patent for in 1910. While this was not the first design (there had be others produced in Europe), it was the first bra style to be widely worn among women. Her design? Two handkerchiefs and a ribbon - we're guessing it was probably not the most supportive. As the corset declined in popularity as women began working outside the home during World War I, the bra became the undergarment of choice.
Fast forward to the 1950s when the voluptuous hourglass figures of stars like Marilyn Monroe became the ideal body shape - and bras adjusted accordingly. Women started wearing what were referred to as "bullet bras," which created a fuller figure. It was also around this time that companies began making "training bras" (remember those?) for the younger set.
In 1977, the first sports bra we athletes all know and love was finally invented by Lisa Lindahl, a runner who named her DIY project (made from two jockstraps - yuck!) the "Jogbra." That year was huge for the bra because a little store called Victoria's Secret was founded. (Sound familiar at all? We thought so.)
Little did the Victoria's Secret founder know, 23 years later, we'd all tune in to watch Gisele walk the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show runway in a diamond- and ruby-encrusted Fantasy Bra - definitely an upgrade from Mary's hanky-and-ribbon combo!