One hundred years and a couple of days ago, on November 3, 1914, the first modern bra was patented in the US. To the inventor, Caresse Crosby, just took a debutant ball and her annoyance with her constrictive corset about a year prior to come up with the innovation that would have changed women’s lives.
Caresse was getting ready for the ball when she decided she was not in the mood to get back into the “boxlike armor of whalebone and pink cordage”, as she herself described it. Instead, she asked her maid for some pocket handkerchiefs and ribbon and built the very first prototype of the modern bra we all know.
This casual (and liberating, I am sure) event was the main cause of the sudden evolution of women’s garments, but what made the modern bra really take off was the corset ban during World War I, due to the need of metal for the crafting of military supplies.
The first of these bras happened to be one-size, and the A, B, C and D cup system was just introduced in the late 20s. In the 30s, bra production became a mass-produced item.
Many kinds of brassieres have been created through history: from the bullet bra in the 50s, to the feminist no-bra policy of the 60s, to the birth of world-famous retailers such as Victoria’s Secret in 1977. Nowadays, about 95% percent of women in Western countries wear it. What is funny, however, is that the invention of the bra as we know it happened for one reason: the desire to take it off.
photo courtesy: Google images