Learn Where the Brassier Got It’s Start and Why It’s So Popular Even Today
History of the Bra
The history of the bra is extensive. Almost since the dawn of time women have worn bra’s either to enhance or minimize their figure. Bust-lines have been increased and decreased, rounded and stretched and even spread out throughout time following society’s trends and fashions.
Bra’s have been worn by women the world over since 2000 BC, when the first corset, created of leather was worn to support and outline the breasts. The ancient Greeks wore a type of bra that pushed the breasts upwards but left the breast itself naked.
During the 13th century, the practice of minimizing the breasts became very popular. Women often wore short bodices that flattened rather than enhanced a woman’s bodice. This changed however during the 15th century when a women’s chest became the focal point of her garments… it was popular for the upper portion of the breast to be pushed above the garments worn by a woman in order to give the appearance of full cleavage and a rounded bodice.
Trends in Modern Bra Wear
Bras are in. Today bras can be fashioned to meet any persons unique style and comfort preferences. In recent years plus and full size bras have become the norm, as more and more women turn to plastic surgery to enhance their bust line. In some cities it isn’t uncommon to see women who might be categorized as DD’s, EE’s and even FF’s thanks to modern technology.
Fortunately, there is a bra available to fit almost any woman anywhere. There are even bras that are fashioned as “outer wear”. Celebrities are among the more common members of society to tout such bold and daring styles.
For the bold but slightly less daring, sheer and see through bras are a great option. Bras, whether made with or without under wires, are made from silk, cotton, Lycra, spandex and even flannel.
Style has as much to do with what’s available and “hot” as what a woman finds comfortable and supportive.
The first formal “bras” were patented in the US in the mid 1800s, as tortuous corsets began to fall out of style with more comfort seeking women.
Different Bra Types
Many different bra types have been created since the early days of it’s existence. No longer do women have to struggle to fit their upper body and chest into contraptions made of whalebone and steel (the common materials used to fashion early corsets). Rather, today’s traditional bras are made of a variety of luxurious fabrics, meant to support, uplift, enhance and show off a woman’s breasts (though you can still find some that minimize, which for many women is a bonus).
See through and sheer bras, specialty bras, nursing and maternity bras, sports bras and even strapless and backless bras are all the rage in modern times. There is a bra available to fit any bust size and any individual style preference available. You can even have a bra custom made if you like. Though the corset is not completely banned from existence, new designs make wearing the contraption or similar ones much more feasible, and women no longer have to suffer pain and discomfort from wearing them.
Interestingly, the bra did not gain popularity until about the 1920s during the time of the flappers when a flat chest was suddenly in, and women looked to minimize their bust line rather than enhance it.
Among the first companies to jump on the bra making bandwagon during this time was the Maidenform Company, who created bra sizes in different bust size categories. As the breast minimizing trend of the early 20s faded and society entered the 30s, the idea of shape as acceptable became popular again, and Maidenform made an effort to make bras that would meet every woman’s needs, including plus and full size bras.
Warner’s was among the first to create a cup sizing system that ranged from size A to size D, which are still standard sizes.
At no time does a bra prove more useful than during exercise or during pregnancy/maternity. You can rest assured that sports bra’s which provide support during intense physical activity are most appreciated by women with large chests. Can you imagine what it is like to run without one?
Pregnant women now have nursing and maternity bras available to them, which make breastfeeding in public a much more easily accomplished task. New designs enable discreet feeding and offer comfortable support at a time when a woman’s breast size may change or fluctuate in a time span of weeks or months. Some of the more popular varieties are fashioned after the sports bra style, that allow for fluctuations in size.
Finding the Right Fit
Fit is EVERYTHING when it comes to wearing a bra. More than 90% of the female population at one time or another buys a bra that doesn’t fit properly. Fortunately you can easily measure yourself to ensure that you get a proper fit.
Finding the right bra size depends on two things: band size and cup size. Band size is usually measured in numbers, and generally ranges from 32 to 40+ (even numbers only). Cup size is alphabetical, and as discussed can range from an A to an EE or more.
To measure your chest you’ll need a tape measure. Wrap the tap lightly around your rib cage just below your bust line. You should then add five inches to this measurement, and that is your band size.
To measure your cup size, loosely wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of the bust. For most women this is about where the nipple falls, or about mid-breast. You should then subtract the measurement you get from your band size. The difference measured equates to your cup size and runs as follows:
- 1 inch – A cup
- 2 inches – B cup
- 3 inches – C cup
- 4 inches – D cup
There are many thoughts on which bras are best. Some women prefer under wire bras because they believe they offer the best support. For some women, including nursing women however, under wire versions can be uncomfortable. Fortunately there is an incredibly broad selection of no wire bras that are flattering and just as supportive as their wire counterparts.
If you are not sure which you prefer, I recommend trying one of each. It won’t take long before you decide which works best for you.