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The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

Anna KravchukLady
How the first women's bras appeared

Push-up or bralette, red or blue, underwire or non-wire - today you can choose your perfect bra from thousands of different options, ranging from shape and material to color and additional details. However, a century ago, women did not have such a variety. The first modern bra was patented not so long ago - in 1914. Prior to that, women had to suffer in uncomfortable corsets that not only constrained their movements but also seriously harmed their health.

Thus, the first sconce was invented by the American Mary Phelps Jacobs. And she did it completely by accident. OBOZREVATEL decided to tell you how it happened and why the war "helped" bras gain popularity.

While preparing for the debutante ball, Mary Phelps Jacobs wore a stiff corset that was visible under her translucent dress. "Bring me two of my handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon," she told her maid, who helped her sew a simple bra from these materials.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

This caused a sensation among Mary's friends. They asked her to make bras for them as well. The American woman decided to patent this idea and start her own business after a stranger offered her one dollar for her product.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

Jacobs called her invention a "backless bra" and managed to get several orders from department stores. Things were going well, but in the end, the startup still failed. At the request of her husband, Mary sold the patent to Warner Brothers Corset in Connecticut for $1500. In the first 30 years of their existence, they earned more than $15 million on bras.

However, the popularity, or rather the need for bras, was significantly affected by the First World War. Despite Jacobs' invention, girls still continued to squeeze their bodies into corsets that shaped their figures according to the Victorian ideal: ample breasts on a thin waist. But because the frames of corsets were mostly made of metal, which was needed for ammunition and other military goods, the US War Industries Board in 1917 asked American women to stop buying them.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

So we can say that the shortage of metal during the First World War helped women take a confident step towards freedom, both physical and symbolic.

The problem was that all bras were made in the same size. They were much more comfortable than corsets, but still caused difficulties for ladies with "non-universal" breasts.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

It was only in 1922 that Ida Rosenthal and her husband William, the founders of the Maidenform brand, which still exists today, opened their own bra company in America, paying more attention to the shape, design, cup size, and elasticity of materials. They are credited with introducing the A, B, C and D cup system.

Since then, the bra industry has been gaining momentum. More and more new manufacturers are appearing. And each of them offers something innovative, more comfortable and interesting. In 1935, a push-up with insertable pads was invented for breast enhancement. In 1942, a clasp was added to the bra, and a year later, a bra with underwire.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

In the 80s, the bra acquired more familiar contours and shapes. At the same time, a bra with a front clasp was invented. It is not known for certain who created it, but according to rumors, it was a man.

As for the Soviet Union, there was no underwear, and no sex. At least, it was not customary to talk about it. After the proclamation of gender equality and the joint construction of communism, the industry almost completely switched to military needs, and women became sexless. Comfortable, let alone beautiful bras were sorely lacking.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

Until the 1930s, all bras were exclusively white, black, and blue (as well as underwear, underpants, or T-shirts) - no one should stand out. Faceless and ugly bras were not a problem at that time, but the lack of different sizes was a real problem. Women had to either wear pre-revolutionary lingerie or make their own bras: make smaller ones from large ones and vice versa. There were not enough fabrics. The tension with accessories and materials lasted until the 1960s.

The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo
The war helped: how the first women's bras appeared and why they were in short supply in the USSR. Photo

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that the network showed an invention introduced in 1971 in Belgium - the so-called electric bra. Its creators believed that it could promote breast growth.

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