History Reinvented: Bras Of The Past Become Bras Of The Future

When I first dipped my toes into the real world of fashion, far beyond my sketchbooks and the many images constantly swirling through my mind, that is. It was in grade 11 fashion class. I clearly remember wanting to create and study the proper techniques to get all of the ideas out of my head and onto a piece of paper so that the designs could become visually understood by whoever was to look at them. Instead, however, for the first whole semester, all we learned about was the history of fashion, and I hated it. Through the years though I have to say I have had many a time to reflect on this topic, and have learned to be quite grateful for the lessons taught. Because, although I did not see it at the time. Over the years I have learned to become more aware of the trends and appreciate the innovation behind the designs that have stood the test of time. As well as the designs that have evolved from the past which is what I will be focusing on in this article.

When I first came up with the idea of a customizable bra with interchangeable back bands, it was back in 2013 while trying to put together an outfit for date night with my now fiancé. I was surprised to uncover that something of this nature failed to exist on the market. However, through more digging compelled by the complete fascination of discovering my life’s purpose of such a powerful and life changing garment in the eyes of women throughout time. I came to the conclusion that I did not invent something new, but instead managed to reinvent the past in a way that met the needs of modern-day women.

You see, in 2008 a historic discovery was made that allowed people today, to take a glimpse into the past with the discovery of some 15th-century clothing and textiles including some linen bras. They had been found to be well preserved underneath the floorboards in an Austrian castle called Lengberg Castle. As You can see in the pictures it is quite amazing how a bra more than 600 years old is so similar in appearance to bras today. What’s even more shocking is it too was a side closure bra. The first of its kind!

Henri de Mondeville, surgeon to Philip the Fair of France and his successor Louis X, wrote in his Cyrurgia in 1312-20: “some women… insert two bags in their dresses, adjusted to the breasts, fitting tight, and they put them [the breasts] into them [the bags] every morning and fasten them when possible with a matching band”.

The third ‘bra’ looks a lot more like a modern bra and is possibly what the unknown German author called “tuttenseck” or “breastbags”. It has two broad shoulder straps and the partially torn edges at the cup indicates a back strap. This ‘bra’ is elaborately decorated with needle-lace on the shoulder straps. All ‘bags’ are decorated at the lower end with finger-loop braided laces and needle-lace.

The fourth ‘bra’ can best be described with the modern tern ‘longline bra’, a type of bra popular in the 1950s but still in fashion today. The cups are each made from two pieces of linen sewn together and the surrounding fabric extends down to the bottom of the ribcage with a row of six eyelets on the side of the body for fastening with lace. There are narrow shoulder straps, and needle-lace decorates the cleavage. Two of the bras have been radiocarbon-dated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the dates ranging from the end of the 14th to the second half of the 15th century.

This information was taken directly from the www.historyextra.com

Seeing this documentation really made me think and wonder, what was the reasoning for this design so long ago in our history, and is it truly better than what we have on the market today?