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Boom and Busts

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1907
Vogue uses the word brassiere for the first time in 1907; the OED adds it in 1912.


1914
New York socialite Mary Phelps Jacob patents the first bra, the backless brassiere, a primitive construction of two handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon. She ultimately sells the patent for $1,500.


1943
Howard Hughes crafts a cantilevered bra for Jane Russell in The Outlaw. She never wears it.


1977
Runners Hinda Miller and Lisa Lindahl create the jogbra, the first sports bra, by stitching two jockstraps together.


1979
Women’s-liberation movements burn bras, which feminists saw as objects of oppression rather than support.


1990
Madonna has Jean Paul Gaultier make a conical brassiere for her Blond Ambition tour.


1991
Sarah Jessica Parker shows her bra in public, a look she would revisit frequently a decade later in Sex and the City.



Time line compiled by Cheree Berry, author of Hoorah for the Bra: A Perky Peek at the History of the Brassiere.


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