Boom and Busts

Photo: Courtesy of Conde Nast Archive/Vogue

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

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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.

Photo: Gaslight Advertising Archives

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

Photo: Tara Striano

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

Photo: Bettmann/Corbis

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

Photo: John Roca/Rex USA

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

Photo: Rex USA

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.

Boom and Busts