Did Covid kill the bra? When is the last time you wore a real one, with underwire and hooks in the back?
For me it was date night. That’s right, the only action my bras have seen is when they are used to play dress-up. Even then it’s only the pretty ones made of lace and delicate straps – not designed for all-day. Or all evening. In fact, sexy lingerie has recorded an unusual increase in sales this year. If we are stuck at home, we might as well make the most of it, right?
My laundry basket is full of sports bras and spandex. Now I wonder if Victoria’s Secret will ever be the same. But I’m not worried. After all those years of making us aspire to the kind of breasts that get crowned with a Fantasy Bra made of diamonds, it serves them right.
Before the pandemic, 4,000,000 bras were produced each day. The average American woman owns six. The average size has increased from 34D to 36DD in the past fifty years. How do I know? I did the research for a fun facts page in A Boob’s Life.
But now, all bras are off. I mean, bets. All bets are off.
The irony is that I could not wait to wear a bra when I was a little girl. Could you? Remember those stretchy training bras in the rectangular Maidenform boxes? The only thing they trained me for was wanting bigger boobs, and real bras. The kind I no longer want to wear.
Modern bras weren’t invented until 1910, when nineteen-year-old Mary Phelps Jacobs wanted something softer than a metal corset beneath her debutante gown. She sewed two silk handkerchiefs together with pink ribbon, and voila! The word “brassiere” was soon added to the dictionary. In 1915, the Warner Brothers Corset Company bought the patent for $1500. Soon after, corsets were outlawed to save metal for WWI battleships and bras became a staple. Warner ultimately earned $15,000,000.
The sports bras we wear today were born in 1977, when Lisa Lindahl got sick of pulling her straps back up while jogging. Plus, those awful hooks, invented by Mark Twain back in the 1800’s, were not intended for a woman’s delicate flesh. Lindahl complained to her friend, Polly Smith, who solved the problem by sewing two jockstraps together. Clean ones, let’s hope. They called it a “Jockbra.” Soon after, they changed the name to Jogbra, maybe to avoid rude comments like mine. With help from Hinda Miller, they ultimately sold their invention to the company that became Champion.
By 2011, 95% of women in the Western world wore bras. Now, we’re are afraid that not wearing one will make our boobs sag – and the jury is mixed. I do remember hearing that Marilyn Monroe wore a bra to bed. So did Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, but that might have been in her contract.
In 2020, we’ve come full circle. Comfy undergarments reminiscent of silky handkerchiefs are the stars of my date-night drawer. For day, I coordinate sports bras with my favorite Zoom-ready tops. And structured corsets? Strictly couture.
Now that summer is over, will you go back to wearing a real bra?