- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by Mrs C Ginsburg
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Bust bodice of white cotton with slightly pointed neckline and short sleeves. It is just below bust length and the ends taper and extend to a length sufficient to cross at the back and tie at the front. The seams across the breasts and the triangular panel under the arm provide additional support for the bust. There is a worked wire button and loop at the centre front bust.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Bust bodice of cotton, England, 1820-1829
Labels and date
This is the oldest known bra in any museum collection. It was home-made in response to the new empire line fashions of the early 19th century.
The bodice shares similar characterists with some bras of the early 20th century, notably with its wrap-around ties. This coincidence of function demonstrates the need for an adjustable grip around the rib-cage, which was eventually perfected with the introduction of elastics towards the middle of the 20th century.
Cotton, with Dorset thread button
N.B. - CORRECT AT TIME THE LABEL WAS WRITTEN [2013-2015]
An ingenious design
The cut of this homemade bust bodice reflects the high waistline fashionable in the 1820s. The bodice is front opening and may have been designed to help its wearer breastfeed. The cups were originally larger and the bodice was later altered to reduce its size.
Britain, about 1820-30
Given by Mrs C Ginsburg [16/04/2016-12/03/2017]
Textiles; Women's clothes; Underwear; Europeana Fashion Project
Textiles and Fashion Collection