History of bras [1]

2000 BC.
Women have used bra-like devices, designed to lift, separate and restrain their breasts. It was open at the front to the waist, leaving the breasts uncovered. Small strips of leather round the waist were used to curve round the outline of the breasts.
14th century BC.
Brassiere or bikini-like garments are depicted on some female athletes during the Minoan civilization era.
Middle Ages
It was exceptional for women to restrict or support their breasts, and if they did, they probably used something like a cloth binder.
By the time of Charles VII of France, a gauze drape was used over the bust.
16th century
Early corsets consisted of paste-stiffened linen and a primitive busk at the front, but later included iron supports at the side and back. Women have used a variety of garments and devices to cover, restrain, or modify the appearance of breasts. Corsets as underwear, that pushes the breasts upwards, were dominated in closets of wealthier women.
Women's interest in sport, particularly bicycling, forced a rethinking, and women's groups called for "emancipation garments". Elizabeth Stuart Phelps urged women to "burn the corsets"!
latter part
of the 19th century
Various alternatives were experimented with, splitting the corset into a girdle-like restraining device for the lower torso, and transferring the upper part to devices suspended from the shoulder.
Dressmaker Olivia Flynt was granted four patents covering the "true Corset" or "Flynt Waist". It was aimed at the larger-breasted woman.

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