The bra , a garment that can be found in almost every woman's drawers, but with a history deeply rooted in the struggle for female autonomy and changing perceptions of beauty. This garment tells the story of social changes, technological advances and cultural shifts that have shaped women over the centuries.

From Corset to Comfort

The Corset

The corset has long been seen as the ultimate symbol of feminine elegance. Tightly laced to create an hourglass figure, the corset allowed women to conform to prevailing beauty standards. However, this rigid structure posed serious health problems, such as breathing difficulties and permanent damage to the skeleton. The discomfort and risks associated with the corset eventually led to a desire for change.

Early Bras:

The first bras were introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century, in response to the disadvantages of the corset. These early bras, often made of soft fabrics and without hard boning, offered women a new form of comfort and freedom. They marked a turning point in female fashion, where health and comfort became a priority over extreme body shapes.

Cultural Revolutions: 1960s and 1970s

The women's movement of the '60s and '70s radically changed how bras were perceived and worn. Women began to reconsider wearing bras as a form of oppression. Going braless became a sign of rebellion and freedom, symbolizing a rejection of traditional beauty standards imposed by society.

At the same time, this cultural shift led to a diversification in bra designs. Designers began creating styles that focused more on natural shapes and the wearer's individual comfort, giving women a wider range of choices that better suited their personal values ​​and preferences.

The Rise of the Unpadded Bra

With the continued trend towards authenticity and self-acceptance, unpadded bras gained popularity. These bras, which emphasize the natural shape of the breast without additional padding or reinforcement, reflect a cultural shift toward more natural and authentic self-expression. Materials and designs improved, making unpadded bras both comfortable and stylish, perfectly matching today's casual and conscious fashion trends. Check out our top 3 reasons to try an unpadded bra .

Contemporary Meaning

Today, choosing a bra is much more than just a practical consideration; it is a personal expression and a statement of individual values. The bra reflects a broader cultural movement towards diversity and inclusivity, recognizing each woman's unique shapes and preferences.

Future visions

The future of bra design looks promising, with trends pointing to even more personalized and technologically advanced options. This indicates a continued evolution of our social norms, centering on comfort, health, and personal expression.


The evolution of the bra is much more than the story of a simple garment; it is a chronological narrative of change, a mirror of the struggle for female autonomy and respect. From the restrictive corset to the liberating unpadded bra, each stage in the bra's evolution reflects a step toward greater freedom, health and personal expression for women everywhere.

April 25, 2024 — Isa Hoeksema

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