4000 Years of Bra Fashion Can’t Be Wrong

By Michelle Metens
As we continue with our theme that everything old is new again, I wanted to touch on a current trend that is literally older than Jesus – no offense to any Christians out there – but I want to put this into proper perspective.


A very hot pink “Sexy” bra from Victoria’s Secret.

Victoria’s Secret asked women a big, big, huge question; “What is Sexy?” And VS came up with their interpretation of that and told women what the answer was. Molded bras with a lot of padding combined with laser cut low rise panties, in bright, bright, we’re talking really bright colors. And that’s cool, but maybe not for everyone. If you like nude, pink and black then you’re ok to be in the club too. Other interpretations of what is sexy have stood the test of time in ways that are universal. Let’s take the open cup bra for example. Most people are fascinated with breasts, and honestly what’s not to love, right? In my experience at our retail store I rarely come across a person who doesn’t love them, be they woman or man. The Minoans of Crete created the very first open cup bra sometime around 2000BC, so these people were way ahead of the curve, and in fact they were the origin of the curve in terms of sexy fashion sense. Minoan art and religion depicted beautiful, powerful women in open cup garments that clearly defined their feminine attributes.

Minoan goddesses prefer open cup bras, circa 2000BC.

The Elizabethans during the Renaissance era followed in the Minoan’s footsteps, and corset bodices of the time were so low as to barely cover the nipple, that they might as well have been waist cinchers.


Queen Elizabeth delicately conceals her breasts with a three tiered strand of pearls.

In the 1930s open cup bras were very fashionable in Europe and the few pieces I have come across in my work were usually French. I mentioned Diana Slip in my previous article – when I look at their designs, I feel as if they could have been created yesterday….


These illustrations from Diana Slip are from 1937, the catalog for the season featured an ouvert cage bra.

Fast forward to 1964 and you have brands like Frederick’s of Hollywood selling a variety of open cup styles through their very popular catalogs.


Women could shop for their risque intimates in the privacy of their own homes.

Symbra patented an adorable ruffled open cup bra the same year, invented by S.G.Garutso and titled, “Bra Pad Means,” in the US Patent registry. The actual open cup cage style bra has rows and rows of delicate lace and two vertical bones in the undercup portion.


Love the embroidered bow appliques!

The ruffling is so feminine and creates just enough support when combined with the light boning.

Today, cage bras are everywhere, and strapy bras are the rage! Combine strapy with open cup and we’ve come full circle back to the Minoans via 1937 and 1964. Hopeless Lingerie out of Australia is making pretty big waves on the industry scene. Their Jennifer frame bra is a classic example of the genre and harkens back to the Diana Slip version pretty closely. This small operation has had a big impact on current trend and it looks like they will continue to do so for the immediate future. Check out their selection of lovely original designs, handmade in their Melbourne studio by Gabrielle Adamidis and her small team of seamstresses.


Jennifer Frame Bra from Hopeless Lingerie

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