|(from the Topping Out album)|
The University of Innsbruck found four linen bras dating from the 15th century in an Austrian castle. Everything we've assumed from historical records is, quite potentially, wrong: namely that draped cloth led to the development of the bodice, which led to the corset, which led to the invention of the bra.
Instead, it seems the bra may have been developed first, followed by the gradual lengthening to corsets, then to the reinvented bra with new materials.
Though this find happened in 2008, it's taken all this time to be sure of what they had. They had to sort through 2,700 scraps of linen, cotton and leather in a buried vault to reconstruct the (badly damaged) garments--among them, the four linen bras discovered, and at least one tied undergarment--though researchers seem quick to assert that that belonged to a male, not to a female. I have my doubts, but I admit, I'm more interested in the bra, anyway.
Fascinating find all around. Now I'm wondering what this will mean for recreated medieval fashion.