The Bra Is 500 Years Older Than We Thought

A 15th century Austrian bra (right), and one from the 1950s. Photo: Beatrix Nutz

Hidden away in an Austrian castle, archaeologists uncovered four 600-year old linen bras, a find they weren’t expecting to make.

According to the Associated Press,

Fashion experts describe the find as surprising because the bra had commonly been thought to be only little more than 100 years old as women abandoned the tight corset. Instead, it appears the bra came first, followed by the corset, followed by the reinvented bra.

A release from the University of Innsbruck, the institution of the investigation’s lead researcher Beatrix Nutz, describes the search of the centuries-old Lengberg Castle:

During the research a vault filled with waste was detected in the south wing of the castle in room 2.07 on the 2nd floor. The fill consisted of dry material in different layers, among them organic material such as twigs and straw, but also worked wood, leather – mainly shoes – and textiles.

One of the bras had cups and wide shoulder straps, and, though it was worn away by time, there was an indication of a previous back strap. The AP says,

And the lingerie was not only functional. The bras were intricately decorated with lace and other ornamentation, the statement said, suggesting they were also meant to please a suitor.

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