Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Katherine Joslin

Second Advisor

Patti Borrello


It is common knowledge that a brassiere, more widely known as a bra, is an important if not a vital part of a modern woman’s wardrobe today. In the 21st century, a brassiere is no more worn for function as it is for fashion. In order to understand the evolution of function to fashion of a brassiere, it is necessary to account for its historical journey from the beginning to where it is today. This thesis paper, titled The Evolution of Brassiere in the 20th Century will explore the history of brassiere in the last 100 years. While the paper will briefly discuss the pre-birth of the brassiere during Minoan times, French Revolution and early feminist movements, it will largely focus on historical accounts after the 1900s. The paper will follow a chronological order, beginning with the pre-birth of the brassiere, followed by a decade-by-decade account of the history of the invention of brassiere, its structural values and the social settings that both influenced and was influenced by the undergarment. My analysis will show that the brassiere is more than a piece of garment – the evolution of the brassiere has and will continue to mirror the evolution of a woman’s status in society. My thesis statement will be explained and captured by my original writing, published text, existing patents as well as pictorial evidence.


PowerPoint accompanying.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access