Here's a longer excerpt:
The bra is a thing of wondrous variety. It has been called the Hemispheres of Paradise and, less flatteringly, the Over-the-Shoulder Boulder Holder. Its function has been, paradoxically, both modest concealment and brazen revelation. It has been praised as a revolutionary garment that freed women from constriction, and has been (allegedly) burnt in public as an emblem of oppression.
It's available in a riot of forms, including lacy, push-up, sporty, plunge-line, strapless, pointy, Cross Your Heart, conical, and Wonder. It's a billion-pound industry in the UK, and a $15bn mega-industry in America. No other garment has so closely shadowed the history of the status of women. No other garment has had the power to reduce intelligent, rational men to drooling boys and awestruck slaves.
Exactly a hundred years ago, in 1907, the word "brassiere" was used in Vogue for the first time. But its evolution goes back three millennia.
So, which is it, bane of existence or god-send? Any ladies in the house want to share their thoughts and feelings about the ole brassiere?
For the full story, click here:
Walsh, "A Social History of the Bra"