AP Photo/University Innsbruck Archeological Institute
This undated picture publicly provided by the Archeological Institute of the University of Innsbruck, shows a medieval bra. The bra is commonly thought to be little more than 100 years old as corseted women abandoned rigid fashions and opted for the more natural look. But that timeline is about to be revised with the discovery of four brassieres from the Middle Ages in a debris-filled vault of an Austrian castle.
In a vault of fabric scraps hidden inside an Austrian castle, archeologists discovered what women have known for centuries -- bras are medieval torture devices.
The frilly find of four brassieres from the Middle Ages was formally announced this week by the University of Innsbruck. Lingerie historians, long believing the corset was the original training bra, are now rewriting the chronology of the cup. They were only off by 600 years.
KPCC asked Jenette Bras boutique owner Jenette Goldstein to try the news on for size. Goldstein, proprietress of shops in East Hollywood and Pasadena, said construction and design wise the bras looked "very very similar" to contemporary styles.
"It even has the low front under pinnings," she noted, not surprised by the low cut of the garment. In both fashion and function, she explained, it would have needed to "disappear under the clothing of the day."
Aside from the development of underwire -- which Goldstein calls "a godsend" -- innovation in bras, she says, has largely been in fabrics.
Although the linen garments were unearthed in 2008, they did not make news until now, says the archaeologist responsible for the discovery, Beatrix Nutz. She delivered a lecture last year but the information stayed in academic circles until a recent article in the BBC History Magazine.