The history of lingerie is being rewritten, all because a couple freak-nasty archaeologists were rooting around in some hang-loose Austrian gals' trash.
It has long been understood that the appearance of corsets as an undergarment for women predated that of bras by centuries. In fact, the bra was seen as a relatively new invention: the U.S. issued the first patent for a "backless brassiere" in 1914. Bras were not constructed using advanced BioFit® technology until the early 2000s.
Corsets, by contrast, have been popular since the latter half of the Renaissance.
But now a handful of 600-year-old linen bras uncovered in an Austrian castle prove that women were wearing bras well before anyone could have imagined.
According to the University of Innsbruch website, archaeologists came up on the garments while examining 2,700 textile fragments recovered from a "vault filled with waste" on the second floor of Lengberg Castle in Tyrol, Austria.
The four artifacts resemble modern bras, and are classified as brassieres rather than corsets on the basis of their "distinct cut cups." Two of them appear to have been fashioned as a combination bra and crop top (very "in" right now and also 600 years ago), ending just below the breast but having additional fabric to cover "the décolleté" or "good stuff."
All of the bras feature decorative lacework, which so often just ends up looking tacky, am I right?
The University of Innsbruch post explains that medieval written sources are vague on the topic of ladies' underwear arsenals, sometimes referring to them as "bags for the breasts," "shirts with bags," or, on occasion, breast-bands used to bind down the kind of puppies that you just can't cover up.
Carbon-dating confirmed that the Austrian bras date back to the 15th century. A pair of underwear closely resembling sexy side-tie bikini briefs was also uncovered as part of the load, though the archaeologists maintain those are men's underwear.
Because women didn't wear anything under their skirts.
Time to go rewrite all of your Catherine de' Medici fanfiction.