The Bra is about the only article of women’s clothing that wasn’t first worn by men.
Don’t believe me? Well, just wander through illustrated history books a bit and as you look you’ll agree and laugh with me. Get out your Art Pictures of older English Royalty. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Pictures found etched on ancient Egyptian walls. And don’t forget the Bible.
For beginners, women in pants of any sort were absolutely unknown until quite a while after WW2. Women formed a highly praised branch of the US Army, the WACS, but they wore skirts. Unimaginable, but true. Regiment after regiment, and all in skirts.
Panty hose were worn by male noblemen at Shakespeare’s time and I’m sure they weren’t called Panty hose, for even on the stage today, they’re called Tights. But take a good look at them, and you’ll see they were the first panty hose.
And, to top off that long expanse of leg, the men set them off with Mini Skirts. No, they weren’t called mini skirts, but even a casual glance tells what they were. It took women well into the 20th century to claim not only the mini skirts, but everyone of the items mentioned above, Women were slow, slow, slow.
Legs were fetishes ‘back then’ even as now, but it was the male’s legs that wooed for attention, not the well covered female’s. It was the attire on the men’s legs that unashamedly was meant to catch the beholder’s attention. And I’m sure the women saw and followed the bait. .
No, they weren’t made of nylon, and they must have sagged and bunched at knees and ankles, but just the same . . . panty hose.
The Scots had their Kilts (skirts), and today still wear them for their formal attire. The Greeks had their white skirts and wore them for both battle and daily wear. ruffled, starched, standing out like to-day’s Ballerina tutu. Nothing new under the sun, and while women flaunt them all today, it was men who showed the way.
Abraham, and his brothers of Biblical times, as they herded their flocks across the hot sand, wore Kaftans. And the scarves they flung around their necks and heads the same as women do today when we want to be stylish, cool and casual.
Make-up was a male prerogative and they wore it long before Cleopatra put kohl on her eyelids, and henna to her nails and palms. Different than our make up kits, but the males of those centuries ago would eagerly use every item offered today.
And then we get to fancy shoes. We woman were still wrapping our feet in cloth to keep out the cold when men were wearing leather, fur and silk.
The shoes with long pointed toes were worn by men. The toes were much longer than we women have ever worn . . and were held up by ribbons fastened from the end of the point to the wearer’s hand, and when they wanted to impress someone, the ribbons were immediately put to one side and they walked carefully to make certain the toes did not get tripped over or walked upon by others. We women may have been slow to catch on, but it’s easy to see we brought about improvements. No be-ribboned toes for us.
Long ago Egyptian males wore ear rings and wigs. And think about it, but we’ve never, never seen pictures of Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and Colonists of any standing with out their wigs, and wouldn’t recognize those men without wigs. And it’s the law in Great Britain that English Judges must still wear those stylized white curled wigs we wonder over.
Yeah, we women are late bloomers, but men, in some areas of the world, still cling to the old forms.
Now hair styles are a thing apart from clothing, but just the same, men found the comfort, styling and ease of the hair cuts that many women, and I’m one of them, wear today, but, men found that comfort and ease first of all.
Men never did wear bras, physically they’ve never needed them, but they made up for it. Don’t ever forget those little items called Cod pieces that were so popular all through the 15th, 16th, and late into the 17th centuries. They were well padded. too. And if some of you are so innocent you don’t know what Cod pieces were, well, Ethel isn’t going to tell you, Just Google it and laugh with me.
The same as men never needing our Bras, the Cod Piece is one we women will never copy, either. Have fun.