Of course you would have heard of an underwire bra, but have you heard of an overwire bra? This unusual design was popular around the 1950s when fashion was just starting to move away from the conical shapes of ‘bullet bras’ and onto something more natural but still with a firm structure and support.
an overwire from Dita Von Teese’s collection for Target, Australia
The lingerie of the 1950s was all about femininity and class. You wouldn’t get dressed in the morning without wearing a shaping bra, petticoat and slip, with stockings and a garter belt to hold them up! The lingerie drawer of a 1950s lady would be extensive and simple.
Before 1950, the lingerie wardrobe of a typical woman would have a lot of natural fabrics such as silk, cotton and satin. Nylon was discovered by a chemist in the 1940s and was a less expensive and more stretchy alternative to natural fabrics. Combining satin and nylon allowed the iconic bullet bra to be developed. This bra would have spokes or a circular pattern to give the bra its shape and lift the breasts to gravity-defying heights!
The overwired bra is a more toned down version of the bullet bra, with a firm overwire that goes over the top of the breasts. The overwire bra would normally be in a plunging style, and would often give a conical look to the breasts. Modern day styles now mean you can wear this style of bra peeping out of your shirt or dress. Lacy designs are very popular, and you can find re-makes of vintage styles on ebay and handmaid sites!