Altering the female body to fit the ideal beauty of a particular culture has been a human obsession for centuries. Chinese bound feet, Kayan neck rings and, of course, the corset. A less invasive apparatus, but no less significant in defining the female figure is the brassiere. Push-up bras, reducing bras, bullet bras... no bra.
The bra is the foundation for the fashion. The wasp waist would not have seemed quite as exaggerated were it not for the bra. These 1950's Maidenform ads, though humorous, show the variety of ways in which a Mid-Century woman's breasts were shaped.
Find vintage lingerie patterns at my CynicalGirl shop on Etsy.