On the 18th of July 2012, word came out that the world's oldest bra had been found. Now this is a lovely piece of news to a fashion history lover as myself. For years we were ment to believe the first bra-like garments were worn by the end of the 19th century. Turns out that is not true. The bra that is now changing our believes about underwear was found in Austria and is over 500 years old! The bra was discovered in a waste-filled vault at Lengberg Castle, together with a few more bra like garments. So it was in fact not a 19th century invention; the bra already existed (in some form) in the 15th century!
I have to admit that part of me thinks that there are probably bra's out there that are even older than that... Women have always had boobs and having them just 'hang' is not comfortable. I can imagine one being very motivated in finding something to solve that back in the days. Undergarments are usually made of delicate materials and I think the problem in not finding them is that they're simply faded away... And since documenting underwear propably wasn't on peoples minds hundreds of years ago, who know what might have been lost over the centuries? Haha hell, for all I know Cleopatra was walking around strutting a fancy emerald breast holder in her days.