A Bullet bra refers to a full support bra with cups shaped like a paraboloid of revolution and a perpendicular axis to the breast. The bullet bras gained their popularity in the early 1950s. They were usually worm by famous actresses and models with a tight-fitting outer garment to accentuate the bra’s shape and enhance the curves of the person wearing it. It’s key to note that those iconic Bullet bras were provocative to the norms and customs of the “Good girls” of those days, so how did they manage to beat those norms and traditions to become famous?
Before the 1950s, bras, in general, had nothing to do with fashion. Their primary function was to suppress the wearer’s breasts out of the way. It is based on the fact that at this particular time, the choices of fashionable garments for women were meant to de-emphasize the bust line of a woman rather than emphasizing it. For example, in the early 1920s, the most fashionable outlook for women was the “Flapper Girl,” whereby the flapper girls adopted a boyish fashion style that included a straight waistline and their breasts’ bounding to give them a somewhat flat-chested outlook.
The “Flapper Girl” outlook lasted for almost 20 years. Still, by the early 1940s, it had already faded out, and a new American fashion trend that emphasized on giving women a more defining look to their bust line started creeping in. The series of events leading to this new trend began with filming a new movie known as “The Outlaw” by a Hollywood business tycoon and director Howard Hughes. During the filming of this new movie, Howard was very unsatisfied with Jayne Russell’s breasts’ outlook. He decided to design his bra, which he named “the Cantilever Bra,” to be worn by Russell in the movie. On being released in 1943, “The outlaw” set the Hollywood movie sensors and the American fashion trends on fire. The over-emphasized bust line of Russell maximized everyone even more than the actual movie did.
Following the introduction of this new bra, a man named Fredrick Mellinger opened up a bra shop located on Hollywood Boulevard known as “Fredrick’s Hollywood”. This shop introduced the world’s first push-up bra, which came to be famously known as the black lingerie. According to Mellinger, the push-up bra was meant to make women feel right and comfortable in their bodies. Many women across America bought this idea, making Hollywood women shop for bras in Fredrick’s shop. Sooner or later, with the growing exposure and fame, the local and “normal” women started shopping there as well.
The outbreak and spread of the Second World War marked a turning point in the Bra industry. The events of this war led to a great demand for raw materials and consumer goods. It led to introducing new styles of glamour, which included new designs, colors, patterns, fabrics, and elasticity for the bra industry. One of the most famous new systems that emerged in this era was the Bullet bra.
The bullet bra was first introduced in the year 1949 by Maiden form. This new bra came with paraboloid shaped cups and a perpendicular axis to the breast. And since it was wartime, its comical shape bought it the name ‘Bullet bra”. The bra also featured decorative stitching of concentric spirals or circles at the center of the nipples. It depended on the manufacturer. The bullet bras were further popularized by the television’s invention at this particular time, which conducted promotional opportunities for the newly invented bras. The advice and popularity led to a quick integration of those bullet bras into Hollywood starlets’ outlooks. With its allowance, which allowed women to add a cup size of their choice, thus providing an overly exaggerated pointed look to their breasts, the Bullet bras quickly became popular among American women, especially those who preferred to wear tight sweaters on top.
It’s critical to note that the Bullet bras’ popularity was short-lived in the late 1950s due to its overly emphasized outlook, and by the early 1960s, its popularity began to decline. Its decline in popularity can also be blamed on the new feminist philosophy that started to clop in just at this particular time, which believed that the bras were a sexist tool invented by men. It led to many women across the globe to burn their bras and start walking braless. With this new philosophy taking root and becoming widespread new bra designs began to emerge too. They included soft cup bra designs and more lightweight fitting bras. Those factors accelerated the fading of the bullet bras, and by the early 1960s, the Bullet bras were no more.
The bullet bra has never produced any major comeback, but in the late 1990s, a pop singer renowned as Madonna wore the Bullet bra designed by Jean-Paul Gautier in one of her tours. The bra generated a new controversy in the fashion trends; thus, in 1999, the Vintage lingerie company produced a new Bullet bra that again acquired popularity, which led to renowned brands such as Peller, Spenser, and Naturana producing their versions.
Even though the Bullet bras designs have long disappeared, modern-day celebrities have adopted the bullet bras on some significant occasions. Some of those celebrities include Kate Perry, Amy Whinehouse, and Ferrera. In 2017 a considerable filmmaker known as Steve Cosmic released an album on the Bullet bras known as “Bullet bra sweater Girls” that even featured three girls that chose to wear those Bullet bras in public to see how they made them look and feel.
The Uses of the Bullet Bras:
- The Bullet bras helped reduce the chances of premature sagging of one’s breasts since they ensured that the breast’s connective tissue was not stretched so much.
- It helps reduce the chances of hunching, which is a long-term effect of having massive breasts.
- It allows one to reduce the chances of contracting the skeletal and posture problems resulting from sagging breasts.
- It helped one in looking fashionable and presentable.