” While there’s no hard evidence that our prehistoric ancestors wore furry bikinis à lá Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C., we can pretty much assume that ladies have been looking for ways to support, suppress or accentuate the curves for a long time.
It all began with the bra, that versatile undergarment that helps keep everything where it’s supposed to be. And it turns out we have ancient Egyptians to thank for it (no surprise there, Nefertiti). Egyptians wore a band of linen under their diaphanous robes to flatten the bust line, while in China they were developing their own solutions — women wore single-pieced underpinnings that covered the breasts and belly but left the back, exposed. In fact, outerwear has always dictated the look and function of undergarments. Cretan women pretty much invented the corset to get a wasp-waisted look that predated Mae West’s hourglass figure by 3,000 years. But how did we get from there to Spanx and Maidenform?”