100 years of the BRA; WE INVITE YOU TO RAISE YOUR CUPS AND TOAST..
IT has maximised and minimised, supported and shaped generations of women - and it's frustrated millions of men, who've struggled to unfasten them!
Created in 1907, the humble bra has evolved through the fashion eras - from the modest designs of the flat-chested flappers of the 20s, to the flirty 40s when American starlet Jane Russell's killer cleavage caused a clamour for underwire and padding.
But it's Mary Phelps Jacob we have to thank for the modern bra structure. In 1913, she made a one out of two handkerchiefs tied together with ribbon.
Before that women had to put up with whale-boned contraptions that had to be so tightly laced-up special breathing techniques had to be learned to prevent women from fainting.
Now there are bras to suit whatever look, fit or shape you fancy - from virginal white to racy red, strapless to seamless, uplift to sporty, and from Kate Moss AAs to Jordan's FFs.
And in the quest for the ultimate uplift, bra boffins predict brassieres will become more hi-tech over the next 100 years.
Lycra innovator Les Jacques explains: "One idea is a bra that incorporates an MP3 player. Another is the temperature controlled bra, which changes with external temperatures by heating and cooling the cleavage accordingly. No more visible nipple syndrome when temperatures drop, or sweat-soaked gym bras."
So in celebration of 100 years of relentless support, here's a brief history of the bra...
THE first concept of a brassiere - from the old French word "arm protector" - appears in US Vogue.
THE Oxford English Dictionary includes the word "brassiere" for the first time.
AMERICAN socialite Mary Phelps Jacob, 19, buys a sheer evening dress and, annoyed at the bones protruding out of the corset, fashions her own underwear from two silk handkerchiefs and some ribbon. She is granted the first US patent for the brassiere the following year.
PHELPS patents her design under the name Caresse Crosby, and describes her invention as a backless brassiere. She sells the rights to Warner Brothers for pounds 750 - a patent later valued at pounds 7.5million.
DURING the First World War, the Germans denounce Parisian underwear as unGerman and dangerous.
RUSSIAN immigrant Ida Rosenthal and her husband William found Maidenform. In years to come she will pioneer the idea of different cup sizes for different women, as well as patent a bra strap fastener.
ENTER the shaped bra - the Kestos, fashioned from two triangular pieces of fabric, with elastic shoulders, a crossover back and buttons at the front to create two distinct cups.
WARNER'S creates the cup sizing system from A, B, C and D - nicknamed egg cup, tea cup, coffee cup and challenge cup.
NYLON adds practicality to the bras. Until now they have been made using just padding and wiring.
JUDY Garland wears a breast-binding device in the Wizard Of Oz to make her look childish.
BILLIONAIRE and aviator Howard Hughes designs a push-up bra for Jane Russell to wear under a tight silk blouse in the film The Outlaw. Jane Russell later claims she never wore it.
A WARTIME Berlei ad tells women that letting their figure go is "bad for morale and bad for efficiency, too". As women take on major roles in the hostilities, bras become more utilitarian and ugly.
THE end of the war marks the freedom of lingerie which becomes lacier and racier.
LYCRA fibre is invented by scientists at DuPont. Adding this stretchy manmade fibre to the mix means bras fit comfortably.
CANADIAN company Canadelle invents the Wonderbra, designed to "lift and separate" the bust. It still causes a stir 30 years later when Eva Herzigova stars in the "Hello Boys" ad.
TRIUMPH'S Doreen bra - a supportive, non-underwired style - goes on sale. It is the bestselling bra in the world today.
JANET Leigh's black bra was deemed too indecent for audiences in the 1960 movie Psycho but by 1967 there are no such qualms. Anne Bancroft reveals her lace bra in The Graduate and a generation swoons.
A DEMONSTRATION by radical feminists at the Miss America pageant leads to one of the most famous urban legends - that of the burning bra. The truth is no bras are burnt, instead they are dumped into a rubbish bin in protest. But a newspaper report mentions a bra burning and the image sticks.
HINDA Miller, Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith sew two jockstraps together and call it the Jogbra. It is the first sports bra.
UNDERWEAR-as-outerwear - Jean Paul Gaultier creates a conical bra for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour.
ITALIAN manufacturer Santoni develops a circular knitting machine that allows a bra to be knitted in one go. This leads to today's seamless, tagless bras.
LINGERIE goes green as Hanro, Chantelle and Ballet are among the brands offering bras in eco-friendly bamboo-blend fabrics.
UNFLAPPABLE: The 20s; HELLO BOYS: Eva Herzigova in that Wonderbra advert; SHAPING UP: The Kestos; BIG PUSH: Jane Russell; RACY: Anne Bancroft; CONICAL: Madonna