UNTIL last week, it was generally accepted that women started wearing underwear only in the late 18th century and that the first bra was invented around 100 years ago. But remains of linen and lace lingerie, including garments that clearly provided breast support, were found during restoration work at Lengberg Castle in the Austrian Tyrol. Carbon dating has confirmed that the four bras and two pairs of pants found among remains of 3’000 fragments of clothing were buried there when the building had been extended in 1480.
Because the remains of the lingerie were found in a castle, it is possible that lingerie may have been worn at the time only by members of the more affluent nobility. Nevertheless, the fact that the garments existed at all confirms that lingerie has been considered by some as an essential part of the wardrobe for many more years than had been thought. This provides grounds for hoping that sales of lingerie could recover faster than outerwear from the current crisis