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Cleavage – The Great Reveal!

Cleavage display has been used throughout history to enhance physical, sexual and financial attractiveness. Fashions and public morals dictate how much or how little breast it’s acceptable to show and it’s been quite a roller coaster ride over the last 600 years.

The Countess of Somerset showing cleavage in 1612!

The Ancient Greeks really liked breasts, so women would wear all sorts of things to push them up or expose them. The Romans on the other hand were very male-orientated and women bound their chests in order to minimize them, fashions being quite ‘unisex’.

The women’s décolletage (or exposed neckline) was fashionably prominent in  European society from the Middle Ages, and the first corsets probably appeared in royal courts as a device to lift and accentuate the breasts while accentuating a woman’s hourglass figure (a sign of fertility and prosperity). By the 15th and 16th centuries it became common fashion for women to bare their breasts completely, from Queens to prostitutes!  In England in the 17th century, Queen Mary II was depicted in portraits with fully bared breasts, this was regarded as a sign of prosperity and high social standing, yet revealing the ankle, leg or shoulders was considered to be in very bad taste.

Breast exposure continued up until after the French Revolution, fashions between 1795 and 1820 bared not only the breasts but the shoulders too (I guess that would make it a skirt then!). The Victorians put an end to this trend with their prudish social attitudes and high collars replaced the décolletage, although ball or evening gowns still displayed plenty of cleavage.

Jayne Mansfield and her famous cleavage

At the beginning of the 20th century, prudishness prevailed and even fairly modest round or v-shaped necklines were discouraged and frowned upon. The breast all but disappeared in the Flapper era as upper body fashions became more restrained but as a consequence, rising hemlines finally revealed the leg!

The sexual permissiveness of the 1960’s liberated and uncovered the bosom in films and on television but full breast exposure in public was still regarded as indecent. Breast enhancement waned with the fashion for a more natural and smaller bustline, but skirt lengths were rising higher than ever and legs were given maximum exposure for the first time in history. It was the decade of the leg!

Even the Wonderbra, launched in 1964 created little impact until the early 1990’s when demand suddenly intensified, breasts were finally back and padded push-up bras were the new method of enhancement.

And in today’s post-“Sex And The City” world, we ladies are lucky enough to be able to  dress more casually and femininely even in the office, responsible cleavage display is generally accepted everywhere. So check out all the wonderful push-up bras we have at Now That’s and have fun with your cleavage, experiment with different tops and dresses and see what a difference a good push-up bra or balconette bra can make!




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