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Moment 32: Bye-Bye Bras

Emboldened by women’s liberation, women ditched their brassieres in droves in the late Sixties, and the braless look became popular.

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Braless in 1969

Braless in 1969.

Photo By Nick Machalaba/WWD Archive

Emboldened by the rapidly growing women’s liberation and antigovernment movements sweeping college campuses toward the end of the Vietnam War—and perhaps a little worn out from tugging, clicking, pulling and pushing all those ubersupportive brassieres into place—by the late Sixties, women began ditching their up-top undergarments in droves. An August 27, 1969, photograph in WWD under the headline “The No-Bra Look” captured the impact of the natural look in a single shot: Clad in a simple tank and pants, the unabashedly braless woman pictured came off as confident and antiestablishment, not to mention casually sexy. The braless look would prevail over the next few years, often requiring a loosened approach to fashion. T-shirts and peasant blouses became de rigueur and Rudi Gernreich’s braless body stocking, one of the first underpinnings of its kind, caused a media sensation. If for many women forgoing a bra was initially as much a political statement as a revolutionary act of fashion, it didn’t take long for it to hit mainstream pop culture. By 1976, three delightful Angels—Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith—often skipped the underwire while filming their iconic television show.