And the answer: sports bra.
In 1977, Lisa Lindahl wanted a supportive yet comfortable bra to wear during her 30 miles of weekly jogging. Together with Hinda Miller and Polly Smith, she crafted a prototype by sewing two jockstraps together. In 1979, the Jogbra was patented, and cleared a barrier for women to participate in sports and other athletic pursuits.
Thanks to the creation of Lindahl, Miller, and Smith, women’s exercise got a whole lot more comfortable. Lindahl and her sister Victoria Woodrow were fed up with discomfort associated with exercising, and to the great relief of women everywhere, decided to innovate. Although the prototype was…rudimentary, to say the least (a jock-strap bra doesn’t sound all that enticing), experimentation and tinkering continued to elevate the design throughout the 80s and 90s. In the late 80s, an avid volleyball player named Renelle Braaten was tired of doubling up on sports bras to make it work, so she designed a hybrid that combined the popular compression style with encapsulating cups. The Enell sports bra, as it became known, is still a widely-used style today.
Meanwhile, the style continued to expand throughout the world. In 1999, after scoring the winning kick for the United States at the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals, player Brandi Chastain celebrated by spontaneously taking off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra. Today, the image is considered as an iconic photograph of a woman celebrating an athletic victory, as it marks the first time that an international woman soccer player had removed her top and proudly worn her sports bra.
Due to the fact that women lack muscles in their chest, sports bras are extremely helpful tools for women to reduce strain on their ligaments and support better back health. Today, around 85% of all women who wear a sports bra to exercise agree that proper support helps to improve their enjoyment of exercise altogether.
Learn more about the history and significance of the sports bra here.