Those Amazing Bullet Bras of the 1940s & 1950s

Bullet bras are making a comeback! Those super-pointy, sexy bosom-enhancing bras first became popular in the 1940s. Now, how that was possible during a period of "high morality" is an age-old story.

But recently, they've been popping up (no, really) all over the internet. But are they comfortable? Well, they don't have underwires, so sort-of, if you don't mind standing out. (Pun intended.) But they are just as super-erotic and sexy as they were in yesteryear.

What is a Bullet Bra, anyway?

The Bullet Bra is a full-support bra with cone-shaped cups that sit perpendicular to the breast. Yeah, really pointy and hot! First released by Perma-Lift in 1941, the advertisements for these new bras promised supreme comfort and support. Made without underwires, the cups are enforced by tight rows of stitching around the cups that help them keep their shape.

"Peek-a-boo" bosom bullets!

Mom, really? You're picking me up  from school in a bullet bra, hot pants, and heels?

Show off those assets, girlfriend!

These conical bras were introduced during wartime, earning their titles of "bullet bra" and "torpedo bra in honor of the war. Pretty weird, huh? (That was back when we pretended war was fun.)

So while a war raged across the sea, a culture of glamour was invading the U.S. Movies were more popular than ever (escapism), and hot, sexy photographs of winsome actresses -- dubbed "pin-up girls" -- were sent to the men overseas in an attempt to bolster morale. Yes, ladies, when times are tough, we sexualize our women!

Today, you can purchase authentic bullet bras at WhatKatieDid.com (photo at left), as does Secrets in Lace.

As worn by movie stars, the bullet bras were more popular than ever. Soon, women all over the country were wearing them, and of course, soon became a symbol of the decay morality. It was the old double standard: men wanted to see those sexy, pointing breasts, but at the same time, they were supposed to feel guilty about it. Well, at least the religious leaders believed that as the trend of tight sweaters over conical breasts became more and more of a fashion statement. (As if men didn't like breasts before 1940.) It was, they most assuredly believed, the end of morality in post-war America! Yet another lingerie scandal!

In 1937, emerging actress Lana Turner became the iconic symbol of the "sweater girls" for her role in the film, They Won't Forget. Even though she wasn't wearing a bullet bra in the film, soon young women everywhere where showing off their figures by wearing tight sweaters over those pointy bras.

So what if they're only supposed to be worn by brazen hussies -- they make us look hot! 

Soon, however, the bras became even more ridiculously pointy, made possible by the new plastics available, and women began buying up cone-shaped foam bra inserts (aka "falsies") to exaggerate the female form even more. Bullet bras remained popular in the early 1960s, but faded away with the start of the "Sexual Revolution" and movement to a more natural silhouette and , later that decade and into the early 1970s, the braless look.

Want to learn more about Bullet Bras, and maybe buy one for yourself?

Check out What Katy Did, a wonderful company that specializes in vintage lingerie from the 1930s to 1950s. There is a wealth of information about bullet bras, including how to select the right size, fitting tips, and more. Katy even sells Bullet Bra Pads (you know, those "falsies") if you need a little boost. 

Of course, in 1990, Madonna brought back the Bullet Bra as part of her stage costume and it enjoyed a brief "bosom renaissance," but soon faded into the background. Today, as liberated women are once again embracing their sexuality, the bullet bras are making yet another comeback as the popularity of vintage lingerie points (literally) to a blast to the past.

Madonna "Rocks It" in Her Iconic Cone Bra Circa 1990

More History of Lingerie