Woven into women’s underwear is a story of liberation and ingenuity. In 1913, getting dressed for a soirée, socialite Mary Phelps had a fashion emergency. She was eager to show off her new sheer gown with its plunging neckline, but her whalebone and steel-rod corset was poking through. With the help of a maid, two handkerchiefs and pink ribbon, Mary Phelps created a makeshift brassiere that was the sensation of the party. On November 3, 1914, Phelps received the first bra patent on record.