Well we all know the expression “sex sells” and more specifically, when it comes to the good old silver screen, let’s be honest, ‘boobs sell’, particularly in their best supporting bra. Hollywood bombshells have been using their assets to their advantage for at least a century. And it’s a century that’s seen a fair few changes in the shapes, sizes and underwear considered to be knock ‘em dead gorgeous.
Well gosh, we have to start with Marilyn – Norma Jeane Mortenson – as she was actually called. Here was a lady who defined the 1950s shape and for whom the word ‘bazookas’ was surely first used to describe her ample bosoms. Marilyn apparently slept in her bra (she often wore a pointy, or bullet bra) to ensure her breasts never sagged. Another trick she employed was stuffing marbles into her bra. There’s a little confusion as to why she did this; maybe to keep things looking pert – but the tricks Marilyn used most definitely paid off.
Along with Marilyn the late Jayne Mansfield certainly opted to play the vamp and she had the voluptuous body to back it up. She famously appeared in a 1950s airline advert, wearing a low-cut bodice and was regularly referred to as the “cleavage queen”. Jayne never hit the heady heights of ultimate movie stardom, but she was certainly world renowned as a sex symbol and as someone not averse to getting publicity for intentional ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ (as seen in the photo at the top of this article – image courtesy of Vanity Fair).
“A flush comes to my face, And my pulse begins to race, It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody boom…” she famously sang in her 1960 hit single. Well, despite once getting caught staring at Jayne Mansfield’s boobs (pictured), she commanded a fair bit of attention for her own figure. The Italian actress began her movie career in 1950 and became one of the most popular actresses of the 1960s, with male co-stars falling head over heels with the voluptuous femme fatale. And what does Loren have to say about the famous photograph with Jayne Mansfield? Well in 2014, she revealed to Entertainment Weekly: “She sat down. And now, she was barely . . . Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table.”
The actress who famously wowed Elvis, Ann Margret certainly knew a thing or two about wearing a good bra. It was the date scene from the movie, Carnal Knowledge, with Jack Nicholson, that really put her cleavage on the map. Push up bra, eat your heart out…
Raquel Welch had (and has) a physique to die for and a 1960s/70s movie that featured Raquel in a bikini was always going to draw a legion of fans. The statuesque Racquel wore a 34C bra at a time when the structured forms of the early 60s were giving way to something a little more light-weight and free. One of her most famous movies bikini appearances – as a cavewoman (in a sort of cavewoman bikini) is in the 1966 movie ‘1 million years BC’.
When it comes to giving a classy hint of ‘what lies beneath’, then Michelle Pfeiffer – portraying Susie Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys, really wins the day. And the 1989 movie certainly did the actress a fair bit of good. It’s been described as the film that began her ascent as a great Hollywood star.
Carrie Fisher, the late actress, often remarked that fans were obsessed with her portrayal of Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Her appearance in the 1983 instalment, Return of the Jedi, certainly cemented her iconic status as one of the bra wearers of the decade. It was in fact part of a metal bikini, which the poor princess wore as she was shackled to weird space monster, Jabba the Hut. It’s the outfit that launched a thousand fantasies.
Considered one of the ultimate Hollywood bodies of the 1980s, Kim Basinger had the curves, the beauty, the hair and the height to storm straight to the top of the movie business tree. She’s played a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again and starred in the nearly X-rated erotic thriller 9 ½ weeks with Mickey Rourke. But for true Hollywood glamour and perfect bra credentials, her sultry appearance in the 1997 movie LA Confidential, ticks a lot of boxes…
1999 was a big year for actress Jennifer Coolidge and her marvellous cleavage. It might sometimes be a little crass to highlight an actress’s breasts so early in their story, but frankly, Coolidge – a fine comedy actress – very much needed her pneumatic chest for the role of the ultimate movie MILF. Her portrayal of Stifler’s Mom in the American Pie movies catapulted Jennifer into the big time. She’s starred in many big movies since and is also part of the main cast of the sitcom 2 Broke Girls.
Here’s a strange one – we’re fast-forwarding to the nearly present day, but actually going way back in time. Christina Hendricks’ stunning portrayal of the uber-PA Joan, in the acclaimed US series Mad Men, gave the 21st century TV audience a chance to hark back to the Hollywood voluptuousness of old. Joan’s curves to die for and conical bosoms reignite the New York of the late 50s/early 60s.
Historical Hollywood is chock-full of classy, bra wearers – either offering a little hint of their assets or simply exploding out of their costumes with mammarial abandon. But what of the future for the glands that were once considered some of an actress’s most important assets? Hollywood is definitely changing. Despite slipping a fair bit of ‘objectification’ in under the radar, the slap and tickle and ‘whoops there go my bloomers’ humour of old has all but disappeared.
One thing is however for certain – like it or not, the modern-day actress does need, for the most part, to have a body that she really looks after. And she will still be frequently required to authentically portray women of a bygone era. So even if she’s revelling in her interpretation of an empowered bra burner in one project, chances are she’ll be equally invested in her next role as an old time silver screen siren. Hollywood has always loved a bit of naval gazing and it’s unlikely that the cleavage gazing will ever go totally out of style.
Have you a favourite Hollywood Bombshell or a nomination for our Best Boobs in a Supporting Bra award? Let us know in the comments section.
Isla knows a good set of underwear when she sees it. Isla firmly believes that attitude and confidence are the key ingredients to looking just fabulous in your lingerie. She’s also an avid online shopper, capable of spotting a bargain at 20 paces.
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