17 Numbers That Explain Our Fascination With Cleavage

Breasts have many functions that aren’t sexy in the least. Cleavage, however, has been seductive since the beginning of time (or, say, 5,000 years ago). Here are 17 numbers from cleavage’s history that prove the world has always been agape and in awe of the gaping phenomenon.


Number of years ago that Minoan women wore a cupless corset-like garment made of fabric bands that supported breasts while exposing them entirely.


The year Dolly Madison’s low-cut gowns—including a velvet one she wore to the inauguration of her husband, President James Madison—stirred controversy; critics called her style too regal. Madison was raised a Quaker and made to dress modestly, and when she left the faith, she embraced flimsy, revealing clothes, according to her nieces.


The number of scenes the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (also called the Hays Office) cut from the 1943 film *The Outlaw * for indecently exposing Jane Russell’s cleavage.

outlaw cleavage

Actress Jane Russell features on Italian poster by Marino for the movie ‘The Outlaw’, titled ‘Il mio corpo ti scalder‡’, 1943. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

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Year the Hays Office coined the term “cleavage” to describe décolletage.


Decade underwire bras replaced the conical designs of the ’40s, after the end of World War II freed up metal for domestic use. Lower necklines also became stylish, and, accordingly, Christian Dior produced a line of costume jewelry specifically to enhance the d´colletage.


Estimated age in years of a padded bra found in storage at the Science Museum in London, making it the world’s oldest push-up bra.


Number of Wonderbras sold every 15 seconds in the United States and Europe in 1994. The padded bra was a revival of a 1964 design.

wonderbra cleavage