The Greeks of antiquity were the first to make breastplates that looked like the male chest. They did not provide as much protection as the chest armor that came later, but they had many advantages. Enemies were intimidated by warriors who looked like they were going into battle with muscular, naked chests and leather cuirasses are literally better than nothing. The classic leather cuirass was eventually made in bronze – for example, the lorica musculata later used as armor by Roman officers. In the Middle Ages, this idea was revived and implemented in iron and other rigid metals.
Breastplates made of boiled leather were very popular, and our leather cuirass is an example of this type of breastplate. It is made by molding hot, wet leather to a chest form while it is still flexible. After the leather dries, it keeps its shape. The resulting leather cuirass is a hard shell that looks like a chest with very well-defined muscles.