I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person here who finds it hard understanding fashion. I mean, sometimes, when I look at outfits sported by models on the ramp, I wonder if I cut up a few pieces of cardboard and stuck them on my t-shirt, I’d be called a designer too. But just when I thought modern fashion was weird enough, there came these fashion trends of the past that I stumbled across on the internet. And good lord, was I in for a surprise!!
Read through these eight, uber strange fashion trends of the past, and let me know if your fist was in your mouth too.
1. The Hobble Skirt
A.k.a, the ‘speed limit skirt’. If you thought pencil fit skirts were hard to walk in, think again. This fashion statement, though short lived, is from the late 19th century and the early 20th century. The hobble skirt was a skirt intentionally designed to slow women down. A knee-long corset, along with the weird fit of the dress; were used to achieve the effect!
The hobble skirt was first designed by French fashion designer Paul Poiret back in 1910. This narrow cut hugged the legs extremely closely and clinched the ankles together. The name is derived from the device that is used to tie up the feet of horses called a ‘hobble’.
2. The Symington Bra
I’d probably wear this if I had to play the role of a man in a play or something, but definitely not something I’d wear under a pretty dress, unlike the women of the 1920’s. Step aside the hourglass and apple and pear, for it is rectangle all the way!
The Symington bra was a slip-on sort of undergarment with lace on either side of the body to tighten up. This undergarment’s property was to flatten out a woman’s breasts rather than providing them with support. The Symington side lacer was invented by corset makers R. and W.H Symington to award a woman with a boyish, rectangular figure.
3. Foot Binding
I’ve heard so many teenage girls using the catchphrase ‘Beauty before pain’, after they go get waxed, or get their eyebrows tweezed. You might want to sit down and rethink your life after you get in on this practice.
Foot binding was a prominent tradition in 18th century China, which crippled women in the name of ‘fashion’. Young girls would have their feet soaked in urine, vinegar, animal’s blood, herbs etc. Following this, her toes except the big toe, were folded underneath the foot tightly, with bandages.
The girl’s foot would be bound throughout her childhood to cripple her permanently and to make sure her feet don’t grow beyond 3 inches. These crippled feet were a symbol of status. A girl with normal feet was unfit for marriage, and only peasants had normal feet.
We’ve all seen those huge gowns and dresses women used to wear in the olden days, which made them look like they were wearing a huge decorated umbrella. The very inner garment that helped the gown stay in that position is called a crinoline.
It’s a stiffened petticoat sort of structure made of horse hair, cotton and linen. This was one of the most popular fashion trends of the mid-19th century.
5. Powdered Wigs
Have you ever wondered why elite men of the olden days, ship captains and judges alike wore long white wigs of curly hair? The tradition dates back to the 16th century. These wigs made of goat hair, horse hair or human hair were cover ups for epidemic of that period – syphilis.
These wigs were powdered such that they obtain the characteristic white or off-white tone, also, with lavender or orange scented powder to mask the odor of their diseased scalps. Soon, the trend picked up and even people with healthy scalps began sporting these wigs.
6. Egyptian Scented Cones
There is no archaeological evidence for this tradition, but wall paintings in Egyptian tombs and assumptions made by the archaeologists. It is said that this tradition dates back to 1350 BCE.
Even before perfume and deodorant came into existence, the Egyptians wore scented cones made of wax on their heads to public events and dinners etc. The heat from the Sun would melt the wax, and let out the sweet fragrance of the cone. There is another conception saying that the cones are a representation of a soul of the dead.
7. Eyebrow Shaving
Back in the days in Renaissance Florence, shaving off of the eyebrows was a popular fashion statement. Evidence of this is said to be the renowned painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘The Mona Lisa’ or ‘La Joconda’.
8. The Beehive
Marge from the Simpsons, Audrey Hepburn and Amy Wine house; what’s common amongst these three names? Their hairdos of course! Their exaggerated heads of hair (minimal in the case of Audrey) was commonly called the beehive and is a popular style from the 1960’s.
Back combing is the technique used to achieve this look. Although prominent a few decades ago, women still do sport one of these weird fashion trends of beehive now and then to parties and dinners etc.