There have been many weird and even terrifying fashions in the history of mankind. After many years, although there are still some strange fashion trends in our era, they are not as inconvenient or even harmful as those fashions before. Next, I will introduce to you.
Some confusing fashions have appeared in human history.
No woman in the world will tell you that she doesn’t want to have a slim waist. However, having a tiny waist is not a new fashion trend. Considered by many to be one of the most dangerous fashion trends, the corset restricted women’s breathing which often led to fainting. However, fainting wasn’t the worse thing that could happen to a woman trying to keep pace with fashion at the time.
If you thought those heels you wore at the last formal party you attended were quite a struggle then you probably can’t imagine having your feet in these! The unusual-looking platform shoes known as chopines were fashionable in 16th-century Venice among patrician and courtesan women.
They were initially designed to help the wearer’s feet cross muddy and damp streets without getting wet, and the tallest chopines suggested that the wearer was one of very great wealth and social status. Some surviving chopines came to be about 20 inches (50 cm) high! Sometimes one needed an attendant to keep her from falling due to the soaring height of the shoe.
While the world is indebted to ancient China for some great inventions including printing, papermaking, gunpowder, and the compass, the foot-binding practice or ‘lotus feet’ doesn’t sound like one of their best ideas. Reportedly foot binding can be traced back to the time of Emperor Li Yu and was inspired by a court dancer named Yao Niang who bound her feet into the shape of a new moon and performed a dance, ballet-like, on the points of her feet on the lotus.
This agonizing process typically occurred from the ages of four until nine and the way that this was achieved was by breaking the bones in the feet and shaping them in such a way that they resembled hooves. Death by infection occurred often, and if you didn’t get killed by infections, you would surely have to suffer many medical problems throughout your lifetime. Despite this, the Chinese also invented the compass, so let’s head back again to 19th century Europe to meet with another dangerous fashion trend.
Stiff high collar
Invented in the 19th century, the stiff high collar is proof that men also risked their lives to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Nicknamed the “father killer,” this fashion trend proved to be fatal in many cases since it could cut off the blood supply to the carotid artery.
This fashion accessory meant that men didn’t have to change their shirt every day, but on the other hand, it meant risking one’s life. In 1888, the New York Times reported on a man called John Cruetzi who had been found dead in the park, “the Coroner thought that the man had been drinking, had seated himself on a bench and fell asleep. His head dropped over on his chest and then his stiff collar stopped the windpipe” and in this case, the blood flow was also restricted, “causing death to ensue from asphyxia and apoplexy.”
Having a long neck is often seen as a sign of beauty by the Kayan people in Burma. To achieve this, they wear neck rings from as young as age two. The neck rings eventually place sufficient pressure on the clavicles, causing them to deform and create an impression of a longer neck. Wearing the neck rings can be extremely painful, and it can permanently deform the body of the wearer.
While today neck rings are a rarity, they were extremely popular and expensive fashion items. Some women still wear rings but mostly for practical, commercial reasons since many tourists come to the area to take a picture with these ‘giraffe women.’
Lead face paint
If you had a look at this painting of Queen Elizabeth I, you would probably wonder why her face is so white. The answer is that it was the latest beauty trend of its time. This fashion trend was considered to be a symbol of wealth and beauty, while the tanned skin was a symbol of low social class.
To achieve this look, many people used lead face paint which is toxic and can severely damage the skin. It would cause some more serious problems too, including headaches, hair loss, stomach problems, rotting teeth, paralysis, and even death.
In the southeastern parts of China, the Pacific Islands, Japan, and Southeast Asia, black teeth were a symbol of health, beauty, and aristocratic status in the early 200s AD. Tooth blackening, known as "ohaguro" in Japan, meant that one had to drink an iron-based black dye to achieve this lovely look. They often added cinnamon to the resin to reduce the harsh chemical taste of the color.
This procedure commonly caused severe reactions due to the chemical ingredients used to blacken the teeth. However, on February 5, 1870, the government in Japan banned the practice of ‘ohaguro,’ and the process gradually became obsolete.
Crinolines were a huge fashion statement in the 19th century and early 20th century and worn by every social class. They were designed to replace the heavy petticoats of earlier periods with a more lightweight alternative, making it more comfortable for the wearer and providing more mobility, and removing the need for tight corsets. They look beautiful (aside from looking like anyone wearing them would have to pass sideways through narrow doors) but crinolines were quite dangerous.