There were some pretty horrific fashion trends in the past. From corsets to poisonous dresses to high collars. These trends were all hazardous and life threatening.
These figure deforming contraptions caused women’s internal organs to be squashed. These could also make women unable to have children. However, women continued to wear them as a tiny waist was desirable.
Some had waists that were only about 16 inches, for example Elisabeth, Empress of Austria. This was due to a corset and girdle that was especially designed to create a ‘wasp waist’ look.
Most women had an average waist size (while in a corset) of 20-23 inches.
These hoop-like skirts were very restrictive. Not only were they made of rough materials, they also proved to be dangerous around fire. Many women would misjudge the space around them and would move closer than they should to the fire or oven. A lot of women died, or were seriously injured, due to fire related incidents.
3) Beautiful Green Dresses from the Victorian Era.
The dress may look beautiful, but in reality it is incredibly dangerous. This colour was very popular, however it came at a high price…physical deformities (or even death). The reason why: The dye to colour the dresses included arsenic. The dress and garment dyers were at high risk from arsenic poisoning. Surprisingly the garment makers suffered more than the actual wearers.
In the 1800s, factories tried to save money by using the same shoe last for both feet. This means there were no left or right feet. This must have been incredibly uncomfortable.
5) Foot Binding
In China, the smaller the feet the better. Small feet were seen as beautiful and feminine. The feet would be folded, cracking the bones and then wrapped in bandages or binding. This made it painful for the women to walk. Special shoes were made, however they would still end up hobbling around. Foot binding started in the 11th-12th Century and didn’t stop until the early 20th Century. Death could be a result due to infection caused by breaking the bones.
6) Hats (in the 18th and 19th Century).
Mercury was used to produce hats. The people making the hats were mostly affected as the mercury caused high amounts of metal to enter their system. Dementia was often an outcome of being a hatter – this is where the saying ‘mad as a hatter’ came from.
7) Stiff Collars
Having a stiff collar was very popular in the 19th Century. The reason for this was because it showed off strong jawlines. Problem? These collars could slowly choke you to death. Apparently these collars were so starched and strong that it acted as a guillotine when one young man tripped getting of a streetcar.
8) Pale Skin
Back in the day, many women (and men) craved pale skin. Having tanned skin meant that you worked outside and were not nobility or well off. In order to get pale skin, people would use lead makeup on their face and neck. This makeup caused damage to their skin, so users would just put more of this makeup to cover the damage. Not only did it damage their skin, it also caused severe headaches, nausea, insomnia and brain damage etc. People ended up dying due to chronic lead poisoning.
Queen Elizabeth I contracted small pox in her late 20s and ended up with severely marked skin on her face. In order to get a white, clear complexion again, she used a popular makeup called ceruse (lead and white vinegar).
9) High Heels
High heels can damage your feet, legs and spine. Because the weight of your foot will be balanced on your toes, this means that you need to walk in a way that is different to normal. Wearing very high heels can cause your calf muscle to shorten (I think) and can also shorten the Achilles tendon, making it very painful to go back to flat shoes again.
This has made me scared! I like wearing high heels. Maybe I should take a break from them..
10) Heavy Handbags
Heavy handbags slung over your shoulder can cause back and shoulder pain. Carrying heavy bags can cause your back to dis-align.