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Weird Fashion From History

May 26, 2016
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If fashion is a cycle, where exactly have these amazing sartorial efforts been in recent centuries? From spooky and spectacular, to those that should have come with a safety warning, the history books are rife with fashion trends so outlandish, they put Gaga’s wardrobe weirdness to shame. Here’s a few that may or may not deserve another rotation on the runway.

Beak Chic
Travelling plague doctors in the 17th and 18th centuries wore masks with huge hollow beaks which they stuffed with straw, herbs and other pretty smelling things because foul odours were believed to spread disease. Even if the science is a little shoddy, and the aesthetic value a thing of nightmares, at least these quacks knew how to sport a sharp silhouette.

Verdict: Cold and flu viruses are becoming nastier year after year and we’d do well to keep our sniffles contained.

Flouncy Frocks
The premise of the first crinoline was sensible enough: the hooped cage was a lighter, cooler alternative to the heavy petticoats that ladies wore to create voluminous skirts. But when it reached the grandiose diameter of six feet, practicality gave way to peril. Crinoline-related injury ranged from entanglement in carriage wheels and fences, to catching gusts of wind and being toppled over – smart women steered clear of piers and cliffs. But most grisly of all was when thousands of people perished in a church fire when the panicked crinoline-wearing members of the congregation became jammed in the only exit.

Verdict: Paying the oversized baggage fees for six foot hoops that want to kill us? Nah.

Stuffy Gentlemen
Men were faking voluptuousness long before the pre-pubescent girls of our day. Bombasting was a 16th century trend which involved stuffing sleeves, shoulders and shirtfronts with cotton, wool, horsehair and sawdust to create exaggerated leg-of-mutton limbs and portly bellies.

Verdict: We’ll pass on the sawdust and horsehair. We’re all for a ‘comfortable’ figure, but let’s get there the delicious non-allergy-triggering way.

The Padded Posterior
Thankfully, the bustle came along in the mid-nineteenth century to drive out the deadly crinoline. A small midsection was still favourable at the time, and the bustle’s way of creating the hourglass illusion was to ramp up the rear end. The underskirt contraption directed all its oomph towards the back, where it gains plenty of perky posterior points from us.

Verdict: The Victorian’s answer to ‘bootilicious’ – zero squats (or butt implants) required. Sold!

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