Monday 7 September 2009

101 Fashion Crimes from the Past

There are fashions that get more and more extreme until they vanish in a puff of smoke.
Hair gets higher and higher, crinolines get wider and wider - you get the picture. But you wonder how people lived with some of these. A dance dress so long that you had to pick up the skirt and hold it over your arm? Ah well, what fools these mortals be, as Shakespeare pointed out.

1. Leg o’ mutton sleeves 1830s, 1890s, 1930s Sometimes called gigot sleeves - that's French for leg of mutton.
2. Big hair and hats 1910s These huge dos were constructed over pads made of the wearer's own hair. You kept the combings from your (waist-length) hair in a "hair-tidy", and made it into what were called "rats". Lovely! There's a discussion about similar devices here at
2. Big hair 1770s The heroine of the novel Evelina describes having her hair curled and done up over a cushion that sat on the top of her head – and then covered with white powder. I don't know why this hairstyle is blamed on Madame de Pompadour. This is Marie Antoinette.
3. Beehive 1960s Terrible tales were told of women who never took their hair down and ended up playing host to some six-legged friends. The same stories were told of ladies from the 18th century. Early 60s hairstyles were ludicrously labour-intensive - the setting on rollers, drying and then back-combing took hours.
4. Crinolines reached new breadths in the 1860s.

5. Panniers 18th century They're called after the saddlebags you use on your bicycle (or horse or donkey). You end up with a skirt shaped like the back of a sofa.

6. Platform shoes 1970s (and 16th cent Venice). Groovy!

7. Corsets made waists smaller and smaller from the 1830s on.

8. Miniskirts 1960s I know they’ve been back several times, but they've never been so short as in the late 60s. You had to adopt a new way of sitting – knees together, feet apart. If you dropped anything you had to curtsey to pick it up again. And you couldn't bend over at all.

9. Trains Late 19th century You draped them over your arm when you danced. Sometimes they had a loop on the hem that you put your little finger through. You also had to cope with a reticule hanging from your wrist.

10. Stiletto heels and pointy toes 1960s, early 00s, 15th century. Will they never learn?

11. Who wears short shorts? Boys' shorts, or "short trousers" were originally teamed with thick wool stockings, and came right down to the knee. In the 60s/70s, when girls’ shorts became tiny, prep school boys’ shorts did too and the poor things suffered from hypothermia.

12. Opera-length gloves In the late 1800s, shoulder-length kid gloves were worn with evening dress. At dinner, you removed the hand bit and tucked it into the arm bit. Their status was defined by the number of buttons.

Do we know better now? Here are some modern fashion crimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment