50 Fabulous Facts About Fashion Throughout the Ages

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1Croydon Facelift

Croydon Facelift is a hairstyle in which hair is pulled back and tied up so tightly that it pulls the face tighter. Victoria Beckham wore the style on 'American Idol'. The hairstyle is also known as the ‘council house facelift’ or ‘Essex facelift’ in the United Kingdom, because of its association with “low class” women.


2. In the 1940s to 1950s, “bullet bras” became a fashion trend among women. The bras were coned-shape, stiffer, and had pointed ends. It was popularized by Hollywood actresses during those times.


3. It was unusual to wear a ‘white’ wedding dress before Queen Victoria made it fashionable.


4. Limping was a fad in Victorian England. Young women admired the genuine limp of Alexandra of Denmark, bride of the Prince of Wales. So, women went around fake limping, dubbed the “Alexandra Limp.” Shopkeepers at the time sold pairs of shoes with one high heel and one low.


5. High heels were originally worn by men. They were found to be extremely effective in keeping a horse rider’s feet in the stirrups. Then it evolved into a social status symbol and then into a fashion statement. By the 1700s, King Louis XIV began wearing high heels as a sign of status. Soon their popularity and a race for increasingly higher heels required regulation; ½ inch for commoners, 1 inch for the bourgeois, 1½ inches for knights, 2 inches for nobles, and 2½ inches for princes. Butchers also wore heeled shoes to keep them up off the pools of blood.


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6Codpiece

A codpiece (Middle English: cod, meaning “scrotum”) was a feature of 15-16th century men’s fashion, shaped and padded to emphasize the genital area. It became fashionable to design the codpiece to hold the penis in a position insinuating it was erect constantly, a statement of political and economic power.


7. During the 17th and 18th centuries for queens and couturiers alike, showing your breasts was a fashion statement, whereas showing your ankles or knees was considered a faux pas.


8. The Japanese have been wearing surgical-style masks since 1918 and it has become a part of social etiquette. It is also worn as a fashion item and serves as a defensive barrier due to social awkwardness. Total sales of disposable face masks amounted to ¥35.8 billion in 2018.


9. The concept of “Casual Fridays” began in Hawaii as “Aloha Fridays” as a way for the Hawaiian Fashion Guild to sell more Hawaiian clothing.


10. The Beastie Boys coined the term “mullet” to refer to a hairstyle in 1994 in their song “Mullet Head”. No earlier use of the term “mullet” that refers to a hairstyle has been found.


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11Bell-Bottomed Pants

Bell-bottomed pants originated as part of the uniform for the U.S. Navy. The reason they were “belled” all the way up was to allow the wearer to easily remove them in case they ended up in the sea, to use them as a flotation device.


12. Agnès Sorel, the mistress of King Charles VII of France, started the fashion trend of “front openings through which one sees the teats, nipples, and breasts of women.”


13. Wearing forbidden Western fashion, like denim, jewelry, and hair dye, is used by North Korean millennials to show their defiance of the regime, but a women’s union and youth groups monitor the streets to shame and beat rule-breakers, cutting off ponytails and destroying tight trousers.


14. A "macaroni", as mentioned in Yankee Doodle, refers to a 1700s trend wherein some men would dress up in ridiculously over-the-top clothing and speak in a gender-ambiguous manner. The name came from young men who had toured Italy referring to fashionable things as “very macaroni.”


15. After Christian Dior introduced the “New Look” fashion collection in 1947, there were several protest groups against the designs, including the “League of Broke Husbands”, made up of 30,000 men who were against the costs associated with the amount of fabric needed for such designs.


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16Jazz Fashion

Jazz helped women in the 1920s to wear looser, less restrictive clothing than the prior corsets and longer hemlines because women wanted to dance to jazz and less restrictive clothing allowed this.


17. The coat suit evolved from padding known as the doublet that protected the skin of knights from chafing by armor or chainmail. Around the 14th Century, it became fashionable for nobles to wear the doublet as an outer garment as if perhaps they had just come from the battlefield.


18. The first successful anal fistula surgery was performed on Louis XIV in 1686. Anal fistulas then became highly fashionable among his royal court, with people lining up to undergo the procedure whether they needed it or not, or placing bandages on their bums to pretend that they did.


19. A Massachusetts farmer named Joseph Palmer was attacked for having a long beard in 1830. He was imprisoned for 15 months for defending himself. He died in 1873, by which time beards became fashionable. His tombstone reads, “Persecuted for wearing the beard.”


20. Wristwatches became a fashion accessory for men only after World War 1. Until then women and men exclusively used pocket-watches. This all changed during World War 1 when many soldiers began converting their pocket watches into wristwatches for ease of use.


21End of Powdered Wigs

The fashion of wearing powdered wigs effectively ended in 1795, when the British government introduced a tax on hair powder.


22. During the Tang Dynasty in China (600s-900s A.D.), women wearing men’s clothing was a fashion trend. Normally a taboo in China, it was made acceptable by the Li Clan’s (the Imperial Family's) women, notably Princess Pingyang, who actually commanded armies during the dynasty’s foundational wars.


23. The Nazi occupation of France during World War 2 drastically changed French fashion as people worked to create fashion with goods that weren’t rationed. For example, cork was used to repair shoes after people were officially limited to only 1 shoe repair per year and leather was hard to get.


24. The word “dude” was first used in the late 1800s as an insult towards young men who were overly concerned with keeping up with the latest fashions.


25. It was common for 19th-century Victorian men to fashion clippings of their lover's pubic hair into jewelry and wear them as hat ornaments or souvenirs.

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