Fashion Through Time: 40 Fabulous Facts That Define the Eras

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1Casual Fridays

Casual Fridays

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.”

5. 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.

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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.”

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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11Long Beard

Long Beard

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.”

12. 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.

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

14. 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.

15. 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.

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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.

17. 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.

18. In pre-War Germany, it was considered fashionable and a status symbol for young men to have a scar on their left cheek from dueling with swords.

19. Powdered wigs became fashionable after King Henry Louis XIII started using them to hide his premature balding and this trend became associated with the high class because the king was wearing them.

20. In Western dress codes, technically a black-tie event is still only ‘semi-formal’, as a full formal dress is ‘white-tie’, which for men requires a coat with tails.

21Lightning Rod Fashion

Lightning Rod Fashion

In 1778 lightning rods were the height of fashion in Paris, being included in hats, umbrellas, and the like.

22. In medieval times, women’s hairstyles showed if they were single or married. Married women would have kept their long hair tied up in braids beneath a head covering of some sort. Single women allowed their hair to fall freely over their bodies signalling that they were available for marriage.

23. Caca Dauphin was a fashion craze that was based on the poop color of Marie Antoinette’s son. It was fashionable to spend thousands of dollars to dress in the particular shade of brown the young prince excreted.

24. The inventor of Velcro took 20 years to take his idea from concept to production and even then the apparel industry wasn’t sold on it. It wasn’t until NASA came along asking about it for use in space that the fashion industry then went wild due to it now being space-aged.

25. The “Grecian Bend” was an effect of the extremes of women’s fashion in the 1860s where the combination of heels and material caused women to tilt, or bend, forward.

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