Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wacky lifestyle trends: Insane Beauty Trends From Yesteryear!

Beauty standards and fashion trends have been around for about as long as human beings have; unfortunately so have strange and weird fads such as those here below.


World War 2 Painted Legs Trend

During World War 2 there were severe shortages of many products and textiles; women’s pantyhose included! To make up for this [shortage], many women began painting their legs to mimic the tanned appearance that nylons gave!

Scented Cone Headdresses 

In Ancient Egypt noblewomen are believed to have worn scented wax/grease cones on top of their heads to act as a type of air freshener or deodorant. How this worked is during indoor banquets or other festivities the cones would melt in the indoor heat; releasing a sweet smell (and masking body odour).

The Hobble Skirt

“Hobbling” is the term used for the act of tying an animal’s legs together to prevent it from running away. In the 20th century hobble skirts were designed with the intent to do the same thing to women!

China’s Long Fingernail Fad

During the Qing Dynasty in China, both men and women grew their nails to lengths of around 8 to 10 inches! This was done in order to indicate and symbolise the fact that they were wealthy and had servants to do literally everything for them; hence their nails being able to grow so long without breaking.

Native American Pubic Hair Pluck

When 17th century colonialists arrived in America they were quite shocked to find that Native American women had quite a painful way of ridding themselves of pubic region hair. Their solution was to simply pluck out the hair as soon as one would appear! Ouch!

15th-17th Century Chopine’s

Women of a high social standing in the 15th and 17th century wore chopine shoes to protect their dresses from mud. In that time, shoes said a lot about the status of their wearer; the higher the shoes, the higher the status. Some styles of chopine shoes would reach a whopping 50 cm in height!

1930’s Blizzard Cones

The cone above was designed in the 1930’s to protect its wearer‘s face from storms and blizzards. It had the additional benefit of also doubling up as a type of make-up guard or shield when walking on the streets or during bad weather.

Arsenic For Beauty

In the 19th century, it was considered quite fashionable to eat arsenic as a beauty treatment. It was believed to work magic with women’s complexions. I wonder how long it took them to realise that one of the serious side effect of arsenic is often death.

False Dimples

In the 1920’s, feminine dimples were in high fashion so the torturous device you see above (The Dimple Maker) was patented to give its prolonged users the desired dimples they longed for; at a very painful price of course.

Snow White Skin

In 17th century England, having skin as white as snow was all the rage. A cosmetic made up of vinegar and lead was used and it actually did whiten the skin quite substantially. However, one of the many downsides was that after some time [continued use], the ‘product’ started to cause irreversible yellowing of the skin. Queen Elizabeth I was a great fan of such cosmetics (as you could’ve probably guessed by the ultra pale appearance of her skin).

Renaissance Period - High Forehead And No Eyelashes

During the Renaissance period having an incredibly high forehead was so fashionable that the ladies of that time would shave the hair on their foreheads to create their own high hairlines; if they weren’t ‘blessed’ enough to be born with a high hairline that is. Also, since eyelashes were considered 'anti-feminine' at the time, these were naturally shaved off and plucked out as well.

17th Century Blue Vein Fad

Women in 17th century England not only wanted skin as white as snow but also blue veins, which to them (the ladies of that era) signified delicate and translucent skin. To achieve this illusion they (the women) used a blue pencil to draw veins on their necks, bosom, shoulders and sometimes even their faces!

18th Century Europe Moles

In the 18th century wearing rather copious amounts of make-up became quite fashionable throughout Europe and artificial moles/beauty marks became the ‘must have’ accessory of the time. So much so in fact that different styles/shapes of 'moles' began making an appearance. Not only this, but the shape of the mole worn, and where the wearer chose to place her mole also began to take on very distinct meanings.  Below are some of these:
*a half-moon mole was an invitation for a courtship or ‘date’
*a cupid shaped ‘mole’ signified love
*a carriage shaped ‘mole’ served as an invitation and consent for a joint escape
*a mole worn on the upper lip meant its wearer was single and available for courtship and marriage
*a mole worn on the right cheek meant that its wearer was married
*a mole worn on the left cheek signified the fact that its wearer was widowed


And there you have it; some of the strangest fads of a bygone era.

I hoped you enjoyed this piece.

Till next time,

Debbie Nel


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