24 Formerly Cool Fashion Trends That Are Just Weird • MetDaan

24 Formerly Cool Fashion Trends That Are Just Weird


When you look at fashion shows today, most of the time you think, “What the hell are they thinking? Who on Earth, who isn’t a contractually obligated model, would choose to wear a monstrosity like that?” And then you heave a disappointed sigh, and start worrying about what the world is coming to and how could the future possibly be bright.

However, weird fashion trends are nothing new. They’ve been around since the dawn of time. Well maybe not that far back, but certainly from the times when clothing was invented. What’s considered to look cool has changed a lot over the centuries. Did you know that at one time it was beautiful to have black teeth? Or that drawn-on veins were the hype in France at one point? Yes, I know, people are strange. So if you ever feel like following your passion for fashion, and people make fun of you, don’t worry. You’re just continuing the longest tradition of them all: daring to look ridiculous.

Now then, let’s make a journey through time and mock… I mean, meet some of the craziest fashionable looks in the history of human kind.

1. The “Natural” Look

In the 1800s, Queen Victoria proclaimed that makeup was indecent. Perhaps she was hoping that this prohibition would inspire young women to be more productive. That they would stop being so shallow and worrying about their looks all the time, and that they would do something useful, like having babies. Her plan didn’t work, however, because the girls started to pinch their cheeks and bite their lips to give them colour. We can sort of relate to this, though. After all, it’s similar to the practice of posting photos of yourself looking “natural” when in fact you have a healthy dose of no-makeup makeup on.


Source: Classroom

2. Ancient Mullets

Mullets have been around much longer than the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. In fact, they were mentioned by the Byzantine scholar, Procopius, in the 6th century. Back then young men were in the habit of cutting their hair short in the front and leaving it long in the back, and this trend was known as  “the Hunnic look.”


Source: CelebrityStan

3. Bombasting

In the second half of the 16th century, period known as the Elizabethan era, the height of fashion were the “bombasted” clothes. Basically, people, both men and women, used bombast, which was made of rags, cotton, horse hair, or bran, to stuff their clothes. This way they got wonderful “leg of mutton” sleeves, perfect massive thighs, and attractive large bellies. This last one was for men only.


4. Paper Dresses

The 1960s were crazy years for many reasons, and not least because of the appearance of the new trend of wearing paper clothes. It all began in 1966, with the release of a set of paper dresses by the Scott Paper Company. The fad took off from there, and different kinds of paper clothing were available, including vests, underwear, bridal gowns and even bikinis!


Source: Emily Pollock

5. Chopines

If one high heel per shoe is not enough why not try wearing two? In the beginning these kind of shoes were worn by the women of Venice around 16th-17th century and they had a practical purpose. Namely, women wanted to avoid getting wet in the puddles of water on the streets, so a shoe with a raised sole was the logical solution. However, all hell broke loose when they started competing for the tallest shoes. The height of the chopines became a status symbol, and some of them even reached up to 20 inches (50cm)!


6. Veins

In Pre-Revolution France it was very important to have pale skin. And how best to show that your skin is extremely pale? Well, colour in your veins of course. Just like women today fill in their eyebrows, French ladies in the 18th century drew in the veins on their bosoms. This may be where the term “bluebloods” comes from.


Source: history.com

7. The Bliaut

The bliaut was very popular in the 12th century. This overgarment was used by both men and women. It had billowy skirts, horizontal pleating in the underbust region, and really long sleeves. And I mean, really long sleeves. They reached all the way down to the ground and were so inconvenient, that the only things women could do while wearing the bliaut was either embroidery or needlework…


8. Flattened Heads

In science you may have heard about it under the name of “artificial cranial deformation.” What it means in simpler terms is that people tied bandages on their heads to flatten them out… Apparently, this fashion was widely spread, as it was present around 300 AD in European East-Germanic tribes, as well as in South America where it was practiced by the Mayan and the Inca. And it’s still occasionally practiced today! Surprisingly, it seems that it doesn’t have negative health effects…


Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Macaroni

Macaroni was a trend present in mid-18th century. It included wearing fancy shoes, brightly coloured stockings and a wig with a feather on top. So that’s what the song means when it says that Yankey Doodle “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni…”


Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Ruffs

The ruffs were another fashion popular in the Elizabethan era. They were elaborate rings of fabric that people used to wear around their necks. But Queen Elizabeth I took the trend to another level, and metal supports and starching were used to keep the ruffs in shape.


Source: Nicholas Hillard

11. Crakowes

The greatest trip hazard in the history of the world was the crakowe, also known as poulaine. These shoes with their 24 inch (60cm) long toes were the height of fashion among the aristocracy in the late 1300s. However, they were not universally loved. In fact, they were so hated by the more deeply religious people that they were even called “the devil’s fingers.”


Source: Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS

12. Ohaguro

In Japan, ohaguro was most popular from the Heian period to the Meiji era. Ohaguro meant dying your teeth black. This was achieved by using a dye made by dissolving iron filings in vinegar. Apparently, anything that was pitch black was considered beautiful. But it was not only beautiful, it was also practical because the dye protected the teeth from decay.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. Panniers

The name “pannier” comes from the French term for “basket.” They were enormous skirt hoops that served to showcase the design of the dress and also as a status symbol. Of course, they caused the ladies some minor inconveniences. For example, they couldn’t fit through doors or pass people on the street, but everything’s worth it for fashion.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

14. Hobble Skirts

From one extreme to the other: hobble skirts were so tight that they cinched the ankles so closely that walking was really difficult. This trend was popular in the early 1900s.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. More black teeth

Sugar was very popular in the Elizabethan era, but it was also very expensive. Those who could afford it had big dental problems. The best example was the Queen herself. She loved sugar so much, that she had a serious case of rotten teeth. And for a while, having black teeth meant you were rich enough to afford sugar, so women used to blacken their teeth on purpose. Luckily, this trend didn’t last long.

Vanessa Redgrave

16. Powdered wigs

We always see people wearing wigs in all the historical movies, but we don’t know why. The powdered wigs were most popular in the 16th century. In the same period there was an outbreak of syphilis. And probably there is a connection between the two. As it is suggested by Thomas Nashe in his Pierce Penilesse, His Supplication to the Divell, people probably wore these sweet-smelling wigs to cover the baldness and the odor brought on by the illness.


Source: Emily Pollock

17. The Symington Side Lacer

This is basically the polar opposite of today’s Wonder Bra. In 1920s, it was important for women to have flat chests, so this contraption was designed to ensure that.


Source: The Smithsonian

18. The Codpiece

The codpiece in the beginning was meant to guard men’s modesty from the ever-rising hemlines. However, soon it was used to put emphasis on men’s… men parts. The codpiece in the 15th and 16th centuries could be made from cloth, wood, or even metal.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Zebellinis

The fashion obsession for 15th and 16th century Italy was fur. Especially the zibellino, a wrap made from an ermine, sable, or martin pelt. Naturally, with the head still attached. And sometimes decorated with gold and jewels.


20. Nail Guards

In China, in the times of the Qing dynasty (1912-1949) it was fashionable to have long nails. This trend was common for the nobility, and both men and women used to wear long, decorative nail guards to protect their nails.


Source: The Legend of Zhen Huan

21. Long Hair

Keeping your hair really, really long is still in vogue today in some parts of the world. But in the Huangluo Village in Guilin Province, China, women cut their hair only on their 16th birthday. The average hair length for the village is 5’6″ (1.7m)!


22. Unibrow

The unibrow in Classical Greece was a sign of a woman’s intelligence and beauty. The most desirable unibrow was the one that barely meets in the middle. However, women who weren’t lucky enough to have their own natural unibrow wore “wigs” made of goat hair!


Source: BeautifulWithBrains

23. More eyebrows

Throughout the history of China, there have been some really wacky eyebrow trends. Take the Tang dynasty for example. It definitely is the period with the quickest succession of fashion changes ever. Take a look at this picture! Especially at the year 803…


Source: lilsuika

24. Arsenic Dresses

We know that makeup sometimes contains really dangerous substances, like lead, but the history of poison in fashion doesn’t start there. In the 18th century, the bright green dresses that were much beloved by women, contained alarming amounts of arsenic. In fact, the ladies who wore them most of the time got arsenic poisoning. And don’t think this was done out of ignorance: the knowledge that arsenic could be used as a murder weapon was widely spread.


From: providr

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