We’ve all done some questionable things in the name of fashion and beauty – shoulder pads, vampire facials and shell-suits all spring to mind.
But we’re not the first generation to have tried out some weird and wacky looks. Here are some of history’s strangest fashion and beauty trends – let’s just hope they never come back into style.
Big, bold wigs became du jour when France’s King Louis XIII started to go bald. His penchant for wigs was soon taken up by courtiers who followed his example and made big, fluffy white periwigs all the rage. They were soon so ensconced in the culture that you had to wear one to move up in society and as the years rolled on, they became more and more elaborate.
Forget sprays, the Egyptians had their own idea for keeping the smell of sweat away. As well as bathing in scent, it’s been suggested that they wore cones made out of scented animal fat on top of their heads. As the fat melted, it is said to have run in fragrant trails down the person’s face and body. It’s also rumoured that they used this method to create the first ever deodorant.
Make-up to die for
Queen Elizabeth I wasn’t a big fan of make-up until a bout with smallpox left her with facial scars in 1562. That’s when she started to really pile the heavy, white powder on – unfortunately back then, it was made with lead and vinegar which slowly poisoned her to death.
Our love of sugar isn’t new – the rich ladies of the Tudor period had a sweet tooth too. Only the rich could afford such a luxury back then so some women would blacken their teeth on purpose to give the impression that they ate lots of the white stuff.
Before crinolines or hoops under skirts there were panniers. Worn by a young Marie Antoinette (until she scandalised society by switching to a simpler way of dressing), and taking their name from the wicker baskets slung on the back of donkeys, panniers were narrow but extremely wide skirt supports. In fact they were so big that women were unable to sit down properly in one and had to enter a door sideways.
Around the 1800s-1900s, the trend for super-starched and stiff collars was actually a health hazard. They were so sharp they actually cut men’s ears and so tight that they would slowly cut off circulation to the brain. Brings a new meaning to popping your collar…
Throughout the 15th century, it was all the rage for aristocratic women to not only pluck out all of their eyebrows, but to pluck hair from the hairline to give a more prominent forehead. Ouch.