A trip to the city can be an eye opener, looking around, you are likely see: a few punks with Mohawks lounging by a fountain, a gaggle of Goths and Emos haunting the shadows and at least a few ladies who are seriously channeling Barbie dolls; tottering around on sky-high heels and flicking back their peroxide mane. Fashion is strange and it seems it has been that way from way back. Hold on tight, while we take a fashion foray, back in time.
Decked out in your Birthday Suit
Children in Ancient Egypt, didn't wear clothes until they were at least 6 years of age, and often not till the early teens. If this wasn't bad enough, both boys and girls sported the same hair do, where the head was completely shaved except for a single long plait called 'the lock of youth'. At puberty the strange plait thingy, was cut off and boys wore their hair short, or shaved and girls could grow the hair long.
The ancient Romans used to weave asbestos into cloth to make head dresses and clothing. When the clothes got dirty, they would simply throw the dirty garment into the fire for cleaning. When the clothing cooled, it was ready to wear again! The famous historian Pliny the Elder however, did note the "sickness of the lung" that afflicted the poor slaves who worked in the asbestos mines and how they died young. (How we deal with asbestos today)
During the 15th century and especially around the time when the knights galloped off to the crusades, chastity belts were available for both males and females. The purpose of these fearsome looking steel accessories, was protection from molestation, temptation and er......masturbation. In Austria in 1889, a leather-and-iron belt was found on the skeleton of a young woman, who had been buried in the 16th century.
A Chastity Belt
Today many women routinely expose their mammaries in the name of fashion, however in the 15th century the mistress to Charles VII of France, Agnès Sorel, began the fashion for décolleté gowns, where the breasts were completely exposed. This rage continued into the16th century throughout all classes of society. In England in the 17th century, Queen Mary II and Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England were painted with their breasts exposed. However as the Victorian Era snuck in, the pendulum swung the other way toward prudery and breasts were not even mentioned. (Picture Mary II of England)
Crazy Welsh Hat
I have to include the crazy, comical national dress of Wales, because I was stunned when I first saw it. I can't image putting on one of those silly high hats for any reason!
On the beach these day you are likely to see women in skimpy string bikinis and guys in boardies. Back in the 19th century however, if you wanted to take a dip, you had to be rigged out if a special dress, which made sure that all the most titillating parts of the skin were covered. In Australia there were even laws governing the wearing of swimsuits, which were commonly called 'neck to knees'. (Bathing suit 1858)
Flared Trousers of the 1970s
The 1970s was a crazy fashion epoch; there were really too many fashion crazies to mention. However the most notable was the flared trouser, which was often worn with a high heel chunky shoe by both men and women. Crazy!
As can be seen fashion has had a history of being interesting to say the least!