Life in the Lost World

the continuing saga of an opinionated vegan mom blogger and her zoo crew….

   Dec 04

Top 5 Fashion Trends (That Killed People)

We’ve heard of killer fashion, but fashion that kills? Throughout history, style trends have been responsible for the deaths of countless people. No matter how devoted to fashion you are, would you wear the latest fad if there was a possibility that it could put you six-feet-under? These guys took the gamble.

The Crinoline

Fashionable in the 19th century, the crinoline is a huge hoop skirt that looks a bit like something out of Mouse Trap. This fitted under the skirts to make them appear exceptionally wide. The steel crinoline was probably the top killer of young ladies due to its ability to send you up into the air on a gust of wind like a giant dandelion seed and sweep you out to sea, where you would consequently
drown, due to the fact that you were strapped to a metal cage. Coastal holidays were a bad idea, as well as exploring tall buildings.

Crinolines were also liable to get trapped in moving carriage wheels and crush the unfortunate lady to death. It doesn’t stop there: crinolines frequently bumped unintentionally into candles, setting the dress alight.

The Corset

The corset was designed to give women the appearance of an hourglass figure, but with the prevalence of tight lacing, women stopped being able to function properly – not only did they struggle to breathe, but they could break a rib or suffer from internal bleeding due to crushed organs. In 1903, a woman died when pieces of her steel corset impaled her heart.


Possibly the most wince-worthy of all was footbinding or ‘lotus feet.’ For a fashion trend that effectively mutilated young women, footbinding was popular between the 8 th century and the 1900s. A woman was considered almost unmarriable if she hadn’t had her feet bent back at a tender age.

First, their feet would be soaked, and then all their toes, except their big toe were folded down and the arch of the foot bent back. They would be forced to strap this down and walk around for a couple of years, with the bandages being constantly tightened, until their feet were around three inches long.

This led to lots of life-threatening complications like cut-off circulation and gangrene. It wasn’t unusual for a woman to die of footbinding-related illnesses.

The Fontange

Popular in the 17th and 18th century, the fontange was a headdress which was constructed of ribbons, lace, and a small cap, woven into the lady’s hair. As fontanges become increasingly larger, they had a nasty habit of bumping into chandeliers and setting alight.

Lead Make-Up

From the days of Ancient Greece, all the way to the early 20th century, lead-based make-up was de rigueur. You’d think they were just blissfully ignorant of the effects lead poisoning has on the human body – not true. Even in Ancient Greece, people were aware of the fact that lead could result in terrible health problems, and they teased people who caked on the foundation. Lead poisoning can lead to a whole cocktail of issues including brain damage and paralysis. What were they thinking?

About the author: This post was written by Gail Newland, a miscellaneous blogger on behalf of Pearl & Butler

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  1. Gena says:

    And there’s STILL lead in make-up! ha! This was a good read, thanks!

  2. And corsets are still around, though steel-boned ones are far less common! (Interestingly, though, the extremely high heeled shoes trend has been compared to foot-binding in some publications.)