Fashion Hazards

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Virginia Woolf once said, “It's clothes that wear us, and not we them.” As you will see, this can be downright dangerous.

  • Throughout history, cosmetics made from mercury and lead disfigured faces and sometimes poisoned people to death.
  • Hair dying, fashionable in ancient times, often resulted in total hair loss.
  • When small feet were considered aristocratic and feminine, women squeezed their feet into the smallest possible shoes, causing the bones of their feet to become twisted and deformed.
  • Tightly laced corsets made breathing and movement difficult.
  • Hoop skirts made getting through a door difficult, getting into a carriage almost impossible, and, if the wearer sat down too fast, the hoop could fly up and break her nose.
  • Layers of crinolines or hoops made falling down easy but getting up almost impossible.
  • Wearing high heels has immobilized women and resulted in bunions, corns, twisted ankles, spinal deformities, and shortened calf muscles.
  • The bustle of the 1900s, a rolled fabric attached to a woman's behind, made sitting down difficult.
  • The hobble skirt of 1915 was so narrow below the knees that it made it difficult for women to walk.
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