For as long as people have been wearing clothes, they have been deciding what to wear. People use clothes to express themselves. Everyone doesn’t love some styles, but people have always wanted to be stylish. It seems like new fashion trends are popping up all the time. Many styles that debut on the runway don’t make it into our closets because high fashion isn’t always practical.
Impractical Style Of the 18th Century
Over the years, there have been many impractical styles, but people weren’t quick to veto them. Men in the 18th century wore enormous wigs with comically small hats. Some wore heather on the top to signify sophistication or intelligence. This made it difficult to walk into a room without bending over. This didn’t stop the men from wearing the wigs, hats, and feathers.
Shoes In Ancient China
In ancient China, young girls with bound feet wore shoes to accentuate them. The shoes were designed to look like a lotus bud, and they were designed more for show than function. When girls wore the shoes, they had trouble walking. This is because their feet were permanently bent in half. The shoes affected their daily lives, but they were still popular.
Large Skirts in the Mid 19th Century
By the middle of the 19th century, women were wearing huge skirts. They had been all the rage for over 200 years, and the bigger the skirt, the more refined and prestigious the lady. The skirt first became popular during the 15th century when they were worn by Spanish women. The woman known for debuting the look was Joana of Portugal. Her bold fashion choice caught the attention of many, and some believed that she used the billowing skirt to hide an illegitimate pregnancy.
The next big thing in fashion was the pannier. It was similar to big skirts of the earlier days, but it was much more extreme. The skirts were much bigger, and they restricted the movement even more. Women didn’t care, because it was all about staying with the current fashion.
The last step in the evolution of the humongous skirt was the crinoline, and it was the most lethal. This the one piece of clothing that’s responsible for ending thousands of lives. Thanks to new fabrics that were more wearable and lightweight, the skirts were bigger and better than ever. Also, the crinoline didn’t restrict movement as much. Finally, women were able to do things in their skirts that they could never do before in their giant skirts.
Sitting and Climbing Stairs
Thanks to the crinoline fabric, women could now wear their giant skirts, and they could still sit down. A woman could sit down and always look refined and even be comfortable. This wasn’t the only perk of the new style. Before crinoline came out, women couldn’t climb stairs. Now, they could wear their huge skirts and still climb any set of stairs before them. The new fabric also helped when women attended social events. Before crinoline, attending the opera was very difficult for women in huge skirts. Getting up the stairs to their seats was almost impossible, and when the women did sit down, their dress would obstruct their view, and possibly the views of people nearby. The invention of crinoline solved these problems as well.
While crinoline made life easy for fashionable women, it also posed some serious risks. With so much fabric surrounding them at all times, there were dangerous situations everywhere. For example, candles and fireplaces were a huge concern. The layers of material were highly flammable, and the skirt was so large, it was easy for women to catch a spark and then quickly go up in flames. Women also got their giant skirts caught in wagon wheels on the street, which resulted in severe bodily injury.
While crinoline was considered to be extremely dangerous, in some ways, it came in handy. In France, women were able to use the massive amounts of fabric to smuggle goods, including gunpowder, tobacco, and alcohol across the border. The material was also helpful if a woman were to go overboard in a shipwreck. The crinoline acted as a flotation device because it is buoyant. While this style has died out over the years for typical women, it isn’t gone altogether. Sure, you won’t see a woman walking down the street wearing a gigantic skirt, but you can be sure that you will see these styles on the runway.
Fashion vs. High-Fashion
Fashion and high-fashion are two entirely different things. High fashion is something like the giant dresses of the 18th century that were very uncomfortable and very impractical. Fashion is something that you can wear every day, that fits comfortably, and something that you see hundreds of people wearing on the street.