Bright Side

12 Impressive Facts About Outfits and Accessories That Show Them From a Different Angle

Men who complain about the expenses for their girlfriends’ or wives’ clothing should know that these expenditures are nothing compared to the money they would have had to spend in the 19th century. Until the moment these women’s clothing styles were simplified in the 20th century and the opportunity to proportionally increase or decrease the patterns appeared, it was almost impossible to buy ready-made clothing. At the same time, men’s and kid’s clothes started to be sold freely in 1898, when the first shops were opened in Belgium.

Bright Side believes that the absence of the need to spend a lot of money for the individual tailoring of clothes is a good reason to reward yourself with a new outfit. While our 12 interesting facts about clothes and accessories will probably help you figure out what item you want to get.

Inuit women were wearing thongs in the 19th century.

It was in the 20s of the 20th century that thongs appeared for the first time in the civilized world. They were worn by American dancers. However, the first fashion-mongers who used thongs in the 19th century were Inuit women. They called this item ’naatsit’ and they were made of seal pelt and decorated with beads. Oftentimes, this piece of fur was the only thing on their body when welcoming guests and relatives.

Howard Hughes might have been a good engineer and might’ve constructed planes, but he totally failed when trying to create a bra.

When financial tycoon, aircraft engineer, and director Howard Hughes decided to shoot the movie The Outlaw (1943), Jane Russell became the main starlet of the film. Or to be exact, it was her breasts that were the star of the show. There were so many scenes where the camera stopped on the neckline of the actress, that Howard Hughes decided to develop a bra for her that was meant to enhance her natural beauty even more.

However, creating lingerie was more difficult than constructing airplanes. When Hughes came up with his first underwire push-up and brought it to the actress, it turned out to be terribly uncomfortable. But Jane Russell decided not to disagree with the wealthy and powerful director and would secretly wear her own underwear and just adjust the bra straps. She didn’t confess this until 42 years later.

It was Louise Poirier who finally created a comfortable push-up bra in 1964.

The First World War partially contributed to the rejection of corsets.

Corsets were a beautiful, but barbaric, invention from the time of Catherine de’ Medici, who introduced a ban on a wide waist in her court. They caused breathing problems in women, and squeezed internal organs, displacing and damaging them. Women who wore corsets suffered from indigestion, frequent fainting, and even internal bleeding.

The first patent for a bra was issued to Mary Phelps Jacob in 1914. While wearing this underwear, the woman was able to do anything. During the same year, the First World War broke out, there was a lack of metal, and 3 years later, women were told to stop using hard female corsets for the sake of more comfortable bras. Thanks to this, as many as 28,000 tons of metal were preserved for the construction of 2 ships.

Men were also victims of fashion.

Removable stiff collars for men that were supposed to be changed daily, instead of wearing a fresh shirt every day, appeared in the 19th century. However, this comfortable at first glance invention turned out to be dangerous: because of their stiffness, the collars could cut off blood flow to the carotid artery and lead to death.

It looked pretty innocent from the side: a gentleman would come to a club, have a couple of glasses of wine or any other drink, and start to nod his head and place it on his chest. When those around him noticed that something was wrong it was usually too late — the fashionable accessory had pinched the neck and killed the person.

Accessories in the shape of a stiff neck ring were a sign of distinction and a means of payment.

The neck ring was usually made of precious metals. Oftentimes, it didn’t have any buckle but sometimes it could be fastened with hooks or rings. Neck rings were often decorated with gems and were worn by people in many nations: Scythians, Sarmatians, Romans, Slavs, Scandinavians, and Thracians.

Oftentimes torc (that’s what Romans called it) was given as a sign of distinction and high status. This jewelry was worn by both women and men. Since it was stiff, it was not easy to remove it. Some torcs were found chopped into pieces, which indicated that sometimes they were used instead of money.

It was Mark Twain who invented the fastener on a bra.

Samuel L. Clemens, the real name of the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, didn’t just have a talent when it came to literature. Tired of using uncomfortable suspenders, he patented an adjustable belt for tightening shirts at the waist in 1871. It was fastened with buttons and subsequently was also used for underwear pants and ladies’ corsets.

The clasp with hooks is still used in female bras today.

Anklets used to be worn on both legs and were connected with a chain.

Anklets, which are bracelets for your legs, were worn by Egyptian women and the residents of Sumer. However, it was in India where they were most popular.

In South-Eastern Asia, anklets used to be worn on both legs and connected with a chain. That’s how women were taught to walk using short “feminine” steps.

When the raw materials for women’s stockings started to be used for making parachutes, women began riots.

Nylon was created in 1939 by the DuPont company which started to produce nylon stockings that became really popular among women: about 4 million pairs were sold per day. However, the Second World War started and the DuPont plant was converted in order to produce parachutes and aircraft cords from nylon. It caused so-called nylon riots among women, when up to 4,000 ladies were standing in line to buy stockings. Those who couldn’t get the item, drew the seam lines on their legs to create the semblance of stockings.

If wealthy women didn’t have maids, men’s and women’s clothes would be fastened on one side.

Buttons were originally only used for the purpose of decoration. During the Middle Ages, they were so expensive that there was a law that dictated how many buttons a person could wear, depending on their status. At those times, one could even pay a debt by tearing off one of these precious things from their clothing.

Even noble lords, as a rule, used to put on their clothes themselves, while maids helped the women to get dressed. And it was for the men’s convenience that the clasp was placed on the right side. This is the secret of why women’s things are fastened to the left, and men’s things to the right.

Earrings were worn by sailors who crossed the equator.

In the ancient world, an ear was often pierced and an earring was inserted into the puncture site as a sign of slavery. And initially, they were worn by both men and women.

Later, earrings started to be considered exclusively ladies’ jewelry. But apart from ladies, they were also worn by sailors who sailed across the Earth and crossed the equator.

Regarding pirates, it’s not known for certain how they looked. There is a suggestion that the earrings and headbands on pirates are fictional (made up by Howard Pyle), a painter from the 19th century. He was asked to draw illustrations with pirates for a children’s book, and he copied them from Spanish bandits and peasants. That’s how pirates started to wear earrings, headbands, and wide fabric belts.

Shiny lapels on smoking jackets were there to make it easier to shake off the ashes.

Smoking jackets, which are now used as evening wear, were invented in the second half of the 19th century as an everyday outfit. The Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII, started to wear a smoking jacket so that the smell of smoke and ashes wouldn’t spoil his expensive tail-coat. His courtiers followed his example. In order to make it easier to remove ashes from his smoking jacket, its lapels were often made of a shiny smooth fabric, like silk.

After some time, smoking jackets that were meant for wearing at home started to be worn in public by the New York elite. That’s how they gradually turned from a men’s home garment into eveningwear.

People who made hats involuntarily became “mad hatters.”

“I am a little person...” said the Mad Hatter lamentably, in Lewis Carroll’s book, while standing in front of the king and fearfully biting off a piece of a cup instead of a sandwich. Though there is a suggestion that the author got the image of this character from an eccentric furniture seller, symptoms like tremors, increased self-doubt, depression, apathy, and pathological timidity were a feature of other hatters.

The fact is that from the 17th century to almost the middle of the 20th century, the manufacturing process of felt hats included the use of mercury. It led to the fact that people who worked in these factories developed a disorder called erethism, or mad hatter disease, and they would suffer from hallucinations and muscle spasms.

Have you ever become a victim of fashion while wearing stilettos or skinny jeans that were too tight? Which items from your wardrobe can you not imagine living without and which ones are you ready to ditch right away?

Preview photo credit SeshatDatabank / Twitter