10 Interesting fashion facts
Everyone knows that Coco Chanel invented the little black dress, but did you know that it was Mark Twain who invented the clasp at the back of your bra? It’s true! The man that brought you Huckleberry Finn was the same guy who invented and patented the hook-and-eye fastener for “vests, pantaloons, or other garments requiring straps”. If that little fact took you by surprise, read on, because we’ve got ten more fascinating facts about fashion that you probably didn’t know.
1. Napoleon Bonaparte made a major contribution to fashion
Have you ever wondered why you have buttons on the sleeves of your jackets that don’t appear to have any practical purpose whatsoever? Napoleon Bonaparte was the surprising trend-setter responsible for that fashion. He ordered that all his soldiers wear buttons on their sleeves, because he was tired of watching them wiping their running noses on their jackets.
2. Tutankhamun made eyeliner poplar
Eyeliner wasn’t very popular at all until around the 1920s. It only became popular after King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922, which sparked a renewed interest in Ancient Egypt, and people saw images of the young king wearing eyeliner.
3. Umbrellas weren’t invented to keep the rain off
That essential item for any rainy day, the umbrella, was not invented to keep the rain off at all. The oldest written reference to an umbrella dates back to 21 AD and it refers to a device designed to shield a person from the sun. In fact, the very word umbrella is derived from the Latin word “umbra”, which means shadow, or shaded.
4. Men wore high heels before women did
The high heel wasn’t invented to make the ladies look sexy; it was invented to stop men falling off their horses! History shows that the first high heels were worn by men and they were designed to keep a man’s feet in the stirrups when he was shooting at his foes with a bow and arrow. It wasn’t until much later that high heels became fashion item for women.
5. Levi Strauss had a very different name for jeans.
The word “jeans” comes from the word “Genes”, which was a word used to describe the sailors of Genoa in Italy, who wore blue denim trousers. When Levi Strauss, however, patented his design for what we now called jeans, he called them “waist-high overalls”. Not quite as catchy as “blue jeans”, is it?
6. Here’s how much you will spend on clothes in a lifetime
If your boyfriend complains that you spend too much on clothes, he could have a point! The average American woman will spend around $125,000 on clothes and buy more than 3,000 individual items. Mind you, if he does moan too much about your spending on fashion, you could point out to him that the cost of clothes has been falling, year after year, since 1992.
7. Fashion is still controlled by men!
Even today, the control of most of the big fashion houses and fashion magazines is still in the hands of the men. Of all the industries you’d have thought that fashion is one place that women would have redressed the balance, but most fashion houses, stores, and magazines, still have a man at the helm.
8. There are only fourteen official Haute Couture designers in the world
Although you might think that some of the big name designers could be considered as Haute Couture, there are, in fact, only fourteen designers that are officially recognised the Chamber of Syndicate as being good enough to be given that title. Those fashion houses that are on the list of this exclusive club include Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Chanel, but many other famous names, including Giorgio Armani, are not.
9. The thong was invented by the Mayor of New York
Well, he didn’t actually invent it, because there is evidence of thongs being worn by the tribal people of Southern Africa centuries ago. It was, however, New York Mayor Fiorello Henry La Guardia, who could take the credit for making the thong popular in the modern world. He made the news in 1939 when he demanded that the exotic dancers of New York wear something to keep themselves decent, and they then started wearing tiny panties, or thongs.
10. How the automobile changed fashion
You might have thought that skirts became shorter because of changing attitudes to morality and to the showing of bare legs, but it was for a far more practical reason than that. The first short skirts are thought to have been designed to make it easier for girls to get in and out of automobiles.