20 Crazy fashion facts you need to know about
We all like to think we know a thing or two about fashion, but we’ve got some fashion facts that we think will surprise you. Designers in Paris, New York, London and Milan like to think that what they show in their fashion weeks is what drives trends, but many fashion items have come about by chance or by a simple quirk of history. These crazy facts we have here for you may not get you a promotion at work, but they will give you something to talk about over a coffee with friends. If you want to know what the connection is between the buttons on the cuffs of your jacket, Napoleon Bonaparte, and your nose, why jeans are called jeans, or what a bikini has to do with an atomic bomb, then read on, and you will find twenty unbelievable crazy fashion facts you won’t believe are true.
1. The bikini was banned by the Vatican
When the bikini was first invented it didn’t just raise a few eyebrows, it caused outrage all around the world. The skimpy two-piece bathing suit, which was hardly skimpy at all when it first came out, was banned outright in Australia, Spain, Italy and Belgium, and the Vatican made an official declaration that to wear a bikini was a sin.
2. The cost of clothing is going down
Thanks to more and more imports and better manufacturing methods, you get a lot more for your money in clothes stores now, than you would have done even just ten or twenty years ago. Overall, the price of clothes has decreased on average by nearly nine percent since 1992.
3. The size of clothes has changed over the years
Over the years the sizes marked on clothes has changed owing to something called vanity sizing, or size inflation. If you are a size 0 today, you would have been a size 8 in 1967! It’s also been found that the more expensive the clothes are that you buy, the smaller the sizes will be.
4. One man invented both the pencil skirt and the A-line skirt
Both the A-line skirt and the pencil skirt became the height of fashion in the 1950’s, and they were both the creation of the French designer, Christian Dior.
5. The Chinese used to bind their children’s feet in the name of fashion
Right up until the early Twentieth Century, Chinese women used to bind the feet of their daughters to stop them growing, because small feet were considered to be beautiful. The practice was outlawed in the country, because the feet of the young children became so deformed that they couldn’t even walk properly.
6. Black was once only worn when you were in mourning
Women only used to wear black when they were in mourning and would never wear it at any other time. In the Victorian times, women were expected to wear nothing but black for two years following the death of their husbands. The wearing of black for extended periods of mourning is still adhered to today in some Catholic countries. Before that, white had been seen as the colour for mourning and would never have been worn at a wedding.
7. The bikini was named after an island
The man who invented the bikini knew that it would create a storm and that’s why he named it after a particular island. Louis Réard was the man in question, and he named his revealing beachwear garment after the island called Bikini Atoll, which is where the Americans tested the first Atomic bombs. He chose the name because he thought the bikini would create as many shockwaves around the world as the bomb had, and he wasn’t far wrong.
8. You can thank King Tutankhamun for your eyeliner
In Ancient Egypt, eyeliner was popular with both men and women, but it wasn’t really used much in the modern world until around the 1920s. It was when Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in the 1920s and photographs of the boy king sporting eyeliner began to circulate that eyeliner began to catch on as a part of modern makeup.
9. The colour of your clothes used to mean something
Whilst today we just chose whatever colours we think might suit us, in the medieval times, the colour of your clothes denoted your standing in society. Noblemen always wore red, merchants and the gentry wore green, and the lowly peasant’s wore brown and you wouldn’t have dared to wear a colour that didn’t fit your status.
10. The thong was invented for modesty
The modern day thong wasn’t invented to make tight jeans look better; it was invented as a way of covering up. The thong became popular after the Mayor of New York in 1939, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was shocked by nudity in his city, so he ordered that nude dancers wear something to cover themselves up a bit more.
11. The South Koreans really did have fashion police
When miniskirts first started to become popular, the conservative South Koreans weren’t too keen on the idea of too much leg being paraded in public. The government of the country employed a division of police officers whose job was to measure the length of women skirts. If you got caught with a skirt that was too short, you could be fined, or even imprisoned.
12. The word jeans came from sailors
The word jeans, which we now use to describe the blue denim trousers is derived from the name of the Italian town of Genoa, where denim was invented. The blue denim trousers were first worn by sailors who were from the town of Genoa and those sailors were known locally as Genes.
13. Coco Chanel invented costume jewellery
It was the designer who brought us the little black dress, Coco Chanel, who can also be thanked for inventing costume jewellery. She invented the trend by creating jewellery that contained fake stones with real pearls and diamonds. Before that, jewellery was just jewellery and, if you could afford it, it had to be the real thing.
14. Playtex used to make spacesuits
Possibly one of the most well-known makers of bras, Playtex, is one of the very few manufacturers in the world who can say that their garments have been to the moon. It wasn’t their bras that were rocketed into space on the Apollo missions; it was the astronauts’ spacesuits. Playtex manufactured the spacesuits that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon.
15. Mark Twain invented the bra-strap clasp
Mark Twain, who is better known as being the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was the inventor of the modern day bra-strap clasp that we are using today. He patented his invention under the name “Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments”. He also invented a “self-pasting scrapbook”.
16. Victorian women used to wrap themselves in wet muslin
It was a common practice for Victorian women to wrap themselves in wet muslin before they put on their dresses, so that their clothes would fit them as snugly as possible. Walking around in damp clothes was not good for their health, though, and the practice was blamed for a large number of deaths during an outbreak of influenza in Pairs.
17. Platform shoes were not invented in the 1970s
Platform shoes were not anything new in the 1970s, they were worn in Asia and in Europe as far back as the 16th century. Chopines, as they were called, were worn by both women and men and they could be anything up to about 24 inches high. In fact, the higher your chopines were, the higher up in society you were. Heels were actually first worn by men, because it made it easier to ride a horse and shoot a bow and arrow at the same time.
18. False eyelashes were invented in 1916
The very first false eyelashes were made from human hair that was woven through fine gauze. The lashes, which were made by a wig maker, were made in 1916 for the actress Seena Owen. They were made on the instructions of film director, D.W. Griffith, because he wanted the actress to have eyelashes that brushed her cheeks in his film “Intolerance”.
19. The skirt is the second oldest garment in the world
The skirt has been with us for a long, long time and it is considered to be the second oldest garment in the world. The only known garment that was ever worn before the skirt was the loincloth. Initially, skirts were worn by both men and women.
20. Napoleon Bonaparte invented buttons on cuffs
When you think about it, the buttons on the cuffs of your jackets are completely pointless. It was Napoleon that first came up with the idea of putting buttons on cuffs when he ordered that a brass button be sown on the cuffs of the uniforms of all his soldiers. It wasn’t for decorative purposes at all; it was just to try to stop the soldiers wiping the noses on their cuffs.
What are your favourite interesting fashion facts?