6 Popular Fashion Trends (That Killed People)

If we know our readers, then we're guessing fashion dominates your every thought. But how far would you go to be wearing the absolute latest and hottest looks? Would you wear something knowing it could, at some point, kill your ass?

Through history men and women have been asked that exact question, and time and time again they shrugged and said, "Eh, I'll risk it." So we wound up with things like...

#6. The Crinoline

The crinoline is a hoop skirt that women in the 19th century wore under their actual skirts. It was made from horsehair and thread or steel, and the whole purpose of the huge apparatus was to make the skirt look more... skirt-like.

Also, since you were basically wearing a cage around your legs, you could probably use the crinoline to trap small animals and kick them to death.

How It Could Kill You:

The steel crinoline was actually so deadly it's amazing this thing was ever worn at all. Because of its design, it was quite susceptible to gusts of wind. There are tales of women on piers that were swept up and carried out to sea, where they promptly drowned due to having a fucking steel cage tied to their waists. It was also a bad idea to hang around cliffs or tall buildings in this sort of contraption.

The skirts would get entangled in the spokes of carriages, presumably dragging the women screaming down the street. Then there was the less obvious dangers, such as knocking over candles. Don't laugh; the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's second wife went up in flames this way, and she wasn't the only one.

Wait, it gets worse. In 1863 in Santiago, Chile, between 2000 and 3000 people died in a church fire. When a gas lamp lit the veils on the walls, people tried to run outside, but the width of the women's skirts blocked the door, and crinolines with women inside piled up in front of the exit, making an escape impossible even for the people who'd been smart enough not to wear hoop skirts.

What the Fuck Were They Thinking?

The crinoline, in making someone's ass look big, would also make their waist look smaller, and so women didn't have to wear a corset. Why would they take such extravagant measures to avoid that? Well...

#5. The Corset

The corset, if you're one of the small percentage of our readership not wearing one right now, was meant to suck in a woman's problem-areas with the small side effect of cutting off all circulation between their legs and head.

The result was not so much an hourglass figure, but a body that became an actual hourglass. Queen Maud of Norway was famous for her very small waistline, and many of her gowns are still exhibited so everyone can view their beauty and not-at-all freakishness.

Compressing her organs as only a queen can.

How It Could Kill You:

The act of donning a corset didn't actually become truly dangerous until people started tight lacing them to the point that their insides were squeezed like a toothpaste tube.

Unsurprisingly, when tight lacing was fashionable people didn't breathe very well. With their liver in their throats and their lungs in their bellies, Victorian women invented "the heaving bosoms." Breathing the wrong way in one of these things could break a rib (a serious injury in the days before anesthesia) and cramming all of the organs inwards could cause internal bleeding. Female impersonator, Joseph Hennella, was doubly unfortunate when, in 1912, he first collapsed on stage as the result of the tight lacing from his corset, and then when The New York Times wrote the part about what killed him, they said it was his "increasing girth."

In 1903, a woman died suddenly due to two pieces of corset steel that became lodged in her heart. Yeah, when your outfit fucking stabs you to death, it's probably a sign that you've made a bad fashion decision.

What the Fuck Were They Thinking?

What else do you do when you live in a society that demands women have a shape that's physically impossible? They were stuck between wearing a thing that could snap ribs, or a ridiculous cage dress that could fling them into oncoming traffic at the first gust of wind. At that point, you just flip a coin and wait for someone to invent feminism.

#4. Footbinding

Footbinding, aka "lotus feet," was a custom for women in China from around the 8th century until the beginning of the 1900s. It began with one concubine (that's archaic for paramour) dancing around in front of the emperor with silk wrapped around her feet, and it ended with women whose feet were so disfigured they could only walk very short distances, never mind do the Hustle.

How It Could Kill You:

In order to transform the foot from regular-shaped to crazy-in-the-head-shaped, women started early, at two to seven-years-old, when their feet were soft and their minds blissfully unaware of what would happen to their feet. First, their feet would soak in a bath that could be anything from herbs and water to urine and vinegar, depending on the family tradition. Then all their toes except the big one were folded down, and the arch of the foot bent back. The process would go on for a couple of years, with ever tighter bandages and recurrently disgusting foot baths, until the feet were about three inches long.

Footbinding cut off circulation in the toes, and the procedure oftentimes lead to gangrene or other life-threatening infections. Gangrenous toes were actually considered to be a good thing, because that meant the toes might fall off. The ideal was a foot that wasn't a foot at all, but simply a continuation of the leg. If the woman happened to die in the middle of all this, that was a real shame, but at least she'd be buried with nice feet.

What the Fuck Were They Thinking?

A woman with normal-sized feet was considered ugly and frankly, unwedable. We all know what that's like, when a woman who doesn't have hideously mutilated feet starts stomping about, walking all normal and shit. Would you want to marry that woman? Of course not.

Women who didn't have bound feet were considered to be provincial, because only farmers needed to be able to walk and get work done. A real lady staggered on her heels or rode piggyback, because she was unable to put any pressure on her toes (if she had any).

The foot itself was usually covered in sores, puss and gave off a repugnant smell, and if you happened upon a Chinese woman naked in the days of footbinding in China, the first thing she'd try to cover would be her feet. Not that you'd want to see those feet anyway; men actually never saw their ladies' feet without beautiful silk shoes on, but if they had, we're thinking that would ruin the mood pretty fast.

A "healthy" lotus foot.

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