Strange Fashion Trends Throughout History

A Fine Line

There is a fine line between art and insanity, and there is no discipline that rides that line quite as finely as fashion. Anyone who has ever tuned into a fashion show knows how quickly the outfits can become outrageous. Whether it is the latest Lady Gaga ensemble, or a dress made by an eccentric designer from the 1600s, there have been some bizarre fashion trends throughout human history.

Fashion is an industry that has several sides to it. There is the practical side, which is meant to fill a need. Then there is the artistic side of fashion, where there is room for creativity. The industry itself is where the two meet, form and function merging to become something else entirely. Unfortunately, sometimes garments fall short of this golden mean, that is why we put together a list of the strangest fashion fails in history:

Lotus Shoes – This bizarre fashion statement wasn’t just hard on the eyes, but hard on the feet as well. That is because these shoes were worn in China with the purpose of binding feet. These elf-like shoes were a result of following a trend in China where small, pointy feet epitomized femininity. This tradition endured for centuries, and it was common for families to break and bind the feet of their women to keep in line with this crazy fashion trend.

Arsenic and Old Lace – People have shown throughout the ages how much they are willing to sacrifice to be trendy and fashionable. One of the more bizarre trends was for green dresses in the Victorian era. During these times, arsenic was used to dye the fabric and it would cause many women to get nausea, blurred vision, and bad rashes. Talk about commitment to the look.

Pam Hogg – A more recent strange fashion trend comes from the designer Pam Hogg. She is the mastermind behind the wardrobe of some of the more ridiculous outfits worn by Lady Gaga. Hogg has a strange, Tim Burton-esque kind of aesthetic to her clothing designs that are very surreal, and transport you to a different kind of world. While most of her pieces you won’t see being worn to work, it is clear that in the right niche there is a place for this kind of weird fashion.

Crakowes – This one comes from a bizarre fashion trend from the 14th century. These long, pointy shoes were known for being 24 inches long! First worn by Polish nobleman, it became a fast hit in Europe. The general consensus was the longer the shoe you had, the higher your social status. The shoes were quite frowned upon by the conservatives of the time, and often referred to as “the devil’s fingers” because of how unsafe, impractical, and vain they were. Despite all that, the Crakowes still managed to be a prevailing fashion trend for many years.

Want to see more ridiculous fashion trends throughout history? Check out a more thorough list here.