10 Strange Accessories That Were Atrociously Popular Back in the Day

10 Strange Accessories That Were Atrociously Popular Back in the Day

Throughout history, men and women have done things that they considered to have increased their beauty or allowed them to express themselves in a better way. While some of them were classy, there were several that have out done themselves with some pretty outrageous things to adhere to the beauty standards of their day. Today, we use tanning beds, straighten or curl our hair, as well as use all sorts of accessories that we consider to be of beauty standards. Here, we are listing some of the strangest accessories known to mankind, considered to be highly elegant at some point in time.

1. Unibrows made of goat’s hair.

Frida Kahlo, unibrow, beauty, accessories
Image: Guillermo Kalho/Wikimedia

As we all know that Frida Kahlo was known for her beauty, as well as her amazing ability to paint. The enduring feminist icon had a unibrow and she celebrated it. “I won’t curb my self-expression to meet your expectations of how a woman should look”. According to the New York Times, the practice of having a unibrow and its significance in representing beauty has existed for centuries. The ancient Greeks valued the beauty of a unibrow, as it became known to signify intelligence and beauty in women. Women who did not have natural unibrows went to great lengths to get them, such as connecting their brows with coal or dark powder or even using goat hair and tree resin as substitutes.

2. Beauty spots made out of court plaster and shaped into moons, stars and hearts were used to enhance facial features and used as fake moles and beauty marks.

camouflage beauty spots, history, vintage, life, people
Image: Wellcome Images

Beauty marks are natural and unique to each individual. During the 1700’s, beauty marks were considered to be of great significance and women created their own beauty marks out of court plaster. These artificial black moles or spots were shaped into moons, stars and hearts and were mostly used by those high up the social ladder; mainly those who attended the royal court. They were equally used by men and women not only to enhance their beauty, but also to cover up smallpox scars.

3. A bourdalou or chamber pot looks like a gravy bowl, however, it was used by royal French women to relieve themselves while standing.

Chamber pots, women, facts, ladies, accessories
Image: Cooper Hewitt

The bourdaloue or bourdalou, was a trending object that was carried by maids while they followed women of royalty. When a royal woman was in a public space, such as a theater or tavern, where there were no bathrooms, the small chamber pot would be used to relieve themselves while standing up. According to legend, the name of this porta-potty comes from Louis Bourdaloue (1632-1704). Once the women were done using the bourdalou, they would hand it over to their maids, who would then carry it away and empty it.

4. Back in the day, people lacked hygiene and fleas were commonly found on everyone. In order to deter them, fur laced clothes were worn or live animals were carried by men and women; hoping that the fleas would leave them alone.

accessories, women, fashion, history, facts
Images: Wikimedia

During the middle-ages, hygiene was not considered important. People often took baths once a year, and that was only if they felt like it. Many believed that letting water touch you would make you severely ill, causing them to not take baths or showers at all. According to many historians, bathing only gained popularity during the outbreak of the Black Plague. Before that, poor hygiene was a reason for fleas and various parasites to be attracted to the human body.

Although people didn’t understand the reason why they were being targeted by the pesky critters, they did find ways to try to deflect them. Accessories such as belts and necklaces were made with fur, since people believed the critters would be attracted to the fur, instead of them. Many also carried live animals with them, since they believed that fleas would rather prefer animals over humans.

5. Wearing one high heel with one low heel.

high heels, women, accessories, life
Images: Wikimedia

Alexandra of Denmark was known for being a trendsetter. She was always coming up with unique fashions that others tried hard to imitate. Women all across the country waited patiently for the prince’s bride to appear, and as soon as she stepped foot outside, they would scour her fashion and replicate every detail. Even manufacturers were fast on the game by releasing new clothes and shoes that lady Alexandra was seen wearing.

However, when Alexandra caught rheumatic fever, she was left with a limp. Of course her followers blindly copied the limp by finding two mismatched shoes or by wearing one shoe with a heel and one without. Through this, they hoped to stumble around and be as clumsy as the prince’s bride. It became so popular that women started wearing one heeled shoes and carrying canes, since being irregular was seen as a sign of beauty.

6. In order to keep their skin looking pale, noblewomen wore black velvet masks to hide their faces from the sun.

sun mask, women, fashion, accessories, facts
Image: The British Museum/Wikimedia

During the 16th century, women took extreme measures to stop themselves from getting a sunburn. In order to make sure that their face was completely covered, women of high-class wore masks that provided shade, but at the same time, made it impossible for them to speak. In 16th century Europe, getting a tan, especially on your face, meant that you had to work outside and you were quite possibly poor. So, to make sure people understood that they were born in nobility, women wore face masks called visards (or vizards) that covered their delicate visages. The only issue with wearing the mask was that it limited the wearer from speaking.

7. During the Victorian Era, skirt lifters were used to prevent long Victorian dresses from trailing in the mud.

skirt lifter, women, accessories, facts
Image: Exeter City Council

Invented around 1846, the skirt lifter was an important device that helped noblewomen keep their dresses clean. During the Victorian times, women were known to wear unusually long dresses and the lack of paved roads meant the dresses dragged in the mud. In order to prevent the dresses from being soiled, a skirt lifter was used by women to lift their skirts up when necessary. The two circular discs would be placed around the hem of the skirt and locked tight. The shell shaped part is actually a locking device that allows the user to lock the discs in place. A cord was attached to the waist and threaded through the holes of the locking device. Whenever the wearer wanted to hoist their skirt up or down, they would simply adjust the cord; eliminating the need to bend down.

8. The Coiffure “à la Belle-Poule” hairstyle was extremely popular during the  18th century.

la belle poule, hair, people, women, fashion
Image: Wikimedia

Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France, was known for her daring styles and fashion that she brought to 18th century France. The Coiffure à la Belle-Poule was another incredible creation of Marie Antoinette. It consisted of a ship sailing on a sea of thick, wavy hair. The hairstyle was invented after a naval battle in which the La Belle Poule was victorious. In order to celebrate the victory, the ship itself was imitated in a miniature version. It was extremely difficult to move around, since some of the hair structure was held with the help of wired scaffolding.

9. Eye miniatures, also known as lover’s eyes, were extremely popular during the 19th century.

Lover's eyes, hair, facts, Medieval, accessories
Image: Metropolitan Museum/Wikimedia

During early 19th-century, in order to show their love for someone, British noblemen carried a portrait of their lover’s eyes. The small jewelry became the height of fashion during this time period. Men would carry it with them wherever they went, in order to express the depth of their love for someone. Only about a thousand of these exist today, all of which were produced between the 1780’s and 1830’s, in America, Western Europe, and Russia.

10. After Benjamin Franklin attached a key to a kite and flew it through a lightning storm, people were worried about getting struck by lightning, and so began wearing lightning rods on their heads.

Lightning rod hats, people, fashion, accessories
Images: Wikimedia

On October 19, 1752, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm and managed to collect charge when the kite was struck by lightning. Although this changed the world of science, it also changed the way people understood lightning. Men and women of Paris became so worried that they would get struck by lightning, that they started wearing lightning rods on their heads. The trend, called lightning hats and umbrellas, started after Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment.

People would go outside with metal rods attached to their heads and with the rods draped to the ground. Men preferred umbrellas that had metal rods on the top to send electric currents to the ground.

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