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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

Why Would Anyone Wear That?

Fascinating Fashion Facts

Bustles. Tight-laced Corsets. Caged crinolines that encased the hapless wearer in hoops of steel. Why would anyone want to wear such things? Yet, you can be certain that no lady of the Victorian upper class would choose to leave home without them—and she’d complete her look with a feather- and flower-festooned bonnet as befit the latest fashion.

With a blend of wisdom and wit, Why Would Anyone Wear That? explores extreme fashions from around the world. The Victorian era was by no means alone in strange sartorial choices. Throughout history, men and women have turned to clothing and accessories to adorn and accentuate parts of the body. Some of the fashions, like bloomers, were surprisingly functional. Others, like powdered wigs and hobble skirts, were inconvenient and uncomfortable. And a few particularly painful practices could even permanently disfigure the wearer, like brass coils worn in Burma to lengthen the neck and the custom of binding of women’s feet to fit tiny lotus slippers in Song dynasty China. Presenting dozens of the most peculiar fashions, including shoes, hats, jewelry, undergarments, and outerwear, the book provides insightful commentary, placing the garments and accessories in the proper historical, social, and cultural context.

If you’ve ever wondered why the codpiece was created or the leisure suit went out of style, this book will answer that question and many more. Fully illustrated and packed with fun facts, Why Would Anyone Wear That? introduces readers to the fascinating stories behind some of the world’s weirdest fashions.

84 pages | 30 color plates | 9 x 9 | © 2013

Culture Studies


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Table of Contents

Introduction: “Why Would Anyone Wear That?”

Fascinating Fashions
Mad as Hatter
Feathered Hats
Scented Cones
The Hope Diamond
The Koh-i-Noor Diamond
Giraffe Women
Muslin Fever
Zoot Suits and Teddy Boys
Leisure Suits
Breast Binding
Flea Furs
Caged Crinolines
Chastity Belts
Pumpkin Breeches
Hobble Skirts
Poison Rings
Parti-colored Hosiery
Chinese Lily Feet
Poulaines or Cracows
Chopines and Pattens
Running Shoes
Disposable Fashions

Interpreting and Predicting Fashion

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