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Old-fashioned trends that are completely odd: gluing a unibrow on your head

We can do some odd things in the pursuit of beauty. Women all around the world start the day early and stare into their mirrors to paint their faces. We desire fashionable clothes and will spend a fortune to get them. We do destructive things to our bodies to attain a standard of beauty.

The concept of beauty has changed over time, quite a lot. The generations before had their own thoughts about what looked good, and some of these trends will seem completely bizarre by today’s standards.

10) Gluing A Unibrow On Your Head

A close up of the human unibrow. Photo Credit
A close up of the human unibrow. Photo Credit

During a time in ancient Greece, there could be nothing more unsightly than a woman who had separated eyebrows on her face. If a woman wanted to pass as being sophisticated and beautiful, she would need a unibrow.

The ancient Greeks thought that unibrows were the sexiest accessory that any woman could wear. Woman would dab black powder on the hair in the middle of their eyebrows to make them look full and stand out as much as possible.

If a girl was not born with any hair between her eyes, they would make a way. Some would actually rub black soot between their brows. Others would gather goat hair and dye it black; they would then dab some tree resin on the hair and attach it to their heads.

9) High Heels That Were 0.6 Meters (2 Ft) Tall

Woman's shoe
Woman’s shoe

During the Middle Ages, Florence was considered the style capital of the world. There, the ladies would do anything to make sure they looked good. No trend could compare to the dignity and beauty of wearing chopines. These were platform shoes with large wooden heels that could be more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall.

The look was so popular that men started wearing them too. Getting around was pretty hard since they were practically walking on stilts. Yet the Florence fashionistas would make due by hobbling around with canes.

Most people who lived outside of Florence thought the look was absurd. Some even called it “sinfully vain”. The Church resented the fashion but accepted it. It was also accepted that wearing these shoes would keep the women from dancing – after all, that was the worst sin of all.

8) Dropping Poison In Your Eyes

Eye Photo Credit
Eye Photo Credit

One of the most toxic plants in the world is nightshade. If you put a little of its poison into someone’s drink, you could send them into a coma. If you add too much, you could kill them. In Renaissance Italy, women would pour it straight into their eyes.

The Italians would call it belladonna, which meant the beautiful lady. These ladies would drop poison in their eyes, and this would dilate their pupils, making it appear that they were permanently aroused.

It would also blur their vision and accelerate their heart rate. But if they used too much of it, they could go blind. This to them was a small price to pay for beauty.

7) Penis Bulges

Portrait of Antonio Navagero (1565), oil on canvas, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, by Giovanni Battista Moroni
Portrait of Antonio Navagero (1565), oil on canvas, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, by Giovanni Battista Moroni

Civilizations throughout history have agreed that bulging penises were a good look. Inside of England, this fad has gone in and out of style for 500 years. At first, there were codpieces, which were originally discreet and practical covers for little openings in men’s tights. But by the time of Edward IV, men realized that the accessories on their crotches can look like large penises. By the time of Henry VII’s reign, codpieces grew to cartoonish sizes.

When Elizabeth I was put in charge, codpieces died out, but the men brought the penis bulge back. By the Georgian era, men started putting the tightest crotches possible on their pants so they could show off what God gave them.

With the pressures of fashion, larger men would put on tight pants also. It was soon agreed that it was best for the public interest to wear something that left something to the imagination.

6) Blackening Your Teeth

Up until recently, women in of Japan had a different look on dentistry. They all agreed that the look of tooth decay was one of the best out there. So if a woman’s teeth were not falling out on their own, she would paint them black.

Japanese women have been painting their teeth black for so long that we aren’t sure why or when they trend started. At the very least, around 900 AD women were painting their teeth black. Not too long after, men started doing it also.

A woman from Tonkin with black-painted teeth
A woman from Tonkin with black-painted teeth

The Japanese would mix hot water, sake, and red hot iron in a pot and let it sit for five days. Black scum would rise to the top; they would scrape this off and rub it on their teeth.

Sooner or later, the look went out of style. Around 1870 it was banned, but that was not until around 1,000 years after the fad started.

5) Cutting A Gash In Your Cheek

Adolf Hoffmann-Heyden
Adolf Hoffmann-Heyden

Nothing shows how tough you are then a bleeding wound gaping out of the side of your face. To the Germans during the late 19th century, having cuts was the best look a man could wear. They would actively cut their own faces to leave scars.

But cutting yourself would not count, so schoolboys would challenge each other to duels. The boy or man would put on a fencing mask to protect his throat and eyes, but would deliberately leave out the rest of his face to try and let his opponent to get a couple of slashes in.

Afterward, the man would heal his own cuts to make sure the biggest scar possible was left. The truly fashionable would go right back to dueling. There was one story that one man left his friends in awe by walking about with 14 scars on his face.

4) Wearing One High Heel With One Low Heel

Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark

Alexandra of Denmark was a huge trendsetter. She was the prince’s bride, and any look she was seen in was copied across the country. If she wore a new accessory or dress, women around the world rushed to the stores to purchase it. When she caught the rheumatic fever and was left with a limp, they copied her again.

At first, women would go through their own wardrobes to find two mismatched shoes. Their goal was to stumble around with the same clumsiness that made the prince’s bride so fashionable. Stores soon caught on and started selling “Alexandra Limp” shoes with one heel higher than the other.

Women would walk the streets with mismatched shoes, carrying a cane and awkwardly taking steps. They thought that nothing said beauty more than a woman who had trouble staying upright.

3) Wearing A Lightning Rod On Your Head

An artistic rendition of Franklin's kite experiment
An artistic rendition of Franklin’s kite experiment

When Benjamin Franklin attached a key on a kite and flew it through a lightning storm, he did more than progress science – he promoted a fashion trend.

Women in Paris were worried about being struck by lighting every time they stepped outside. So they used Franklin’s idea and started a new trend which was called lightning hats.

They would go outside with metal rods attached to their heads. The rods would drape to the ground. The more fashionable type would carry an umbrella with them that was also equipped to send electric currents to the ground.

There are no records of any women getting hit by lightning, so it’s not clear whether or not the hats worked. They were primarily sold to the most fashion-conscious and wealthiest of all. The most important thing was that the women thought they looked great wearing them, even if the hats didn’t even work.

2) Wearing Seven Shirts At Once

Chinese tunic suit ("Zhongshan/Mao suit")
Chinese tunic suit (“Zhongshan/Mao suit”)

Mao’s Cultural Revolution changed the way of fashion. The respectable and dignified wore Mao suits with upturned collars that were distinctly Chinese. Others would wear army uniforms to show their dedication to their party. Some gang members started a fashion trend of wearing as many shirts as possible.

According to the writer Jung Chang, one of the fashion trends for boys in the Cultural Revolution was to put on several undershirts and pop all of their collars upward and then put on a jacket. They had faith that the more shirts you wore, the more intelligent you actually were. Apparently, to them, nothing showed off your smarts more than wearing eight layers of shirts during the summer.

The record holder seems to be a boy who wore seven shirts at once. For extra fashion, he wore sneakers that didn’t have laces, Listverse reported.

1) Socks With Sandals

Picture from 1926 showing a Japanese woman in traditional socks tabi and shoes
Picture from 1926 showing a Japanese woman in traditional socks tabi and shoes

Ancient Rome brought to one of the most disturbing fashions of all, socks with sandals. Regardless of the taboos of modern life, our ancestors would walk out proudly and boldly wearing open-toed sandals with socks.

This was not learned easily. It took years of work by several groups of archaeologists and historians, all being dedicated toward finally finding the kind of footwear mixtures the Romans used. Now we know that they wore socks with sandals.

Here is another interesting list from us:The old wacko traditions that would not be accepted in the modern world

The socks were made from wool and went all the way up to the knees. Then the Romans would complete the look with open-toed sandals. Wearing sandals without socks is a new phenomenon.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News