Crinolines were basically giant hoops, often made out of steel, that women in the 19th century wore under their skirts to make them seem more voluminous. You know, to impress men, I guess. While these must have been terribly uncomfortable and hard to move in, they were also quite dangerous. There have been tales of women in these giant skirts getting swept off of cliffs or into traffic when a gust of wind hit them at the right angle.
Corsets have been around for hundreds of years, and are even making somewhat of a comeback today, but they're terrible for you. Corsets mash up your internal organs, can cause you to faint from lack of oxygen circulation and can even lead to death in some cases!
You think squeezing your feet into uncomfortable high heels is bad, well, you've got nothing on the decades of Chinese women who bound their feet. This long standing tradition that was a sign of beauty and wealth was finally outlawed in 1912. However, women still continued to bind their feet in secret after the laws were past. Girls as young as four would have their feet bound which would break their bones, and often leave them unable to walk as adults.
The "giraffe" women of Burma still wear these neck rings, which are considered a symbol of beauty even to this day. What started out as a way to protect themselves from tiger bites and kidnappings from other tribes, turned into a tradition that often left women with muscle problems and discolored skin.
Some women in the 18th and 19th centuries would actually eat chalk to try to make their skin appear lighter from the inside out. However, the chalk wouldn't actually turn their skin whiter, rather they would fall ill from ingesting chalk and become pale from being sick.
A popular bright green clothing dye that was made in the 19th century had one little extra ingredient that caused its wearers and makers to die. That ingredient was arsenic. File this one under the dangerous clothing of the Victorian era. Those people were crazy.
Women in the 18th and 19th century loved to wear the dress pictured above that was called the Muslin dress. It was light, breezy and fun. Unfortunately, it was dead cold in Europe and indoor heating had not been invented yet. History has it that women of that time would wear the dress, and would contract a cold or pneumonia and die from the "Muslin disease."
In 19th century Japan, tooth lacquering was all the rage. Women would drink an iron-based black dye drink that would turn their teeth black. It was a sign of health and beauty back then, but was ultimately outlawed in 1870.
This relatively new trend may make your booty look banging, but for one lady, they made her take a trip to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with nerve damage due to the tightness of her skinny jeans. While this definitely isn't the norm, per say, I won't be so surprised if more cases like this start popping up!
Alas, we arrive to today's trends, when women are willing to give themselves a wedgie all in the name of fashion. That's right, Levi's has invented a type of jean that they're calling the "wedgie fit," and people are going apeshit over them. *Sigh* if only we could learn from our past mistakes.