Torturing women has been commonplace in fashion since the beginning. Cloth couture, brand couture, cramped couture. Throughout history, fashion has dictated a sort of willful self-torture for females, often starting in the prepubescent period and even as early as preschool ages. From corsets to foot binding, style has led the feminine population to squeeze, alter, mutilate and asphyxiate themselves. I guess they were prepping us for co-ed living.
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Va-va-voom pinup girls! This S-shaped curvature aid to form the ideal hour-glass shaped body is men's delight and women's obsession. But taken to extremes, ladies past and present have managed to squish their torso's into such submission as to physically alter their own skeletal structures! Rib cages are meant to be a little bit more like an APPLE than a banana, but what who cares when sex appeal is at stake! Breathing is so 2000 and late.
Hippie Chics holler! (Um, bra-burning, babies....think hard now!) This often painful garment wins the title of clothing most often purchased in an incorrect size. I wondered what that pinching sensation was... This particular over the shoulder boulder holder is our favorite hate due to it's likeness to the ever-comfy mammogram machine. Also known as the Torpedo or Cone Bra, the Bullet Bra was designed and worn largely in the 1940s, 50s and early 60s. This bra was the staple for the image of the "Sweater Girl", an all-American girl-next-door beauty made popular by Hollywood bombshells including Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. Of course in later days, we 80s kids know Madonna felt oh-so-like a virgin in HER Jean-Paul Gaultier eye skewer, er, bra.
Short girls unite! YES we LOVE shoes. I know I know, cliche. But sometimes the truth hurts. Then again, so do the shoes! Stilettos, another saucy standard for the femme fatale, have been in existence for thousands of years, and were depicted in Egyptian tombs as early as 4000 BC. However, the modern stiletto didn't arrive on the scene until the 1950s with the invention of the thin metal heel rod. Creator Salvatore Ferragamo named the shoe after the stabilizing "stiletto" and we've been stabbing and trailing public bathroom paper sexily ever after.
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Thong, th-thong, thong thong...thong song. Yes, G-strings technically belong to the cheek splitting crack dwellers of all panties, thongs. The variety offering the least amount of coverage, the G-string and it's modern brethren first sprung up in the flesh fearless country of Brazil. Tourists braved the beaches in their scanty suits, but brought the style stateside in the form of an undergarment. History argues, however, that the style may have originated far earlier on MEN in ancient athletic cultures. Women don these designer butt flossers to decrease pantie lines and enhance the round curve of the buttocks. Someone should tell muffin tops over there her booty smoother of choice may in fact be a girdle.
Speaking of the sausage casing of the undergarment world. Girdle was originally the word for belt, though in modern terms, it is a smoothing body shaper that can extend from the upper abdomen to the upper thighs and sometimes is accompanied by a built in bra. Typically, the girdle also features clips to hold up stockings. This austere underwear was an alternative to the constrictive corset and remained popular for over half a century starting in 1910. More recently, body shapers have taken the form of Spanx and other more comfortable alternatives. Beware! Cheaper versions amplify that jellyroll, so get the good stuff...please.
Takin' it back to the old school for a moment, have a look at the bird cage of fashion, the crinoline. Today's versions are itchy, but light mesh that fills out a skirt or looks, like, totally rad over the perfect leggings! But back in the day, these puffy marshmellows were anything but innocent...or puffy. In the late 1830s, Crinolines began as linen woven with horsehair and steadily became layers of heavy and insulated drudgery required to support the billowy skirts of the times. In the mid 1850s the cage crinoline was invented, providing ventilation and security in case your legs decided to randomly take flight. Oh THAT'S better.
Next item of torture! The bustle! These days men and women alike simply opt for butt implants. But before slice and stuff became popular, these garments picked up where Crinoline's left off from the mid 1800s until the turn of the century. The item was also an underskirt filler, however, was adapted to the styles of the time where the skirt was full in the back, but flat in the front. Think of any cat house from your favorite cowboy western and you'll get the picture. Dressed hussies, that is. Not reserved for the promiscuous alone, these bustles enhanced the curvy shape of women of all statures and thoroughly deceived the males appreciating them.