fashion through history

features historical costumes from ancient world to modern age.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

history of corsets

Ancient Corsets

Corset – like ‘idols’ have been discovered on the Greek island of Crete that date back to around 2000 B.C. By placing two ceramic pots together by their bases, a waist shape was obtained, with the handle of the upper pot representing the nose. The hour – glass shape was a traditional primitive Cretan style, and not necessarily representative of the local women. Earlier icons were decorated with loincloths, with later examples wearing a loincloth and open lace tunic.

Traditional garb for some 15th Century virgins was a tightly bound dress, evocative of a corset.

Iron Corsets

Several museums today have examples of iron corsets. Some historians claim these to be everyday wear for European women and girls throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but such a garment or device would have been costly and beyond the pocket of everyday women. Such a corset would more likely to have been an orthopaedic tool to correct posture or obesity.

Assassination was a real threat in those days, and an iron corset as armour provided protection from bullet and knife. Favored initially by men, the iron corset went on to be worn by both women and men on court or dress occasions. Both corset and the dress of the time were very heavy, and considerable padding had to be worn underneath, the whole lot being decoratively covered with silk. Silk was a an expensive luxury, which indicates again the status of the corset then.

Only when worn by women was the garment referred to as a corset, it being called a waist coat or vest when sported by men.

Corsets with Stays 1550 – 1890

Stays were worn externally laced over the clothing (dress or skirt), unlike more conventional corsets which extended over the hips. Stays of the time were hand crafted from whale bone ( baleen ) and were popular around 1860. Eventually, stays became shorter, and evolved into a type of brassiere, with shoulder straps.

Victorian era corsets, 1831 – 1901

When most people imagine a corset, they are most likely to think of a corset from Victorian times. The Victorian era lasted some seventy years, during which time the corset underwent many changes of style and fashion as it evolved. One notable style was the ‘horizontal waist’, popular from 1850 to 1899. This complemented the fashionable ‘bustle’ of the day.
by: Davina Vincentes

Sunday, March 25, 2007

History of The Vibrator

Sometimes, misunderstood and revered, but secretly loved by its supporters, the Vibrator has as colorful a history as the modern day models that sit proudly on the store shelves or the pages of websites, waiting patiently and offering the promise of pleasure to an eager purchaser.
Some are not too different in form and function from the earliest ones found, much to the embarrassment of archaeologists earlier this century.

Excavations of ancient civilizations unearthed stone objects that were clearly sculptures of penises. Probably used in fertility or religious rituals, these objects played an important role in their communities.

The ancient Greeks with their olive oil and phallic objects understood a little better than most and realised that if they went to war and they wouldn't be around to satisfy their women, that they would develop a wandering uterus, so they would leave their wives with phallic shaped objects made of wood or leather to pleasure themselves until they returned. Naturally the olive oil came in handy as a natural and healthy lubricant for such devices.
These days Vibrators are far more developed and their usage is certainly different to that prescribed in their unusual beginnings..or is it?

The historical documentation of their development is certainly an interesting story to note.
The first mechanical vibrator was invented in the late 1800's by a British physician as a way to more efficiently perform a type of therapeutic massage on female patients.
First we must set the scene in the 1800's with a society of well dressed gents and ladies in flowing gowns who carried parasols and certainly didn't discuss pleasures of the flesh.
Imagine for a moment all these ladies parading around in their finery but hiding a deep mysterious affliction.

What was this affliction?

Apparently it was called "hysteria" a sinister type of madness. Hysteria was originally perceived as a disease, but what it basically boiled down to was sexually frustrated women suffering from an intense need or longing for an orgasm.

This forced repression began early on in the schools for young women where the matrons would glove the hands of their pupils at night in their dormitories to prevent them from their carnal desires to masturbate, anyone caught would have the further embarrassment of having their hands strapped to their beds while they slept.

To cure this affliction or Hysteria, doctors would manually massage women to orgasm in the hope of relieving them of this mysterious illness. No doubt it came as a huge relief when the first steam powered device was invented. Doctors all over Britain, suffering from repetitive strain injury, no doubt breathed a sigh of relief as now they would just have to stoke the small steam contraption and let it do the work for them.

Can you imagine how busy those doctors were!

One wonders how many women feigned hysteria simply to get to the doctors for some hands on relief!

Fortunately in the 1950's this idea of hysteria was replaced by the theory that it was simply a revolt of the womans need for sexual liberation following periods of sexual deprivation. How many husbands were suddenly jolted by the realisation that the local GP had been masturbating their wives for them for years.

I would imagine there were a few doctors a little disappointed by the downgrading of this 'disease' as well!

Today, gone are the crude stone, wood and steam powered models. They come in different lengths, sizes, shapes and textures to more adequately replicate that which they are representing. Some have collections to perform different functions while couples may use them as an enhancement to their sexual lives.

Owning a vibrator is a sign that you are comfortable with your sexuality and that as a woman you don't need to rely solely on another man to give you satisfaction. How could we compete as men with these battery operated or rechargeable wonders anyway. As hard as we try we have some stiff competition.
by: Martin Hunt

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The History of Ugg Boots

From Australia's Official Dictionary: The Macquarie Concise Dictionary - ug boot / Australian 100% merino sheepskin lined boot. Also called ugh boot , ugg boot.
Did you know that Australian Sheepskin Ug boots have always been called Ug, Ugh or Ugg boots and have been made in Australia for almost 200 years? "We always called them Uggs, Smith says, "long before it was a trademarked brand." Brian Smith, Founder UGG Holdings, Inc. Los Angeles Magazine October 1st, 2001.

The Ug Boot Story

The original Ug Boot. "Ug," (also spelled "Ugg" and "Ugh" in Australian dictionaries) is not a brand name but an age old generic term for this style of Australian-made sheepskin boot. In Aussie slang, the Ug name is short for "ugly." In terms of comfort, however, the Ug Boot is a thing of beauty. The softness of the Australian Merino sheepskin produces a boot with a snug, cozy, form-fitting feel that’s more like a sock than a shoe, yet it’s rugged enough for outdoor wear. The fleece lining has the astonishing property of providing year-round comfort. In cold weather, the plush fleece provides an insulating layer of warmth by trapping your body heat, much like goose down does. But in the heat of summer, the natural fibers of the fleece actually cool your feet by wicking away perspiration.

Growing Up in Ugs

By the 1970s, in Perth, the largest city on Australia’s West Coast, Ug boots were being manufactured by several small companies in the area. Perth has much the same climate as Southern California and is also a haven for surfers, whom Aussies call "surfies." And it was the community of surfies at the great surfing beaches at Margaret River near Perth who first adopted Ug Boots as their footwear of choice and made them a symbol of the Aussie surfing lifestyle.

Ug Fever Spreads

From the beaches of Western Australia, Ugs were soon seen on the feet of East Coast surfers from Brisbane to Sydney. And it wasn’t long before some of these surfers -- the ones who traded their surfboards for skis in the winter -- found that their Ug Boots were just as at home in the ski resort areas of the Snowy Mountains as they were on the warm sands of Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
It was Aussie surfers, traveling the world in search of the perfect wave, who first introduced their mates in Southern California to the pleasures of the Ug Boot. Ugs soon became a cult fashion among those L.A. surfers who could depend on a buddy ‘down under" to send them a pair of boots.

Ug Essentials

Today the Ug "secret" is out. You’ll find these versatile boots to be in fashion on beaches from San Diego to Santa Cruz and in ski resorts from Tahoe to Vail. And today, you don’t have to "know someone" in Australia who will send you a pair, since there are now a number of companies importing boots of this type. But, if you want the genuine article, you do have to know what you’re looking for because, no matter how they spell it -- Ug, Ugg or Ugh -- there are several importers with look-alike products that fall short of being the real thing.
If you want genuine Ug Boots -- well-made boots with all the qualities that made the original so desirable -- you’ll want to make sure that..... The boots are made from 100% Australian Merino Sheepskin. This will ensure your purchase is made of the finest Sheepskin hide avaliable.

Please Note:

Beware of very cheap imitations... quite a few boots on the market are made of cow suede with sawn on sheepskin inner fleece off cuts.... Don't take the chance and purchase these boots.... the external cow suede does not breath like 100% sheepskin does and will leave you with a smelly sweaty boot... But I must say these boots do look like the real thing but just don't cut the mustard when compared to authentic ugg boots.

by: William Siebler

The Ring - Step Back in History

The popularity of rings increased during the medieval period. People wore rings no matter if they were rich or poor. The most used materials in the making of rings are copper, iron, gold and silver. The class of the person was usually identified by the material the ring was made of.

Faceted jewels began to appear in rings around the 14th century. Some cultures have rings that are usually associated with them. Native Americans are associated with silver and turquoise jewelry. The Greek symbol of the fish, called the Icthus was used by Early Christians. The Irish Claddagh has an interesting story attached to it.

Richard Joyce along with the crew on a fishing boat from the village of Claddagh, Ireland, was captured the same week he was supposed to be married. Goldsmithing was Richard Joyce's trade while he was enslaved. While he was captured, neither married. Richard Joyce made a ring for his beloved that had two hands holding a heart for love and a crown for loyalty.

Joyce escaped from his captors and returned to Claddagh where he was excited to see his love again and know she had never married. She never gave up hope of his return to her. He gave her the ring that is known as the Claddagh ring. Wearing the Claddagh on your right hand, crown inward means that you are letting people know that you are single.

The person who wears the Claddagh on the right hand with the crown outward is in a committed relationship. Wearing the Claddagh with the crown outward on your left hand says Let our love and friendship reign forever, never to be separated. There are many reasons for wearing rings, one is adornment. Rewards for a job well done include rings such as the one given after the Super Bowl victory.

Rings such as engagement rings and wedding rings symbolize commitment. Women Religious wear rings to show their commitment to God. You can use almost any material to make rings now. Plastic, silver, copper, gold or even wood can be use to make them. Ceramic materials can be used as well.

Rings can be very simple or of something as intricate as filigree. Rings can be plain and simple or be adorned with jewels and/or gemstones, as is the case of birthstone rings. There is a birthstone for each month with its own meaning.

The Garnet is January's stone the gem of faith and truth; it is believed to stop bleeding, to cure sickness of the blood and infections and it is said to protect from poisons. It is believed that February's birthstone the Amethyst helps soldiers in battle, hunters to catch prey, control evil thoughts and help the owner have success in business. In order to prevent seasickness, keep them safe, and gain courage and foresight, sailors use the Aquamarine, the stone for March.

The Diamond is April's stone and is the symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. The diamond is the greatest gift of love. In 1477 Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond to Mary of Burgundy which started the tradition of engagement rings. The Emerald is the birthstone for May and believed to sharpen the eyesight and mind of the wearer.

As protection against the hazards of long trips travelers used Emeralds. The owner of the Emerald is said to be given the power to predict the future because of its green color. The pearl is the birthstone of June and fresh water pearls are said to give the power of protection, luck, and love.

They provide protection for children from harm and wisdom from experience. The Ruby's (July) red color is related to protection, courage, physical energy, strength, health, sex, and passion. Associated with it are blood, death, and birth. The August birthstone, the Peridot is said to bring the wearer peace, success, and good luck. It is believed it has the powers of health, protection, and sleep.

It is believed that it attracts love, eases anxiety and negative emotions, and calms anger. The powers of the Saphire (July) include inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. It is associated with the power of healing rheumatism, colic and mental illness. The October birthstone is believed to have healing powers that aid inner beauty, eyesight, and faithfulness. It will assist the user in remembering past lives.

The properties of the Yellow Topaz (Sanskrit for fire) are said to heal both mental and physical illnesses and to prevent death. The Citrine that is also for November is believed to have powers to aid the kidneys, the heart, the digestive tract, liver and muscles. Its powers are the elimination of self-destructive tendencies and it promotes creativity and personal clarity.

December's birthstone is the Blue Topaz (Sanskrit for fire) and was believed to heal both mental and physical illnesses, and prevent death in the Middle Ages. The powers of attracting money, success, and love are attributed to the Turquoise another stone for December. It is believed also that it offers protection, healing, courage, friendship and luck.

Mental tension is relieved and the mind is comforted. Among the variety of rings there are mother's rings with birthstones of her kids, friendship rings, engagement rings, wedding rings, and school rings. At the base of the prices for rings is fifty cents (found in toy machines) and at the higher end fifty thousand dollars or more.

by: Martin Smith

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