Powdered Wigs and Codpieces: The Role of Disease in Historic Fashion Trends

Illness and disease were once inescapable parts of life before germ theory, antibiotics, and vaccines. People did what they could to avoid diseases, but sometimes just had to work around them. That affected clothing and fashion styles. When just enough men discovered that wearing a codpiece protected their junk while undergoing the useless syphilis treatments of the 16th century, the look caught on with the general public. But their hair still fell out, which led to powdered wigs, which had an upside in that they attracted lice away from the rest of their bodies. Are you keeping up?

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Tuberculosis, syphilis, and smallpox were not easy subjects to talk about, but they were all too common once upon a time. Read about five bygone fashion trends that were instigated by people either trying to prevent these diseases or trying to live with them, whether their fashion followers knew it or not, at Cracked.

(Image credit: Wellcome Images)

Source: neatorama

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