Fashion Is Dangerous (1907)

By | March 28, 2013

Periodical illustration by Henry Hutt, c. 1900

The fashion wears out more apparel than the man (Shakespeare). Periodical illustration by Henry Hutt, c. 1900

Length of Dress

She will not let him in the house
Until he wipes his feet;
Then out she sails with trailing gown,
And wipes up all the street.

The length of the fashionable dress is objectionable for several reasons:

  1. It is extravagant and unnecessary to have a dress of such length that it will sweep the sidewalk and street.
  2. A dress thus long gathers dew from the grass and mud from the streets, and is therefore uncleanly.
  3. In its bedraggled condition it comes in contact with the sensitive ankles, which are not sufficiently protected, quickly chilling them, and thus endangering health and life. This is one of the greatest causes of catarrh and scrofulous swellings.
  4. The unnecessary length is an additional weight upon the hips and bowels.
  5. It hinders walking, and is also often in other people’s way.

The Song of the Skirt

“Sweep, sweep, sweep,
With trailing skirt, O maid,
Through the filthy flood and slush and mud,
Till thy dress is tattered and frayed.

“What matters though men may smile,
And street cleaners stop their work;
When fashion’s decree says a thing must be,
No woman will dare to shirk.

“So sweep, sweep, sweep,
Gather microbe and mud and dirt,
For style and wealth beat comfort and health,
And that is the song of the skirt.”

Change of Clothing

All the clothing of the body should be kept well aired, clean, and dry. The necessity of a frequent change of clothing depends largely upon the climate and the nature of one’s employment. As the skin, in the fulfilment of its natural function, is continually throwing off impurities and waste matters from the body, the clothing collects these impurities, and unless it is frequently changed, these poisons are absorbed and taken back into the blood.

The garments worn during the day should always be removed at night, and fresh, loose, comfortable night clothes substituted.

Careful attention should be given to changing and adjusting the clothing so as to provide against all the emergencies and sudden changes of the weather. In some localities, the difference in temperature between the day and the night is so great as to make it necessary to give constant attention to one’s clothing.

When taking journeys, either long or short, it is wise to make ample provision against all possible changes.

Clothing that has become wet or damp from rain or even from perspiration, should be changed as soon as possible. Great injury may be received by sitting a few hours, or sometimes even a few minutes, in wet, or even damp clothing, and particularly with wet, cold feet.

"Fashion has decreed that skirts shall be worn short in the future." Ladies Home Journal, 1907. Illustration by Philippe G. Dreyfus, 1913 Paris.

“Fashion has decreed that skirts shall be worn short in the future.” Ladies Home Journal, 1907. Illustration by Philippe G. Dreyfus, 1913 Paris.

The Microbe’s Lament

A microbe sat in the busy street;
A wretched wee mite was he;
And the tears in floods from his woeful eyes
Poured silent and frequentlee.
‘Alas and alack! I am doomed!’ he cried,
In a voice that was filled with pain.
‘On the trailing skirt I may ride no more—
And my soul is the shrine of pain.

“My heart turns back to the good old days
When over the slushy street,
The soggy skirt went dragging by
In the wake of the twinkling feet;
Oh, good old days, you are gone for aye!
And I sobbingly shriek and sigh;
For the skirt that once dragged in the filth and mud,
No travels three inches high!”

Compiled from Home and Health. Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1907.


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