Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion"

Smithsonian:

“Between 1780 and 1850, there is an increasing aestheticization of tuberculosis that becomes entwined with feminine beauty,”

...

“That’s because tuberculosis enhances those things that are already established as beautiful in women,” she explains, such as the thinness and pale skin that result from weight loss and the lack of appetite caused by the disease.

...

“We also begin to see elements in fashion that either highlight symptoms of the disease or physically emulate the illness,” Day says. The height of this so-called consumptive chic came in the mid-1800s, when fashionable pointed corsets showed off low, waifish waists and voluminous skirts further emphasized women’s narrow middles. Middle- and upper-class women also attempted to emulate the consumptive appearance by using makeup to lighten their skin, redden their lips and color their cheeks pink