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If you think that some of the short coats and vests worn by young people and designed by labels are weird, you should have seen what our ancestors used to wear to keep themselves warm in the winter. From hats and scarves to coats and jackets, you will find plenty of strange-looking items that make today’s runways look dull. Find out more about the strange fashion history below.

“Wackerhaus 01 – Copenhagen Fashion Summit” by Copenhagen Fashion Summit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1 – Skirts Worn By Men

Skirts were originally worn by men and women alike. They are one of the oldest garments of mankind, and provide less tailoring and more ventilation than trousers. In ancient times, there was no distinction between men’s and women’s style the way it is now. Look at paintings in Egypt or consider the toga of Roman men.

While it’s rare to see men in skirts today without a trip to the Scottish Highlands or fashion’s front rows, it used to be common in ancient times. Today, the outerwear trend is changing again, and you can see skirts worn by men on a number of designers’ catwalks and in high street stores every season.

2 – Unusual Coats

In the 1940’s, there were strict rules to tailored coats. Coats in the 40’s could not have a bi-swing back, or more than two pockets – although that was back then people didn’t carry purses, phones, and makeup bags in their pockets. All coats had to be below-the-knee length, and both men and women wore wool trench coats. Later, in the 1950’s, the swagger style came in, and it was much shorter, with a swing pleat. If you want to view more fashion trends and research the current market, you will be surprised how much they resemble historic designs.  

3 – Bizarre Shoes

If you think that some of today’s shoes and boots are strange, you should have a look at what people wore in Japan in the 18th Century. Platform shoes can be uncomfortable today, but don’t come closer to the historic examples of bizarre clogs worn by apprentice geishas.

Men in the 18th Century had the pleasure to wear high heels, combined with pointy shoes: something that is generally seen as women’s privilege today. In Lebanon, in the Middle Ages, women wore silver studded wooden stilettos with two pointy heels to balance on – but it doesn’t come close to the first heelless shoe (which challenges the most experienced models, too).

4 – Hobble Skirts

Hobble skirts were very restrictive. They were tight just under the knees, and made it almost impossible for women to take large steps. The designer might have been focusing on teaching young women to walk in a “ladylike” manner, but it shackled the ladies’ legs and prevented them from running. Mind that back in the early 20th century, women didn’t really engage in jogging.

Whatever you think of the fashion of the past, you need to admire people who put up with the strange tends above. Today’s designers, trying to impress and shock their audience at the same time, can also come up with some strange and almost unwearable ideas. Remember that fashion is there to guide you and not to make the rules.