FYI Sunday

Did you Spring forward?

How many enjoy a good historic movie and/or book?

What about all those great costumes from the various eras?

Now here is your FYI for this Sunday……some of the great fashion trends in history were because of an STD….

You read that right….syphilis may have been a boon to trends in fashion….

Syphilis, while nothing to be ashamed of, is not what you’d call a glamorous condition. It starts with painless sores followed by a rash, but left untreated by antibiotics, the disease’s tertiary phase can cause unsightly bulbous growths, necrotizing ulcers, and hair loss, not to mention more pressing concerns like heart and neurological damage. According to some scholars, these unfortunate side effects didn’t necessarily leave sufferers cowering in the shadows—in some cases, fashion may have evolved to help hide the signs of late-stage syphilis.

The most commonly cited example of this is the powdered wig, which didn’t become the sign of polite society we see in period films until the influence of King Louis XIV of France. Historians note that the wigs were of middling popularity until this young king began to don them during the 17th century. Louis XIV started to lose his hair around age 17, so it’s not surprising that he turned wigs into a fashion trend. But it’s quite possible that his hair loss—and perhaps that of his cousin, King Charles II of England, who also loved a good powdered wig—was due to syphilis. In any case, the royal love of fussy wigs provided a great cover for the truly countless number of syphilis patients running around Europe at the time.

Another, slightly more controversial theory: That codpieces served to mask the otherwise suspicious bulge created by medicated bandages wrapped around genital sores. Not all historians buy this notion, and the codpiece’s remarkably short-lived period of popularity means we know precious little about them. Too bad shoving stuff down your pants didn’t stick around.

Finally, our third potential syphilitic fashion moment: Sunglasses. Because, well, where else are you going to put your fake nose? Listen to this week’s episode to find out more.

(Popular Science)

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12 thoughts on “FYI Sunday

  1. We don’t have ‘clocks forward’ until the 29th.
    Luckily, I have never had an STD. I can only imagine the perfumes and potions needed to ward off the smell from those infected royals! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Concerning costumes from days gone by, how do you justify or explain the common Loincloth used by Indigenous in America as well as some of the invading Pioneers?

      1. Nice for them…..they still need to keep their pieces parts in place to avoid any lasting damage…..but what does that have to do with fashion being influenced by STDs? chuq

      2. Fashion is more or less designed to increase the spread of stds — if you haven’t noticed the bare suggestiveness of clothing these days — especially female clothing … everybody thinks that looking like a street walker is cool.

      3. I am speaking of some of the more revealing of today’s fashions … which are, indeed, very much capable of promoting stds.

      4. I cannot understand American Fashion freaks. It seems like a lot of women are competing against one another to see how much more of their skin they can show … and their choice of fashions reflects that whorish tendency. And I am sure it is this lustful tendency that leads to a lot more stds.

      5. Again John…the fashion was to hide the STD and you are talking about fashion causing an STD….apples and oranges to use a more simple explanation. chuq

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