Fashion victims through the ages

Fur trade: Raquel Welch in sabre-toothed tiger skin bikini.
Fur trade: Raquel Welch in sabre-toothed tiger skin bikini.
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Now here’s a bizarre statistic.

Two thirds of Brits have not only suffered in the name of fashion, but have actually been injured by it.

That is to say, something they have worn has metaphorically turned around and bitten them on the bum. Or maybe not metaphorically, if you consider the brevity of a thong these days.

Pudendums sliced like Kraft cheddar notwithstanding, most injuries are caused by one of the greatest ever inventions; the zip, the humble little device we stylistas take for granted every single day (unless you normally dress head to toe in either stretch Lycra or baggy trackie stuff. And then fashion is clearly not your priority, is it?)

Zippers have painfully nipped the skin of 37 per cent of Brits, probably in places I would really rather not ponder on.

Also rolling up in D&G at A&E are the women who insist on toting half their life around in gi-normous handbags twice the width of their bodies. Some 24 per cent of the victims of this particular trend have suffered a bad back as a result. Obviously, they can’t afford any private physiotherapy because they’ve spent thousands on a bit of Burberry-embossed cow hide.

In addition, some 17 per cent of Brits have developed a rash after wearing a fabric they had an allergic reaction to and 16 per cent hurt themselves after tripping over their untied shoe laces (that’ll be those lads with trainers slopping off their heels). Sprained ankles from falling over in high heels are a pretty obvious fashion risk. Damaged ears from catching earrings (seven per cent) less so to me, though to my death I will be a non earring-wearing person. (Holes in your earlobes? WHY?)

I must say, though, I am quite surprised there is no statistic for the number of blokes who have fallen head-first after their ridiculously low-slung jeans have fallen to their knees. The tally must run into millions.

Incidentally, these statistics have been garnered by a firm of personal injury specialists. Outwardly, First4lawyers are urging zippers to be more careful and accessory divas to accept that less is more... practical. They are calling for fashion victims to be sensible (and taller, one presumes, seeing as 15 per cent of women have tripped up because their maxi dresses are too long.)

Though you can almost see them sniffing the air like bloodhounds sensing a nice, juicy claim, can’t you?

We are fast becoming a nation which thinks suing the pants off someone is perfectly acceptable. After several million motoring whiplash “injuries”, I suppose the fashion victim had to be next.

Not that I agree with it. Not at all. What wusses have we become? Suffering in the name of fashion has been going on since time immemorial.

A nippy zip? We’ve got it easy. When cavewomen clambered into their Raquel Welch-style sabre-toothed tiger skin bikinis of a morning, pound to a penny a lace made of dried reindeer sinew dug in at the crotch. Not to mention the risk of being spotted out and about by the sabre-toothed tiger’s lonesome mate.

And what about those Elizabethans? How many double chins must have got caught up in those ruffs? Plus they rotted their faces away with make-up made of lead in the name of fashion.

The Victorians were fashionistas to the death. They utterly adored their corsets and to hell with the fact that prolonged wear permanently disfigured the rib cage and compressed the lungs.

They would draw in their waists to a handspan, then fall into faints all the way through dinner. But no matter if they woke up in the soup, then the fish and finally the chaise longue.

At least they knew they looked divine.