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7 Fascinating Facts about Victorian Women


The Victorian Era was an interesting time in history. We still admire the fashion and what people looked like based on the pictures and paintings we see from that time. But it was also a very strange time, and once you dig deeper you find out that all those pretty pictures are just the top layer that’s hiding a whole bunch of fascinating and sometimes bizarre things. So let’s talk about some of these things.

1. Black Clothing Was Super Popular

You might think that it looked very chic, but the real reason behind black clothing was high levels of pollution. There was so much dust in the air, mostly from coal, that it simply didn’t make sense to wear light colors. If you wore a white dress, it would become grey very quickly, so most women opted for black dresses.

2. Mourning Rings

Another strange thing that Victorians did was wearing mourning jewelry. Women would often have rings made of black onyx to symbolize mourning for the deceased person, and what’s even weirder they would often have a piece of hair encapsulated instead of a gem, to remember the person who passed away.

3. Crying Actresses For Funerals

It was very common for people to hire women to cry at funerals, especially in cases when the deceased didn’t have much family or a wife. So people would hire women to cry hysterically at funerals to make the person who died seem loved and sorely missed.

4. Arsenic Beauty

Many of the cosmetics in the Victorian era had arsenic as an ingredient, and it wasn’t a secret either, it was a selling point. Women believed that these products would make their skin look better and softer, but of course, frequent use of this makeup would lead to some horrible consequences. Many people got arsenic poisoning and often became sick and died from it.

5. Corsets Were Popular

It’s not a secret that women wore corsets in Victorian times, but what few people know is that at times the fashion would take a turn for the grotesque, cinching women’s waists to be as small as 40 cm. This caused not only breathing problems but often led to organ displacement, and serious medical issues.

6. Modesty Boards

This is something we rarely hear about, but since it was considered to be super risky and inappropriate to show one’s ankles, women wore dresses that covered their feet fully. However, when they sat down, that could expose their ankles, and that’s why modesty boards were invented.

7. Afternoon Visits

It was considered rude and a sign of bad manners to visit someone in the first half of the day, so if a woman wanted to pay a visit to a friend she had to wait until at least 3 PM to go there. On top of that, it was impolite to stay for too long, so visits were always short, and if someone else came by while you were visiting someone, the polite thing to do was to leave.