Does Government affect fashion?

While eating my lunch I came across an incredibly interesting article on the BBC website about The Secret History of Fashion Laws and was amazed at how minor “rules” when growing up force you to conform to an ideology. Not only that, but looking back across the globe, the surprising lengths (literally) establishments will go to in order to create an ideal.

Lets take a look at some of the more comical (to us, probably not at the time) laws that were passed:

  • Greece: In 7th Century BC the first written Greek legal code banned women from wearing gold jewellery and embroidered robes unless she was a self-confessed prostitute

We’d definitely be in a bit of a pickle if this law had been passed – take a look at some of the accessories from Topshop hitting the High St right now:


  • Germany: The Germans had many sumptuary laws according to the article – one of which was banning people from wearing “very wide trousers”

Although wide leg trousers have not graced our catwalks for a while now there are still some options out there that flatter petite frames, adding shape. Check out the Olsen twins rocking both the casual and smart looks:


  • England: We were no better. In Tudor times there were specific measurements as to how big the ruffles could be around your neck

Err…introducing big collars and I mean BIG:


Although these seem fairly silly now, the measurements detail still exists today; at least it did when I was in school – which wasn’t all that long ago! We had a strict length for how long your skirt needed to be – it was a Church of England school, but that’s beside the point. Now teachers didn’t go so far as to get a ruler out and measure, but it was common knowledge that if your skirt didn’t come to your knees while sat you would be told off!

But how far do we take it? Schools in America ban gang colours, which to me makes sense, but are all these rules forcing young people to break out and rebel against conformist fashion? I’d argue that this is part and part of fashion – breaking the rules/trends in order to push the boundaries and discover new ones. However, I have to say, that once a trend pops up in Liverpool around 80% of girls will be rocking it – so is this not being trapped by fashion…following and keeping up with the trends?

That’s for you to decide.

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