I have written articles about color theory and our associations with color on my blog before, but what about the lesser know side of color? It's darker, more menacing side? My first exposure into killer color was when a friend of mine mentioned that the bright green in women's dresses popular in the early part of the 20th century killed some who wore them. Ever since then, learning about fashion that killed has been a side hobby of mine.
From the drowning hazards of wool bathing costumes, to the flammability of crinolines, fashion throughout history has had a grudge against those who have worn it. Clothing was dangerous. The color you chose for your frock was also a deadly decision. That green I mentioned; it was made of arsenic and could make the wearer very ill or worse.
There have been others interested in the history of killer garments as well such as Alison Matthews David, who co-curated a museum exhibit in Canada (that closed June 2016) called Fashion Victims. There is also a book out by the same name by David that delves into all sorts of horrific fashion death traps. In the chapter about poisonous pigments an anecdote about the testing of a green dress for the Fashion Victims exhibition is shared. Was there enough arsenic in the dyed emerald dress to kill a lady? Had the passage of time lessened the effects of the dresses killer qualities? If it didn't kill, it was definitely harming those who's skin came into contact with it. In the 19th century professionals considered arsenic an irritant poison. It produced sores and scabs. Even if you weren't dying from your fashion choices, they were making you feel and look hideous; much like the white lead face powder and paint from the 16th century. (More on that another time)
I thought I'd compile a little light reading and watching for other clothing history enthusiasts like myself. If your interest was piqued, take a look (this is also a list of articles I used as reference):
All this talk about killer clothes raises the question ... are you dying to be fashionable?