9 Popular Things Used for Completely Different Purposes in the Past

Clothing is very importance today. We no longer notice how the grocery turns into a fashion show. Mechanically we pull on our favorite trendy hoodie, fasten Velcro on branded sneakers, put an eco-bag in our pocket … But few people know that these things were intended for completely different, “unfashionable” purposes.

1. The pencil skirt was invented on board the airplane

To create such a model of a skirt, designers were inspired by a chance . In 1908 Mrs. Hart O. Berg became the first American woman to fly an airplane. To prevent her fluffy dress from fluttering during flight, lady tied it below the knees with a ribbon. Probably, French fashion designer Paul Poiret developed Berg’s idea and created a narrow pencil skirt that still holds a special place in any women’s wardrobe to this day.

2. French manicure was created for Hollywood actresses

French manicure has existed for a long time, but it gained popularity only in 1976. Jeff Pink, founder of Orly nail polish company, invented it specifically for Hollywood actresses at the request of directors. The fact is that each change of actresses’ manicure entailed huge money and time expenses that had to be reduced. Then Pink came up with a ideas – covering the nails with a flesh-colored varnish. The directors liked this, and the actresses and stylists liked the versatility and femininity that did not overshadow the costume.

3. The progenitor of a string bag

The history of the creation string bag began at the end of the 19th century. This item was invented by owner of the Saarense brand, an entrepreneur from the Czech Republic Vavrin Krchil. He was successful in making hair nets until short haircuts came into fashion. To save his business, Krchil added handles to the mesh. This is how a string bag was born. It got a usual name in the USSR: such a wallet did not take up much space, and they carried it with them at random – in case they managed to buy something at lunchtime or on the way from work.

4. Pompom – a device for softening head blows

Pompons were worn by French sailors to protect their heads from blows in the cramped ship spaces. Today, the ceilings of the cabins have become higher, but the tradition of sewing a red pom-pom onto a white peakless cap among French sailors has been preserved to this day.

5. Peignoir – Garment for women

A peignoir is a long outer garment for women which is frequently sheer and made of chiffon or another translucent fabric. The word comes from French peigner, to comb the hair describing a garment worn while brushing one’s hair, originally referring to a dressing gown or bathrobe.

6. Orange lining of jackets as a signal for rescue

Orange lining was originally an indispensable element jacket pilots at the beginning of the XX century. After ejection, pilot put on his jacket, and the bright orange color attracted the attention of the search and rescue team. Over the years, this piece has come into vogue along with the robust construction and excellent thermoregulation of the military bomber jacket.

7. Arrows trousers were considered most practical earlier, because they looked like new longer

There is an opinion that in the 19th century, arrows on men’s trousers appeared with one purpose – to get rid of stretching trousers in the knee area. Those arrows trousers quickly became fashionable, and a special trouser press was invented for their creation, which made it possible to keep the clothes neat for as long as possible.

8. Tights appeared thanks to tap dance

According to one version, women’s tights became widespread thanks to the American tap dancer Ann Miller in the 1940s. The speed of movement of her legs during dance performances was so high that the stockings could not stand it and tore or slip. Miller had to sew them to underwear. However, it took a lot of her time, so she turned to a hosiery manufacturer with a request to create a complete “belt + stockings” design .

9. Hoodies – clothes of American workers

The hoodie appeared in 1930s in the United States and was considered a very practical type of clothing. With a sturdy hood and warm fleece lining, this hoodie has been designed for workers working in cold weather in New York City freezers. Later, the hoodie became widely popular due to several factors: the development of hip-hop culture, the release of the blockbuster “Rocky” and the introduction of fashion for printing university logos on clothes.

Do such stories influence your attitude towards familiar things?

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