Humans have invented some very strange laws over the years, and some of the weirdest ones have applied to fashion. If you ever attended a private school with strict uniforms and dress codes, then you probably understand what it means to have your fashion regulated, but the following fashion laws from history take the cake.
Only Dukes and Marquises Can Wear Leopard Fur
Go to any bar or disco and you will find plenty of people decked out in leopard print outfits, but in Elizabethan England, you had to be careful about what kind of fur you adorned yourself with. During Queen Bess the First's reign, you had to have a certain level of status if you wanted to wear the finest of furs. For example, ermine, leopard, genet (civet) and lucern (lynx) furs could only be worn by royalty.
Poor Folks Can't Wear Lace in Old Massachusetts
These days, if you take a walk through downtown Massachusetts, you'll see that everyone is wearing whatever they want. If you had the desire of dressing head-to-toe in white lace, you might get a few odd glances, but you certainly wouldn't get in trouble with the law. This wasn't always the case. In 1651, a Massachusetts law was passed that prohibited anyone below a certain poverty line from wearing silver or gold lace, silk or scarves.
Perhaps the worst thing about the law, however, was that they couldn't even wear bobbin, a kind of homemade lace, which is commonly referred to as bone lace. So they weren't even allowed to make their own!
Roman Men Don't Wear Silk: It's Just Too Weird
Ancient Romans were always suspect of Chinese people. They called them orientals and they never trusted them completely, if at all. This caused many conservative Romans to see silk, which was brought to them from Asia by way of the silk road, as having a powerful and corrupting influence.
Romans distrusted silk so much that they held a debate about it in the Roman Senate and passed a law which forbade men from wearing the material. According to one senator, silk should not be permitted to "degrade the male sex."
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