The Only Fad That Originated Out of Illness

With the exception of Lady Gaga’s dress made out of meat, Alexandra of Denmark, the bride of the Prince of Wales, had one of the most peculiar fads ever. In fact, it was likely the only fad that got started because of an illness. As the result of a bout of rheumatic fever, she was left with a pronounced limp. Ladies of the era were in the habit of copying Alexandra, from the clothes she wore to the chokers that accompanied them. So, when Alexandra was seen limping, the ladies copied that too. In well-to-do hotspots of Britain, women began limping along in a style that suggested they had recently stepped on a discarded LEGO. At first, it was a DIY affair, with women grabbing odd shoes to help them limp more successfully. Then, clever shopkeepers realized there was a penny to be made by selling shoes in odd pairs. The wildly mismatched footwear, with one high heel and one low heel, soon caught on and became the latest rage. Then, as is the way with these things, fashion moved on. A fashion journal announced that the “Alexandra limp” was to be discontinued. That was made easy by the latest skirt of the season, which was to cling closely around the feet, causing women to walk as if their feet were tied together. Thus, the Alexandra limp was an impossibility, and no self-respecting woman of that era was going to ignore the latest fashion rules.