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How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion

Image via Wikicommons

Even as tuberculosis reached epidemic levels in Europe and the United States in the mid-1800s, the Victorians romanticized the disease and its deadly effects. For decades, many beauty standards emulated or highlighted the effects of the disease, and even as scientists gained greater understanding of the disease and how it was spread, it continued to keep its hold on fashion. Carolyn Day, a Furman history professor and author of the forthcoming book Consumptive Chic: A History of Fashion, Beauty and Disease, is quoted in an article in Smithsonian magazine about how tuberculosis impacted early 19th century British fashion and perceptions of beauty.

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