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Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History

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A beautifully illustrated book about deadly fashion—real historical stories of strangulation by scarves, neckbreaking high heels, and riot-causing top hats—from the author of the popular histories Get Well Soon and It Ended Badly Isadora Duncan was Red Put on a scarf; popped off her head Fashion is silly, thought Stein It may tear your head from your spine   A darkly comic book A beautifully illustrated book about deadly fashion—real historical stories of strangulation by scarves, neckbreaking high heels, and riot-causing top hats—from the author of the popular histories Get Well Soon and It Ended Badly Isadora Duncan was Red Put on a scarf; popped off her head Fashion is silly, thought Stein It may tear your head from your spine   A darkly comic book about some surprisingly lethal garments. Featuring stories like the untimely demise of dancer Isadora Duncan caused by her signature red scarf and the bloody riot that greeted the appearance of the first top hat, among many others, these bite-size accounts will frighten and delight. Killer Fashion includes over twenty of these short tales along with beautiful full-page illustrations. Both morbid and humorous, this book will appeal to fans of Edward Gorey and dark historical trivia.


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A beautifully illustrated book about deadly fashion—real historical stories of strangulation by scarves, neckbreaking high heels, and riot-causing top hats—from the author of the popular histories Get Well Soon and It Ended Badly Isadora Duncan was Red Put on a scarf; popped off her head Fashion is silly, thought Stein It may tear your head from your spine   A darkly comic book A beautifully illustrated book about deadly fashion—real historical stories of strangulation by scarves, neckbreaking high heels, and riot-causing top hats—from the author of the popular histories Get Well Soon and It Ended Badly Isadora Duncan was Red Put on a scarf; popped off her head Fashion is silly, thought Stein It may tear your head from your spine   A darkly comic book about some surprisingly lethal garments. Featuring stories like the untimely demise of dancer Isadora Duncan caused by her signature red scarf and the bloody riot that greeted the appearance of the first top hat, among many others, these bite-size accounts will frighten and delight. Killer Fashion includes over twenty of these short tales along with beautiful full-page illustrations. Both morbid and humorous, this book will appeal to fans of Edward Gorey and dark historical trivia.

30 review for Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History

  1. 4 out of 5

    [Shai] Bibliophage

    Killer Fashion is a very informative and quite an entertaining book to read. This 48-page book tackles some of the fashion mishaps in the history that will leave you shock in the end. I just found a certain illustration in this picture book to be not as exactly the trivia it wants to portray; the artwork for the Lotus Feet looks like more Japanese instead of Chinese women. In spite of this minor inaccuracy, the facts about the invention and the terrible accidents caused by these peculiar fas Killer Fashion is a very informative and quite an entertaining book to read. This 48-page book tackles some of the fashion mishaps in the history that will leave you shock in the end. I just found a certain illustration in this picture book to be not as exactly the trivia it wants to portray; the artwork for the Lotus Feet looks like more Japanese instead of Chinese women. In spite of this minor inaccuracy, the facts about the invention and the terrible accidents caused by these peculiar fashion trends provides interesting information. Indeed, fashion kills unintentionally. Some will follow the fad even though they might not aware that their lives are at stake — because of fame and for aesthetic purposes, they will sacrifice anything just to appear glamorous.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wright

    The Author is biased, But this tiny tome, Of fashion fatalities, Is a simply Must-Own. From crinoline fires, To a top hat-fueled riot, To head-popping scarves! I insist that you buy it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Your clothes... are trying to murder you. Now that I've gotten your attention - no, seriously, your clothes really are trying to murder you, and they've got a rap-sheet about a mile long. KILLER FASHION is about deadly garments - and also deadly cosmetics, deadly wigs, deadly hair dye... it takes the word "garments" and stretches it a little far. But anyway, KILLER FASHION is about things you can wear (but probably shouldn't) that are actu Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Your clothes... are trying to murder you. Now that I've gotten your attention - no, seriously, your clothes really are trying to murder you, and they've got a rap-sheet about a mile long. KILLER FASHION is about deadly garments - and also deadly cosmetics, deadly wigs, deadly hair dye... it takes the word "garments" and stretches it a little far. But anyway, KILLER FASHION is about things you can wear (but probably shouldn't) that are actually deadly, or...err, potentially deadly? Some of these things are obviously bad, like the mercury that used to be in the felt of hats, which is why hatters were called "mad hatters." Or the lead that used to be in makeup. Or the ammonia and bleach(!) concoction that Jean Harlow allegedly used to get her signature platinum blonde look. Others are... kind of lame. Like, bras - because the underwire can cause you to be shocked by lightning (seriously?). Or heels - because you might trip and fall. Or neck-ties... because some psychopath might grab you by your tie and strangle you with it. In those instances, I wouldn't say it's the clothing that's deadly - it's the weather, the carelessness, and the innate psychotic behavior in certain human beings that are contributing to one's demise. Also, these "killer" fashion objects are arranged in alphabetical order, but certain letters are skipped. That felt lazy to me (almost as lazy as writing about deadly lightning conducting bras, hmm?). I noticed you skipped Q - you could have done qipao, which has a spot of dark history during the Qing dynasty. There was also no "P", I believe, and you could have totally done "piercings" for that, which can be incredibly dangerous if done poorly, especially if done near arteries as in the tongue. Likewise, skinny jeans (I can't remember if there was a "J") cause nerve damage if worn too tightly. This is just off the top of my head, people. I wanted to like KILLER FASHION more than I did, but it felt like a forced and half-assed effort. The poetry in here made the book feel young (how old is the intended audience for this book?), and the collection of "deadly" clothing assembled could have been, well, deadlier. I learned some new facts, which I'm always grateful for, but this collection really fell short of my expectations. Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy! 2.5 stars

  4. 5 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    👠 Fashionably Fatal Friday the 13th Feature 🎩 While I strongly believe that clothing's not supposed to hurt you, there are plenty of people that don't seem to have a problem with suffering in the name of fashion. There are heels that ruin your feet, jeans so skinny the logo button ends up imprinted on your belly, clothes you can't sit down in, clothes that make you sweat, clothes that make you freeze, and ties that should come with a choking hazard warning. But what lengths would you go to in ord 👠 Fashionably Fatal Friday the 13th Feature 🎩 While I strongly believe that clothing's not supposed to hurt you, there are plenty of people that don't seem to have a problem with suffering in the name of fashion. There are heels that ruin your feet, jeans so skinny the logo button ends up imprinted on your belly, clothes you can't sit down in, clothes that make you sweat, clothes that make you freeze, and ties that should come with a choking hazard warning. But what lengths would you go to in order to pull off the latest style? Is a fashionable death in your future? I loved Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History so much that it has inspired me to break out in poetry to give you a taste of some of the wonderfully wacky causes of death in this book. Disclaimer: I know some of these 'rhymes' don't exactly rhyme but you will never, ever hear me claim that I think I'm a poet. Radium's glow makes you look hot Until your jaw begins to rot Your fancy bra's underwire May conduct that lightning's ire Are you ready to break your toes To fit into tiny shoes like those? Dye turns dark hair pale Until your kidneys fail Lice crawl all around your wig And that mouse is mighty big A man lay dying in the gutter "Blame that skirt", they heard him utter Breathe in those toxic fumes And you'll soon go looney tunes Fake silky attire was a phase Until it set the room ablaze Wear makeup laced with lead And you'll soon look pretty dead With plenty of opportunities to die gruesome deaths for both men and women, for wearers and makers of the often toxic or flammable items, Jennifer Wright's quirky book is perfect for those strange and unusual kindred spirits of mine who gravitate towards equally strange and unusual books. While I had heard of some of these torture devices and death traps disguised as clothes and accessories throughout history prior to reading this book, I hadn't read them in such an entertaining way before. I also learned a lot more than I would have expected from a book that's under 60 pages. With quotes from such sources as newspapers, a magazine and a medical journal, and including citations that allow those of us who are so inclined to delve deeper, Killer Fashion is one of those books I got a lot more morbid enjoyment out of than I should probably admit. Each fashion item is allocated two pages. One page has a paragraph ranging from a few sentences to a page of information. The opposite page has a four line poem under an almost full page illustration. Using black, white, grey and red (of course!), Brenna Thummler's illustrations ramp up the quirky factor nicely. Skeletal flapper girls dancing on stage? Brilliant! Just brilliant! I definitely need to read this book again and investigate some of the books referenced throughout. I'm saying this with the greatest respect to the book, its author and illustrator; this would be a perfect gift book for the weirdo in your life. I would love it if someone bought a copy for me! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you so much to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity) in exchange for honest feedback.

  5. 4 out of 5

    InkedBookDragon

    https://inkedbookdragon.blogspot.com Fashion can be deadly. There is no denying that. I have gotten many scarves caught on things or stumbled in my shoes. I am sure we all have had a mishap at some point and our clothes were partially to blame. Scarves plus car doors can definitely be a recipe for disaster. I once witnessed a man get his coat caught in a bus door and the bus started moving with him running next to it. That could have ended very badly if someone had not seen it and told the driver https://inkedbookdragon.blogspot.com Fashion can be deadly. There is no denying that. I have gotten many scarves caught on things or stumbled in my shoes. I am sure we all have had a mishap at some point and our clothes were partially to blame. Scarves plus car doors can definitely be a recipe for disaster. I once witnessed a man get his coat caught in a bus door and the bus started moving with him running next to it. That could have ended very badly if someone had not seen it and told the driver. Fashion has killer potential. I just finished "Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History" by Jennifer Wright. Many of the items discussed I knew about but some of them surprised me. It wasn't so much the fact that they were dangerous that surprised me but the fact that people still continued to wear or use them when they fully knew that they could die from it. I am currently thinking of all the deadly objects that are currently residing in my closet. I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes that may follow are directly from the text and are not my words. Isadora Duncan was Red Put on a scarf; popped off her head Fashion is silly, thought Stein It may tear your head from your spine I am not quite sure what it says about me when I admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could not help but chuckle and smile when reading the little poems that accompanied the information. Historical incidents for deadly objects and insidious habits are shown throughout this work, demonstrating the amount of research performed by the author. The illustrations and poetry definitely add a comical component to a very macabre subject. My morbid curiosity led me to this book and I am glad it did. I highly recommend it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This was a fun book detailing a lot of the horrible [and sometimes downright stupid] ways that people have endangered themselves for the name of fashion. I enjoyed the illustrations, the entries were short and informative, and there's even a bibliography in the back if you want to do some more reading. However I've got two complaints with this. The first is kind of nit-picky but I would have liked for the fashions I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This was a fun book detailing a lot of the horrible [and sometimes downright stupid] ways that people have endangered themselves for the name of fashion. I enjoyed the illustrations, the entries were short and informative, and there's even a bibliography in the back if you want to do some more reading. However I've got two complaints with this. The first is kind of nit-picky but I would have liked for the fashions to be in something resembling chronological order so we could see more of the evolution of one thing to another rather than just random entries. The second is that while I know this was just supposed to be a short fun work I feel like there could have been some entry in the front or back about how even though there are a few fashions in here specific to men 'killer fashion' is mostly a gendered phenomenon and is rooted both in seeing women as more decoration than actual people and in some cases even purposely restricting their movements to make it harder to exert / defend themselves physically. I feel like this is an important thing to touch on when talking about this kind of history even in a work like this and was a bit put off that it wasn't even mentioned in passing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessi ♥️ H. Vojsk

    This was a really great illustrated book about fashion that went up in flames, that poisoned you with the gas they created when you wash them or when they go up in flames and a lot more. It was kind of creepy, surprising and really different.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    1.) This was so much fun, and 2.) yep, I’m officially all the way obsessed with Jennifer Wright now.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    When I was a teenager, my goals were Wednesday Addams and Lydia Deetz, and I would have loved this book in my Christmas stocking. Who knew there were so many flammable fashions? Every other page is an item of clothing that makes you catch fire (some of them even self-ignite). Honestly, based on this I'm pretty surprised that all of humanity hasn't burned to death. If you're looking for a small Halloween present or Christmas stocking filler for a fashion student or any spooky-cute folk you know, When I was a teenager, my goals were Wednesday Addams and Lydia Deetz, and I would have loved this book in my Christmas stocking. Who knew there were so many flammable fashions? Every other page is an item of clothing that makes you catch fire (some of them even self-ignite). Honestly, based on this I'm pretty surprised that all of humanity hasn't burned to death. If you're looking for a small Halloween present or Christmas stocking filler for a fashion student or any spooky-cute folk you know, this is ideal.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kibblesmith

    Funny, illuminating, grim, tiny, and beautifully illustrated and designed, I love this Gorey-homaging educational journey through fashion history. And if I saw a top hat for the first time, I would trample people too. This should be a History Channel show with animated interludes.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Starbubbles

    I really liked this, but I felt the sections were too short. I'm just a nerd who has a thirst for knowledge. Fashion knowledge! Mwahaha! The poems were good too! I'm glad i finally got to read this. I really liked this, but I felt the sections were too short. I'm just a nerd who has a thirst for knowledge. Fashion knowledge! Mwahaha! The poems were good too! I'm glad i finally got to read this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Very concise overview of sometimes deadly garments, materials, and trends throughout history (asbestos clothing, belladonna eyedrops, corsets. etc. Even a blip where underwire in bras acted as a conductor when two women were struck by lightning -- yes, that happened). Each entry is only about a page long and accompanied by a gorgeous red and monochrome illustration captioned with irreverent couplets ("London gents spent hard-earned dollars/ to buy starched detach’ble collars. /But through the nig Very concise overview of sometimes deadly garments, materials, and trends throughout history (asbestos clothing, belladonna eyedrops, corsets. etc. Even a blip where underwire in bras acted as a conductor when two women were struck by lightning -- yes, that happened). Each entry is only about a page long and accompanied by a gorgeous red and monochrome illustration captioned with irreverent couplets ("London gents spent hard-earned dollars/ to buy starched detach’ble collars. /But through the night, if necks might swell, /by morning they’d be stiffs as well."). They had a macabre Gashlycrumb Tinies vibe, which I love. This would make a nice gift for your Lydia Deetz friends Only about 50 pages long but anything Wright puts out is well worth reading. For a better taste of Wright's quick witted telling of history, check out Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, my favorite of her work.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Jennifer Wright spotlights some of the deadly fashion practices throughout history because, even today, fashion has always had a deadly side. Covering everything from flammable clothes to killer hair dye, we get a quick overview of some of the deadliest fashions that is riddled through history. I love when I come across books that cover some of the lesser talked about topics, so I was excited when I saw that Wright write a book about dangerous fashion practices. While it’s short and to the point, Jennifer Wright spotlights some of the deadly fashion practices throughout history because, even today, fashion has always had a deadly side. Covering everything from flammable clothes to killer hair dye, we get a quick overview of some of the deadliest fashions that is riddled through history. I love when I come across books that cover some of the lesser talked about topics, so I was excited when I saw that Wright write a book about dangerous fashion practices. While it’s short and to the point, it does present several deadly cases can send readers off to research the fashionable items they didn’t know were deadly. I do think that some of the cases are reaching a bit, such as killer high heels, but I still found the book enjoyable. I also learned about a few items that I didn’t know existed, such as belladonna. I heard it referenced before, but I always thought it referred to a painting and not hazardous eye drops. I do wish the book was longer and contained more information about each item and its history, but I don’t have any complaints. I was aware that it was going to be short and to the point when I saw the page count before picking up the book, so I didn’t go in expecting a very informative book. Because of the length and overall writing style, I think it’s a great introductory book for people who are looking to learn something new but also want that information condensed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    annie k

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Honestly, the more I read (or watch...I heart documentaries) about our collective historic fashion faux pas and interests, the more out of fashion I wish to be. Granted, I’m not that far removed from total unfashionableness anyway, but... Also, the entire industry has always been infuriating, hasn’t it? I mean, procuring entire railway cars to bring your madness tainted workforce to and fro’ instead of, I dunno, using non-madness inducing ingredients in the production of goods seems a bit... wron Honestly, the more I read (or watch...I heart documentaries) about our collective historic fashion faux pas and interests, the more out of fashion I wish to be. Granted, I’m not that far removed from total unfashionableness anyway, but... Also, the entire industry has always been infuriating, hasn’t it? I mean, procuring entire railway cars to bring your madness tainted workforce to and fro’ instead of, I dunno, using non-madness inducing ingredients in the production of goods seems a bit... wrong. Keeping the facts of radium exposure from young fashionable gals who like to look cute at the clubs... argh 😤 I decided on my 4-Star rating because I wasn’t tickled with some of the poetry (though I should make it 5-Stars, as the entire book is tame enough to introduce younger people to the foibles of one’s fashion obsessions). Love the illustrations!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Manon the Malicious

    I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Killer Fashion listed all kind of fashionable items that ever killed people. Each item had two pages. One with a text explaining how it had kill and mentioning an example, the other page had an illustration and a pretty sarcastic poem. I really enjoyed it. I learnt stuff and laughed a bit too much. The illustrations were beautifully drawn and the poems, hilarious. A perfect sarcastic read for fashion lovers and haters, though it c I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Killer Fashion listed all kind of fashionable items that ever killed people. Each item had two pages. One with a text explaining how it had kill and mentioning an example, the other page had an illustration and a pretty sarcastic poem. I really enjoyed it. I learnt stuff and laughed a bit too much. The illustrations were beautifully drawn and the poems, hilarious. A perfect sarcastic read for fashion lovers and haters, though it could have been longer!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dallass

    Picked this up on a whim and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this. The author keeps it short and sweet, relaying enough information to pique your interest. The illustration and verse that accompany each killer fashion trend are amusing and the limited colour palette and simple style suit the text. My only gripe is that it doesn't delve further into the trends. 3.5 ⭐ Picked this up on a whim and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this. The author keeps it short and sweet, relaying enough information to pique your interest. The illustration and verse that accompany each killer fashion trend are amusing and the limited colour palette and simple style suit the text. My only gripe is that it doesn't delve further into the trends. 3.5 ⭐

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cassidy (Reminders of the Changing Time)

    Review available at http://bit.ly/2KzxpRY Review available at http://bit.ly/2KzxpRY

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This was a really fun and quick read about all the different historical fashion choices that have caused people to set themselves on fire... Actually, it delves into several different forms of dress-related fatalities, but I'd say a majority of them just end up being that the garment was flammable and there were a lot of candles around, so people died. Obviously, it's a dark subject matter, but the book, with its fun graphics and cringe-y poems, lightens it. History is weird and crazy. It's really This was a really fun and quick read about all the different historical fashion choices that have caused people to set themselves on fire... Actually, it delves into several different forms of dress-related fatalities, but I'd say a majority of them just end up being that the garment was flammable and there were a lot of candles around, so people died. Obviously, it's a dark subject matter, but the book, with its fun graphics and cringe-y poems, lightens it. History is weird and crazy. It's really sad that so many people suffered these freak wardrobe malfunctions and died from them... but who really thought it was a good idea to wear a three foot tall wig while lit candelabras hang from the roof nearby? ***I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ***This review is also posted on my blog

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wayne McCoy

    'Killer Fashion' by Jennifer Wright is a darkly humorous A to Z look at dangerous fashion trends through the ages. From artificial silk, which was flammable to wigs, which were also flammable and house lice, this book talks about fashion faux pas that actually created fatalities. Each entry is accompanied by an illustration and a poem that are reminiscent of Edward Gorey. The book finishes with a bibliography section for those who want to read more about killer ties or flammable crinolines. I had 'Killer Fashion' by Jennifer Wright is a darkly humorous A to Z look at dangerous fashion trends through the ages. From artificial silk, which was flammable to wigs, which were also flammable and house lice, this book talks about fashion faux pas that actually created fatalities. Each entry is accompanied by an illustration and a poem that are reminiscent of Edward Gorey. The book finishes with a bibliography section for those who want to read more about killer ties or flammable crinolines. I had fun reading this book, mainly because of the great illustrations and poems. This is definitely one you should get the morbid fashionista on your list. I received a review copy of this ebook from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    A quick and quirky look at the various ways humans' bizarre need to be fashionable has resulted in illness, injury and death. Full of trivia tidbits and gallows humor, Killer Fashion shows what happens when people are just DYING to be beautiful. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review. A quick and quirky look at the various ways humans' bizarre need to be fashionable has resulted in illness, injury and death. Full of trivia tidbits and gallows humor, Killer Fashion shows what happens when people are just DYING to be beautiful. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bridgette

    3.5 stars This is super short, which is it's only downfall for me. It's more a detailed list than any sort of historical narrative. Despite that, it was amusing, the illustrations were fun, and I learned something. 3.5 stars This is super short, which is it's only downfall for me. It's more a detailed list than any sort of historical narrative. Despite that, it was amusing, the illustrations were fun, and I learned something.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amill

    My birthday gift! 😁😁😁

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marta

    A very fun read and a great bibliography section to find more interesting reads.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna Maguire

    I thought that this was an excellent book! I loved the images, the historical facts were spot on and the added information given in the snippets with the pictures was great. I love reading books like this - I have given the book 5 stars - I really enjoyed it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    I feel like almost everything in this TINY book is common knowledge. I was shocked by how thin it was when I picked it up at the library, but figured what the heck... I liked the Breakup book from the author and also just picked up the Plague one. I guess I was initially disappointed that it's only about 5 pages long, but now I'm glad because the content was a waste of time. Also, the couple of items I was not familiar with....I googled while reading to both find out more and see them because th I feel like almost everything in this TINY book is common knowledge. I was shocked by how thin it was when I picked it up at the library, but figured what the heck... I liked the Breakup book from the author and also just picked up the Plague one. I guess I was initially disappointed that it's only about 5 pages long, but now I'm glad because the content was a waste of time. Also, the couple of items I was not familiar with....I googled while reading to both find out more and see them because the book was not giving me enough.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sam (RiverMooseReads)

    Super interesting, and I LOVED the illustrations, which are done entirely in white, black and red. If you like dark humor, then you'll like this. Its historical, but you don't need to have an avid interest in history or fashion to enjoy it. A super quick, fun read. Super interesting, and I LOVED the illustrations, which are done entirely in white, black and red. If you like dark humor, then you'll like this. Its historical, but you don't need to have an avid interest in history or fashion to enjoy it. A super quick, fun read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    With its small size, PBS Mystery Theater* like cover art and blurb that included a corny yet horrific poem, I knew this wasn't going to be your average historical book on dangerous fashion trends and that it wasn't going to be deadly serious. (pun intended) I feel like a horrible person for saying that it was entertaining and the artwork reminiscent of Edward Gorey along with the somewhat bad poetry was part and parcel of it all. Some of these people died horribly...because of fashion trends. Let With its small size, PBS Mystery Theater* like cover art and blurb that included a corny yet horrific poem, I knew this wasn't going to be your average historical book on dangerous fashion trends and that it wasn't going to be deadly serious. (pun intended) I feel like a horrible person for saying that it was entertaining and the artwork reminiscent of Edward Gorey along with the somewhat bad poetry was part and parcel of it all. Some of these people died horribly...because of fashion trends. Let that sink in for a minute. It was so cool to have a three-foot wig full of fleas and sometimes even a mouse and totally worth it to use animal fat to shine it up for the latest ball that people didn't worry about the dangers until it hit a candle in the chandelier, caught fire, and their lights went out, literally. Many of the trends or items I was familiar with although there were a few entirely new to me or at least I hadn't registered them before. For example, I'd heard of detachable collars for men's shirts, but had no idea that there was a period of time where some of them were made of highly flammable plastic and if they didn't kill you that way, they were so stiff that just nodding off could cut off your air supply bringing on your meeting with your maker just as fast as the flames. There is a growing number of small books that I could consider mini coffee table or gift books (6" X 7" or so) and this is one of them. Their fun, if not darkly fun, quick informative reads, often contain beautiful artwork, are completely more readable than the old school coffee table books (that let's face it are barely ever opened and seldom read, cover to cover) and don't require the huge coffee tables of yore. Killer Fashion isn't going to say lives or change what you wear so much as it will entertain you and the illustrations alone make it a work of art in my opinion. It also has a really well-done section on sources that may end up sending you down a bunch of google rabbit holes as well like it did me. Again, I should be bad being so entertained by such horrific things that happened to some of these people, but it's just so hard when you can, most of the time, see it coming and wonder why they didn't. I mean, if you see a woman wearing a fashion weight jacket and stilettos during a bad snow storm, you sort of have to figure she should know better, you know? *If you'd like to wonder where I came up with the PBS Mystery Theater reference see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/fts/... The fabulous opening sequences were done by the late Edward Gorey (1925-2000) and made me a fan for life. FYI- I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review. That doesn't change my opinion one bit, I'm all about the book, not where I got it from.

  28. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Killer Fashion from Jennifer Wright is a fun, attractive, and informative little book. Like many others I would have enjoyed a little more though I am not sure what type of more. This isn't meant to be a collection of in-depth essays on each fashion item so I don't think she needed to go deeper. While I would have liked more items I also don't know how well one can keep coming up with quirky little verses for too many more items. So I guess I may be wishing for something that could easily have m Killer Fashion from Jennifer Wright is a fun, attractive, and informative little book. Like many others I would have enjoyed a little more though I am not sure what type of more. This isn't meant to be a collection of in-depth essays on each fashion item so I don't think she needed to go deeper. While I would have liked more items I also don't know how well one can keep coming up with quirky little verses for too many more items. So I guess I may be wishing for something that could easily have made the book less enjoyable. The informative part of the book is as much fun as the verse and the drawings. A lot of the information isn't so much completely new (though quite a bit is) but in that category of information which contains all the interesting things we once read or heard but have since forgotten about. Having these types of tidbits brought up is almost like a nostalgic event each time. I actually called an old friend because one entry reminded me of a course where the topic was discussed and a friend and I had chatted about it over coffee later in the day. I had since forgotten the information and lost touch with my friend. Now I have touched base with an old friend thanks to a fun little entry in this book. I would recommend this to readers who like short fun books of, for lack of a better term, trivia. If you're the inquisitive type you may find yourself looking up some additional details, that is not a bad thing, I don't think this book was intended to be a comprehensive source for such information so it is not a weakness of the book that you will need to actually look something up for yourself beyond the basic description given here. In fact, some of us consider such "work" part of the fun of trivia type books. I also think this would make an ideal gift for anyone into either such books or into fashion. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Rowan

    This is a charming little book of horrific clothing, though disappointingly short. I have the sense that Wright  could have done so much more with most of the subjects. Still I enjoyed what I got, perfunctory as some of the entries seemed. Alas, the format didn't seem to give enough scope to Wright's often gruesome sense of humor. The impression one gets is that history is one long parade of people dying horribly because of their fashion choices, most of them ending up as human torches.  Crinolin This is a charming little book of horrific clothing, though disappointingly short. I have the sense that Wright  could have done so much more with most of the subjects. Still I enjoyed what I got, perfunctory as some of the entries seemed. Alas, the format didn't seem to give enough scope to Wright's often gruesome sense of humor. The impression one gets is that history is one long parade of people dying horribly because of their fashion choices, most of them ending up as human torches.  Crinolines, that staple of mid-Victorian fashion, killed about 300 women a year in England, mostly by going up in flames.  But that wasn't their only danger. "Wearers who didn't go up in flames could be carried away by wind gusts that caught beneath their crinolines as they (ill-advisedly) walked along cliff tops." That certainly puts an unintentionally hilarious spin on stalking the cliffs, wailing for your lost love. Being carried off like an enormous, beribboned balloon isn't exactly the height of emo. The illustrations are charming, Edward Gorey-esque little  horrors filled with doomed, but weirdly bemused and often passive people, many with smoke or flame shooting out of their clothing or hair. Overall, fun, but nothing I'd reread.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    This was a clever idea, coolly executed, that I wish had been longer with more depth... I was aware of many of the fashion dangers highlighted herein - that didn't make reading about them here any less enjoyable, but it did leave me curious for more detail. The illustrations and poems were a fantastic addition to the text - darkly whimsical and often laugh-out-loud funny. Without them, this would have been three stars at most because of the brevity and lack of an underlying organizational princi This was a clever idea, coolly executed, that I wish had been longer with more depth... I was aware of many of the fashion dangers highlighted herein - that didn't make reading about them here any less enjoyable, but it did leave me curious for more detail. The illustrations and poems were a fantastic addition to the text - darkly whimsical and often laugh-out-loud funny. Without them, this would have been three stars at most because of the brevity and lack of an underlying organizational principle beyond the premise itself... I've seen other reviews mention that it would have been nice if the story-lets had been categorized somehow - chronologically, by body part, by type of danger represented, by men's v. women's focus. I don't know that I would have necessarily preferred one over the other, but it would have felt a little more organized if there had been something - and something that was explained, to tie the various clothing items together into more of a narrative. As it is, it feels more like anecdotes. Highly entertaining and fascinating ones, but anecdotes (as opposed to a more complete book) nevertheless... It is possible that I'm ascribing a need for more where no more was intended; if you want a cute, snarky, pithy but informative coffee table book, this does the trick nicely. But with a little more organization and connective tissue, it could have been a lot more too... My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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