When High-Class Ladies Wore Masks That Made It Impossible to Speak

Here is a bit of history about some of our ancestors that I had not heard before. For refined, upper-class ladies in 16th-century Europe, getting a tan, especially on your face, was not a good look.

The implication of such coloring was that one must work outside, and thus, quite possibly be poor (cue gasps and swooning faints). So to make sure they didn’t get burned, some 16th-century ladies wore face masks called visards (or vizards) that covered their delicate visages. Unfortunately, the masks also made it so they couldn’t speak. And, look as if they belonged to an evil cult.

You can find this interesting article by Eric Grundhauser in Atlas Obscura at: http://bit.ly/2mppytY.


…..The implication of such coloring was that one must work outside, and thus, quite possibly be poor….

This is the same reason our 18th and 19th century ancestors wore sunbonnets and gloves and carried parasols . Only after the upper classes began to devote their days to outdoor sports such as golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, horseback riding and trophy-hunting safaris, did a glowing tan become associated with the kind of healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle of leisure that only the rich and famous could afford and a pale complexion become associated with the poverty and disease running rampant in the crowded living conditions of the urban poor.



THere are vestiges of that today.:} I saw a small gathering of elderly ladies at the beach , all wearing very wide brimmed hats.


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