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Looking Too Stylish Used to Be Illegal

Throughout history, lawmakers have occupied themselves with making it easier to identify people by class. It was such a concern that there’s actually a specific name for these kinds of laws: sumptuary laws, which were made for the purpose keeping peasants from dressing, dining, or traveling more luxuriously than the upper classes.

The laws may sound horrifying today, but they were partly used to deter people from going into debt by eating and dressing beyond their means. It used to be easy enough to convince the world you were rich and powerful just by looking the part, and as a result, some people would blow their funds on fine clothes and extravagant feasts that they couldn’t afford. One Elizabethan law from 1574 speaks of:

“… the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen … who, allured by the vain show of things, do not only consume themselves, their goods, and lands which their parents left onto them, but also run into such debts and shifts as they cannot live out of danger of laws without attempting unlawful acts.”

That’s not to say that these laws weren’t also ridiculous. One English law dictated that a cardinal was permitted to eat up to nine dishes at a meal while the rest of the nobility all the way up to the duke could only eat seven. This law was, not surprisingly, written by an English cardinal

Then there’s the ancient Greek law stating that no free woman was allowed to be accompanied by more than one maid servant when walking down the street. But graciously enough, this law only applied if the woman was sober.

The sumptuary laws limiting clothing options got oddly specific. In England, prostitutes were required to wear their dresses inside-out and servants were forbidden from wearing pointed shoes and puffed and slashed sleeves. Only royals were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with ermine fur, while nobles could wear clothes trimmed with fox and otter. The color purple was something that also belonged exclusively to the royal family. 

Sumptuary laws eventually withered away along with the traditional concepts of the noble and peasant classes. Though they existed for a brief period in Colonial America, there are no laws in place today that would stop you from buying Beyoncé's latest award show outfit. 

[h/t: io9]

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fun
These Super Realistic Ski Masks Let Your Inner Animal Come Out
Beardo
Beardo

No matter how serious you are about your skiing performance, it doesn't hurt to have a sense of humor on the slopes. These convincing animal masks spotted by My Modern Met make it easy to have fun while tearing up the trails.

Each animal mask from the Canadian apparel company Beardo is printed with a photorealistic design of a different animal's face. Skiers can disguise themselves as a bear, dog, fox, orangutan, or even a grumpy-ish cat while keeping their skin warm. The only part of the face that stays exposed is around the eyes, but a pair of ski goggles allows wearers to disappear completely into their beastly persona.

The playful gear is practical as well. The stretchy polyester material is built to shield skin from wind and UV rays, while the soft fleece lining keeps faces feeling toasty.

Beardo's animal ski masks are available through their online store for $35. If you like to stay cozy in style, here are more products to keep you warm this winter.

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

Animal ski mask.

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

Animal ski mask.
Beardo

[h/t My Modern Met]

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Live Smarter
Learn to Tie a Tie in Less Than 2 Minutes
iStock
iStock

For most men—and Avril Lavigne-imitators—learning to tie a tie is an essential sartorial skill. Digg spotted this video showing how you can tie one the simple way, with a tabletop method that works just as well if you’re going to wear the tie yourself or if you're tying it together for someone else who doesn't share your skills.

The whole technique is definitely easier to master while watching the video below, but here's a short rundown: As laid out by the lifehack YouTube channel DaveHax, the method requires you to lay the tie out on a table, folded in half as if you're about to loop it around your neck.

With the back of the tie facing up, you loop over each end, then twist the thinner of the two loops around itself so it ends up looking like a mini-tie knot itself. You'll end up nestling the two loops together and snaking the thin tail of the tie through the whole thing. Then, essentially all you have to do is pull, and you can adjust the tie as you otherwise would to put it over your head.

Unfortunately, this won't teach you how to master the art of more complicated neckwear styles like the fancier Balthus knot or even a bow tie, but it's a pretty good start for those who have yet to figure out even the simplest tie fashions.

[h/t Digg]

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