By Liza Picard
Last updated 2011-02-17
27th March 1667 'I did go to the Swan; and there sent for Jervas my old periwig-maker and he did bring me a periwig; but it was full of nits, so as I was troubled to see it (it being his old fault) and did send him to make it clean.'
Nits, lice, body odours - not glamorous, and not visible in the portraits of the time. Charles II, the 'masquerading monarch', took to wigs when he saw his first grey hairs, and most men followed him. He also pioneered the predecessor of the three-piece suit - knee breeches, waistcoat and long jacket. Women were still encased in stiff corsets, and encumbered with long skirts. Men wore linen drawers, women did not wear knickers.
Patches - artificial beauty spots - were worn by both sexes. Little bits of mouse skin could replace unfashionable eyebrows. Cosmetics were alarming. Ceruse, containing lead, produced the desirable mat white complexion, even on a smallpox-pitted skin, but it smelt, and cracked, and poisoned the wearer.
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