When Limping Was En Vogue

Cristen Conger

The trendsetting princess-turned-queen with a cane and a pet bird. Courtesy: Pinterest

In 1869, a strange fashion trend was afoot among the hippest London ladies. With the assistance of canes and mismatched shoes or specialty pairs with different heel heights, they affected what was called the Alexandra Limp.

"A monstrosity has made itself visible among the female promenaders in Princes Street," an article in the North British Mail reported. "It is as painful as it is idiotic and ludicrous."

These young Victorians were emulating fashion icon of the day Princess Alexandra of Denmark who had married the Prince of Wales in 1863. Well-heeled women copied the gorgeous and beloved royal's personal style, from the pearl chokers she wore to mask a scar on her neck right down to a temporary limp she developed after falling ill with rheumatic fever that left her with a stiff knee.

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, the princess became the queen consort of King Edward VII. By then, the Alexandra Limp had long fallen out of vogue. Not only had many fashion observers considered it unattractive and downright crass, it was officially usurped, a newspaper at the time reported, by a new skirt style whose tightly tapered hemline reduced women's gait to a mere shuffle.

Notice the signature scar-masking pearl choker.
Courtesy: Pinterest

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