1920s mugshot

A mugshot from the 1920s

The world is full of laws that are strange and sometimes very funny at the same time. Clothing and fashion also have their bizarre laws that were given a long time ago and, even though many of these weird laws are repealed, some are still on the books. While some laws don’t make much sense, others make you think of the event that caused these laws to appear.

Here is a collection of strange yet funny laws from around the world relating to clothes, fashion, grooming, etiquette and more!

 

1. Clothing and fashion

1. In US state Alabama, there is a law that forbids men from wearing a funny fake mustache to church.

2. Another law in Alabama claims that it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket at any time.

3. In Castellammare di Stabia, which is small town south of Naples, Italy, the mayor has ordered the police to fine women who show too much cleavage or who wear miniskirts. He received a lot of criticism, but anyone who was showing too much skin could be fined up to €300 / $395.

1920s bathing suit law

A beach official measuring women’s bathing suits in the 1920s.

4. On a similar note, in America a woman is not allowed to wear a bathing suit on a highway, unless she is accompanied by at least two police offers or is armed with a club.

5. Speaking of bathing suits, to swim in the ocean at Brighton Beach in Australia, one must have a neck-to-knees swimsuit.

6. Another law from Australia states that it is forbidden to go out on the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face. These are considered to be the tools of a cat burglar.

7. Also, in Victoria, Australia, women are not allowed to wear hot pink pants after midday on Sundays.

8. In South Africa, young people wearing bathing suits need to keep a distance from each other of at least 12 inches 30.4 cm. Next time you go to the beach in South Africa, remember to bring your tape measure!

9. In Thailand, a law says that you may not leave your house without wearing underwear. How do they know?

10. Another Thai law claims that one must always wear a shirt when driving a car.

11. A law in Fargo, North Dakota (USA) claims that a person who is wearing a hat when they are dancing or is present at an event where people are dancing can be jailed for their act. There is no law saying the same about pants.

12. North Dakota seems to be a state filled with funny fashion laws. In this US state, it is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on.

13. Speaking of shoes, a law from Portland, Oregon states that one needs to tie his shoelaces while walking down the street.

14. A law in Cleveland, Ohio makes it illegal for women to wear patent leather shoes in public so that they don’t give a gentleman an unintentional peek show.

15. South Dakota also has some great fashion laws. Here, a horse is not allowed to enter Fountain Inn unless it’s wearing pants.

16. In Paris, a law from 1799 states that women who want to “dress like a man” and wear trousers; “must obtain special permission from the police” first. Who knew?

17. A city in US state Arizona makes it illegal for men to wear suspenders.

18. In Britain, it is technically illegal to stand within 100 yards 91.4 meters from a ruling monarch if you are not wearing any socks.

19. Remaining in the UK, a 1313, makes it illegal for anyone to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armor.

20. In California, there is a law that says that you cannot wear cowboy boots unless you own at least two cows.

21. A US federal law claims that women may not drive wearing their housecoats.

22. In Switzerland, you are not allowed to hang your clothes outside to dry on Sundays.

23. In Washington State, painting polka dots on an American flag is illegal.

24. A Wisconsin law makes it clear that people who look offensive may not go out in public. Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

 

 

2. Grooming, etiquette and everything else

There are also some strange laws regarding washing and grooming.

25. In US state Florida, it is considered an offence to take a shower naked.

26. Speaking of nudity, in Minnesota there is law that forbids sleeping naked.

27. In Indiana, you are not allowed to take a bath between October and March.

28. If you are a man with a mustache in US state Iowa, you may not kiss a woman… in public. How about another man?

29. Speaking of kisses, a kiss is not allowed to last more than five minutes in the USA, and in France you are not allowed to kiss on railroads. That’s fair…

30. In the UK, a 1837 law says that a women is allowed to bite off a man’s nose if he is kissing her against her will.

31. However, women don’t have it all so good in the UK, as it is illegal for a woman to eat chocolate on a public conveyance.

Window cage

Apparently, there were no laws again window cages. These appeared during the 1930s and were destined to offer children more sunlight.

32. In US state Nebraska, a mother may not give her daughter a perm without a state license.

33. If you are getting your hair done in Florida, you are not allowed to fall asleep under the dryer.

34. In Michigan, according to the state law, a woman’s hair is her husband’s propriety, so she has to obtain his permission before altering it.

35. A law in Omaha states that a man is not allowed to run around with a shaved chest. Walk, yes, run, no.

 

36. In New York, it is illegal to greet someone by putting your thumb to your nose and wiggling your fingers.

1920s lobster

Apparently there were no laws regarding walking a lobster

37. In Vermont one is not allowed to whistle underwater.

38. In Waynesboro, Virginia, it is illegal to tickle women

39. Speaking of laughing, in Idaho, you may not be seen in public without a smile on your face.

40. If you want to make a grimace, note that in Illinois and Oklahoma, it is not legal to make faces at dogs.

41. In New Jersey, it is illegal to frown to a police officer.

42. Another NJ law states that it is illegal to annoy someone of the opposite sex. Apparently, people in New Jersey are very sensitive.

43. In the USA, if you bite someone with your natural teeth is considered “simple assault”, white biting someone with false teeth is “aggravated assault”.

44. And to top it all off, a law from Alaskan capital Juneau says that if you own a flamingo, you may simply not allow it to go to a barber shop.

 

 

As you can see, these laws are not taken seriously because they simply do not apply to modern living. However, they are a great window to the mentalities of the 18th and 19th century and to the way people solved issues within their communities.

 

Fraquoh and Franchomme

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading: 15 Fashion Facts

P.S. What weird laws do you know? Would you suggest any new laws regarding clothing and fashion? For articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!