Given that we’re in July, and that pretty much everyone around you spends an unhealthy amount of time at the beach trying to perfect their tan, you would be forgiven for thinking that is the way things have always been. But tans weren’t always de rigeur; they were actually frowned upon for a long time. Let’s take a quick history lesson; it’ll be fun, I promise.
So, the industrial revolution in the late 1800’s pretty much changed the whole concept of travel. People could get around more quickly, and at lower prices than ever before, so they travelled farther and discovered new horizons.
With the revolution in travel came the concept of holiday hot spots, like the French Riviera, which is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast part of France.
This came to add to the South’s attractiveness, which had already been recommended by doctors to cure a variety of diseases due to its climate. What had been a remote and fairly impoverished region of France soon became a playground for the British aristocracy and for the nobility of Europe.
This shift in attitudes would also translate into a change in women’s clothing, which had until then gone to great lengths to preserve that pale tone, tailored to protect from sun exposure with full sleeves, bonnets, hats, parasols, etc. Women went as far as applying lead-based products to whiten their skin.
The new trend, like all new trends, quickly became an obsession and women would even cheat, and tan with colored powder and stockings. Not much has changed, besides the technology.