Can You Identify All of These Items Women Have Used Throughout History?


By: Jacqueline Samaroo

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Step into our time machine! Here's a fascinating look back at the history of women's fashion, accessories, and household items.

As far as fashion goes, there have been periods in history devoted to certain styles. The 1920s is a good example of this. Its distinctive style was closely related to the feeling of liberation expressed by most women. Can you picture those iconic dresses and those hats which went oh so well with their popular bob hairstyle? We're positive it will all come back to you once you begin the quiz!

Household items have gone through some of the biggest changes, thanks to the convenience of electrical appliances. Laundry day, for instance, used to call for some very interesting washing aids. Truth be told, they did a pretty decent job of getting clothes clean ... you just had to add a generous amount of elbow grease! Do you know which items we're hinting at? Let's see if you can "clean up" by getting all of them right in the quiz!

Looking back, it's quite clear that women have come a long way! How far do you think you can go in identifying the female-related items in this quiz? Stop spinning your wheels - take the quiz now and find out!

Can you name this once-popular item of clothing?

Horsehair petticoats, often called crinolines, were quite popular in women’s fashion in the 1840s. They were replaced in 1856 by a light metal frame of spring hoops.


Do you know the name of the sassy footwear shown here?

These low-heeled fashion boots first came into style in the 1960s. The white mid-calf version is often referred to as the Courrèges boot after French fashion designer André Courrèges.


Can you identify this little item used for keeping your cool?

The hand fan has been a fashionable female accessory for centuries. Evidence of women using hand fans dates as far back as the 4th century BC in ancient Greece.


Can you recall the name of this headdress from yesteryear?

Evidence of pillbox-looking hats can be found throughout history but the modern version came into being in the 1930s. Both Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis contributed to placing the pillbox hat at the height of fashion in the 1960s.


Do you know the “ringing” name of these pants?

Bell bottom pants (or simply bell bottoms) became a favorite of fashionistas in the 1960s. Since then, they have enjoyed a resurgence in almost every decade.


Which once-used baking implement is shown here?

Historically, the Dutch oven is a large metal cooking pot or box. The pot version is often made with one continuous handle that's either three or four feet.


What is the name of the fashion fad from decades ago shown here?

When it comes to shoulder pads, you either love them or you absolutely don’t. These “bulking up” additions to women’s dresses and blouses came into style in the 1930s and have sprung up on many occasions since then.


Do you know the name of the thread-making tool in this image?

Spinning wheels are believed to have originated in India around 1000 C.E. They are perhaps best-known for their roles in the Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin fairytales.


What is the name of the high-strutting footwear shown in this picture?

Platform shoes are most recognizable for their thick soles, with some lifting the wearer up to 16 inches off the ground. The style is traced back to both Ancient Greece and 16th century London. Its design is notorious for the sprained ankle risk it poses.


Which past item of clothing is this?

The hobble skirt came about around 1908. Its unique design makes it difficult for the wearer to walk in long strides.


Which item used to carry kitchen waste is shown here?

A slop bucket, or slop pail, was historically kept in the kitchen and used to hold food waste which would later be fed to pigs or otherwise disposed of. The buckets were typically made of metal (iron or tin) and designed with a spout.


Which arm covering is shown here?

Undersleeves were often used as a decorative element to a woman’s outfit. In some cases, the undersleeves were attached to the outer puffed sleeve but in others, they were actually a part of one of the wearer’s undergarments.


Which form of stylish headdress is shown in this image?

The cloche hat, or simple cloche, gets its name from the French word for “bell.” The hat was first designed in 1908 but did not become a big hit with women until the 1920s.


Can you identify the laundry aid shown here?

These eco-friendly energy savers used to be standard laundry day equipment. Water is wrung out of the clothes as they are drawn in by and passed through the rollers.


Do you know the name of this once-popular style of footwear?

These low-heeled casual shoes were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s. They are sometimes referred to as saddle Oxfords since they are a variation of the Oxford shoe. Saddle shoes can be made with any color combination but black and white is the most common.


Do you know the name of this item from yesteryear?

The fichu could be thought of as a modesty clothing accessory. It came into style in the 18th century when women’s dresses frequently featured a very low neckline. The large, square fichu was folded and tucked into the garment’s neckline to make it less revealing.


Which once essential kitchen implement is this?

Not many kitchens have a bake kettle today, but a couple of centuries ago almost every kitchen had one and depended heavily on it. The bake kettle would be placed on smoldering coals, with more coals placed on the cover while the food cooked inside.


Do you know the name of these decorative items?

Once upon a time, intricately designed, pretty doilies could be found almost everywhere. They were draped over chair arms, spread out on furniture tops and set out as decorative placemats on dinner tables.


Which laundry aid from the past is shown in this picture?

A washing bat or washing paddle was used to beat clothes on laundry day. The design carved into the surface of the washing bat helped it to drive out dirt and stains.


Which undergarment framework is shown here?

The hoop skirt (or hoopskirt) was used to add volume to a dress. It got its structure from whalebone, wicker, or basketwork. The style is said to have started in the 1500s and persisted until around 1780.


Can you name this common lighting gadget from years ago?

The kerosene lamp was invented in 1853 by a Polish pharmacist. By the 1860s, kerosene lamps were widely used as a source of indoor lighting.


Do you know what these hip-shaping undergarments were called?

Panniers are a type of hoop skirt. They do not give fullness all around – just at the hips.


What are the names of these tools found in most kitchens of yesteryear?

The mortar and pestle were once must-have kitchen tools. Thanks to the proliferation of electric appliances for grinding and mixing, mortars and pestles are today found only in a few kitchens.


Can you identify this manual cleaning device?

The hand-operated or manual vacuum cleaner was invented in the 1850s. Many models had to be operated by two persons. Needless to say, they quickly went out of use once electric vacuum cleaners came on the scene.


Which garment design is shown in this photo?

This ruffled collar was quite popular in Western Europe around the time of Queen Elizabeth I (mid-16th century to mid-17th century). They were detachable, stiff and rather uncomfortable unless the wearer maintained perfect posture.


Which 1920s hair accessory is shown here?

The fun-loving, independent-minded women of the Roaring Twenties (1920 – 1929) were known as “flappers.” The headband was an integral part of their fashion as it went very well with the bob hairstyle most women wore. The ever-present headbands were often adorned with feathers and jewels.


Can you identify this kitchen tool used when roasting meat?

The spit jack is the mechanism used to rotate the skewer (or spit) which holds meat as it is roasting. Spit jacks have been in use since before the 16th century and although they were once commonplace, they are not a part of the modern kitchen.


What is the name of the undergarment shown here?

The girdle enjoyed fashion favor from the 1920s to the 1960s. It fell out of favor with the rise of the feminist movement.


What is the name of these fireplace additions?

Andirons, or fire dogs, date back to Ancient Greece.They were used in fireplaces to hold burning logs up off the ground. This was so air could circulate under the logs, allowing them to burn more efficiently.


Which shapely undergarment is shown here?

Corsets were used as a means of waist reduction and body shaping. They first came into style in the 1550s in France and for centuries were a normal part of female attire.


Which framework garment is shown here?

The bustle was a prominent feature of women’s fashion in the 1870s and 1880s. It was worn under a lady’s dress or skirt to give the garment a puffed out appearance in the rear. The term “bustle dress” is now used for any type of dress made in the bustle style.


Do you know the name of this form of headdress?

Poke bonnets were first invented in the early 1800s and became hugely popular by the 1830s. The style began to fade by 1860, however, when the fashion trend shifted to smaller hats.


Can you identify this tool used to straighten wrinkles?

The charcoal iron gets its name from the fact that burning coals were placed inside its hollow body to keep it hot. The coals needed oxygen to burn, so the iron was either designed with holes to let in air or it had to be opened every now and then to aerate the coals.


Can you name these feminine undergarments?

The bloomers are named after Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights activist of the 1800s. Their style is based on traditional Turkish fashion.


What is the name of this type of headdress?

Elaborately feathered hats were a particular fashion craze in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Among the most sought after feathers were ostrich, peacock, egret, osprey, bird of paradise, and vulture.


Which laundry-aid is shown in this image?

The washboard was once a very commonplace laundry item but its use declined rapidly with the invention of electric washing machines. Washboards were made with ripples for rubbing clothes against to help remove dirt and stains.


Do you know the name of this 1920s garment?

The flapper dress was distinguished by its straight waist and for having the hemline above the knee. The dress reflected women of the 1920s rejecting the restricting styles (especially the corset) of years prior.


What is the name of this combination sleepwear and headwear?

Nightcaps were used as a means of keeping the wearer’s head warm while she slept. Their use declined with the availability of central heating in homes.


Which chilly kitchen appliance is this?

The ice box, or cold closet, was a simple and efficient insulated kitchen device found in most kitchens before the days of electric refrigerators. A block of ice placed in the ice box could keep food fresh for at least two days.


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