Catch My (Trendy) Disease


Pale skin, thin waists, sparkling eyes, rosy cheeks, red lips—all trademarks of 19th century English beauty trends, and all symptoms of the tuberculosis epidemic that ran rampant until the advent of germ theory in the early 20th century. Emily Mullin writes for Smithsonian on the new connections discovered between 19th century fashion and the aesthetic impact of tuberculosis.

Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Toast, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Atlas and Alice, Baldhip Magazine, and others. Find her at or @meanchelled. More from this author →