Basically everything can kill you, sorry.
So in the mid-1800s, a group of "Arsenic Eaters" in what's now Austria were discovered. The group was known for ingesting small bits of arsenic and having realllllly great skin and overall health, having built up a tolerance for the poison. The only problem was, once they tried to stop taking the arsenic, their overall health and wellbeing plummeted.
Still, drug and cosmetics manufacturers saw an opportunity with the poison and really went for it. They created pills, a face cream, and even arsenic spa baths, that helped women achieve a soft, pallid complexion. The only downside was the EXTREMELY long list of potent side effects, including headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, cramping,convulsions, drowsiness, blood in the urine, and hair loss. What's worse, many reported that when they tried to stop taking the pills, their symptoms would worsen. Users were, in effect, forced to continue to poison themselves in order to feel even slightly better.
Tight, organ-constricting corsets were super popular during the Victorian era, and it was thought the tighter you could lace your corset, the better. (Yup, unreasonable standards for femininity have been around FOREVER, go us).
Unfortunately, the practice often resulted in women doing permanent, gruesome damage to their bodies. In one reported case, a woman with a 13-inch waist died and it was found that her liver had been punctured by three ribs. Another woman had corset puncture wounds in her heart. Still another had her liver flattened by tight lacing. Tight lacing even took out a female impersonator; stage actor Joseph Hennella collapsed during a vaudeville show and died later that night. Women suffered a laundry list of ailments thanks to their corsets, including headaches, shortness of breath, poor circulation, and fainting (duh).
Crinolines, or hoop skirts, were in vogue for much of the 19th century. They were often made out of a combination of horsehair and steel. Because the hoop of the skirt sat out far from the body, women had to be incredibly careful about how they walked around in their dresses. Many, many, women — estimates say around 3,000 or so — caught fire while wearing a crinoline skirt. Additionally, if the skirt was caught by the wind, a woman could find herself potentially ushered off the edge of a pier or a cliff.
And what's more, skirts were often caught in machinery, or in the wheels of wagons or buggies, One woman, it was reported in The Essex Standard, actually worked in a crinoline factory and was killed when her skirt was entangled in a machine and her skull was crushed.
Wow, well, what a way to go. In the 1800s, men used to wear heavily starched and stiff detachable collars, which were great because they were easier to clean. Except that sometimes, after a night of heavy drinking or whatever, guys would pass out in their constricting collars and DIE from asphyxiation. In one particular case, a collar completely choked off a man's windpipe, and he was found stone cold dead on a bench. Another man died after an attack of indigestion left him with a swelled neck that was then restricted by a starched, stiff collar. Collar-related deaths happened often enough that it was referred to as the "father killer." Damn.
In the late 18th century, for a brief moment, it became popular to forgo all the corsetry and contraptions of femininity in favor of flowy Regency-style gowns. Regency gowns were pretty similar to Grecian togas or dresses in their simplicity, and served to really emphasize the feminine form and highlight the natural curves of a woman's body.
To really get the most out of the look, women used to wet the muslin fabric of their dresses so that it would really cling to their bodies (like that saucy lady on the left in the painting above.) Not a really big deal, EXCEPT! Intentionally wetting a gown to make it cling to your body probably isn't a great idea when it's cold outside already and you're not wearing undergarments, like the majority of middle class women of the era. Scads of women came down with pneumonia as a result of the fad. And several doctors blamed the wet muslin trend on a serious outbreak of influenza that hit Paris in 1803. They even named the epidemic "wet muslin" disease. Way to blame it on the ladies, guys.
In the early 1900s, the designer Paul Poiret created a horrible contraption called the hobble skirt, which constricted women's movements from the knees down forcing them to "hobble" around taking tiny, tiny steps. Many thought the skirt made women appear more ladylike and dainty, but other felt the skirt was a safety hazard, causing women to trip and fall.
In some cases, the confinement of the hobble skirt resulted in death, as when a horse bolted through crowd and a woman was unable to move out of the animal's way. Another woman died after she stumbled on her skirt and fell over the railing of a bridge. Luckily, the hobble only really lasted from 1910 to 1913 before it fell out of fashion.