Historical Evolution of Fashion: A close look at the reference periods of fashion, which is in a continuous cycle of development, change and turning back. Our first stop is the Antiquity.
Fashion refers to currently popular clothing styles. It always develops and changes and returns to the top. Every style and trend in fashion is recalled from an absolute time or era. That is why it is very important and valuable to have an idea about the history of this evolution.
As you get an idea about a person, you also learn his style. It is inevitable to take a look at the history of fashion while reading the history of humanity.
In this article series, we will take a closer look at the periods used by fashion as a reference. Enjoy your reading of historical evolution of fashion.
The preservation of fabric fibers and leather allows us to understand the insides of the clothing of ancient communities. The fabrics used in the ancient world reflect the technologies that the people of the period specialized in. In many cultures, clothing shows the social status of people from different segments of society.
The development of clothing and fashion is one of the salient features of human characteristics and human societies. Clothes made of animal skin and plants emerge with the motive of protecting the body of the first human from external factors. As the ages pass, we see that the use of clothes and fabrics reflect the development of civilizations and technologies. Resources such as materials discovered in archaeological excavations, the reflection of the production and use of fabrics in art, and the documentation of products used or exchanged allow us to read this history. Read to discover more about historical evolution of fashion.
Historical Evolution of Fashion
Clothing in Ancient Egypt
Although they were aware of other materials, the inhabitants of Ancient Egypt mostly used linen fabric obtained from the fertile hemp plant. Animal fabrics were not pure, according to their beliefs, wool was rarely used, and it was forbidden in places such as temples and places of worship. Other animal products, such as the pouch, were reserved for priests and people belonging to the upper classes of Egypt. Since linen has a light, durable and flexible structure and it is breathable, it was very compatible with hot climate conditions. For these reasons, many Egyptians preferred linen as their primary fabric. Upcoming information about historical evolution of fashion below.
What varied between classes was the quality of the material; the upper classes had better processed and colored linen. They also had access to more complex weavings, designs, and hand patterns from dyed yarns. These materials were expensive and reveal the status of the wearer. On the other hand, cheaper and thin linens were used by the lower class. Discover more about historical evolution of fashion.
Men in ancient Egypt wore loincloths regardless of their class. The upper classes wore longer and wore them with a cape or tunic. It was an acceptable choice for men and women of all classes to expose the chest area. But still, lack of clothing was associated with youth or poverty. It was considered very common for children to walk around the age of 6 without clothes, and slaves spent most of their lives without clothes. The usual clothing for both genders was tunic and girdle. Light tunics or short-sleeved shirts were popular between 1425 and 1405 BC. Continue reading to discover more about historical evolution of fashion.
Clothing for adult women has remained virtually unchanged for several centuries. The use of fabrics with the drape method gave the impression that more than one outfit was worn. While lower-class women were using white or unbleached fabrics, upper-class women could achieve silhouettes that resembled wings, with colorful details that they tied from their breasts to their shoulders and added to their fabric that was passed between their arms. Find out more about historical evolution of fashion.
As a symbol of their nobility, women belonging to the royal family wore feather hair accessories or fabrics on their heads.
Shoes were the same for both sexes; leather sandals were used. Find out more about historical evolution of fashion.
Perfumes and cosmetics
Mummification made possible the development of cosmetics and perfumery. Although natural oils used as perfumes were very expensive, their use was widely spread. And the group that wore the most makeup of its time was again Egyptians. Smut was used as eyeliner. Because eye paints were believed to protect the eyes from sun rays and infection. Copper stone was used to give shade and ocher was used as lip paint. Take a look at below for additional information about historical evolution of fashion.
Beauty products were mixed with animal fats for easier transport and storage. Nails and hands were painted with henna. Only people of the lower class had tattoos. Although there was no difference in cosmetic styles between classes, noble women were known to use creams and powders to lighten their skin tones. Because he referred to the upper class from light skin exposed to less sun, to the lower class whose tan color darkened from the sun from working in the fields.
Wigs and hair accessories
The shaved hair was a sign of both nobility and warmth; fashion in hairstyles was followed by wigs. Wigs could be used for all classes and genders; the decisive factor was quality. Good quality wigs were made of human hair and braided with precious stones and gold. Evidence was found that cheap wigs were made from wool, horsehair and palm fibers. Nemes, a hair accessory made of hard linen and draped over the shoulders, was one of the accessories used by the elite class to protect from the sun. Let’s read more about historical evolution of fashion.
In ancient Egypt, it was usual to be covered with jewels to make themselves appear more attractive to the gods. The jewelery most used by the upper class Egyptians was gold. It was believed that gold is the color of the sun and symbolizes the sun’s permanence and immortality as it does not darken or oxidize over time. Accessories were often adorned with precious and semi-precious stones such as emerald, pearl and lapis. The most common motifs were the white lotus, palm leaf, and even animals symbolizing the gods. Lower-class Egyptians wore glass accessories. Below is additional information about historical evolution of fashion.
Clothing in Ancient Crete
As in many places, the place to look to analyze Crete’s ancient dressing habits is artworks reflecting nuns and priests. The fabrics are mostly wool and hemp. Spinning and weaving is the only method to demonstrate authenticity from domestic activities and dyeing, using a similar technique used in Egypt at the time. Fabrics are embroidered. Red is the most used color, with four different shades. Below is additional information to read about historical evolution of fashion.
In the early days of the culture, loincloth was common for both sexes. What differentiated women from men was the more fabric they wore under them to increase the length of their clothes. Additional information about historical evolution of fashion.
Cretan women’s clothing is the first known stitched clothing in history. Dresses are long with a low neckline; such that the ribcage is left open almost to the belly button. The dresses are often accompanied by a corset used to narrow the waist. This is because the thin waist is rewarded in Crete. The look is enhanced by a hat. Common in the Mediterranean basin, brooches are used throughout the period. Why not read more about historical evolution of fashion below?
Practically all men wear loincloths. Unlike the Egyptians, it is often wrapped at the level of a short skirt or apron, and the tail extended from the back is fastened back to the front, preferably fastened with a metal belt. It is possible to see this method in women who engage in athletic activities. Let’s read more about historical evolution of fashion.
Another piece of clothing that determines the Cretan style is pants. Due to the high athletic population, the chest is completely exposed in this method of tying. Long clothes are preferred in bad weather conditions. More information about historical evolution of fashion.
Men’s hair is long, falling over their shoulders. Shoes are made of leather and worn only when leaving the house; People walk around in holy places and palaces.
Clothing in Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, clothes were mainly produced at home and used for different purposes such as bed linen. Design and vibrant colors were glorified in this land, despite the popular belief of wearing all-white clothing. Keep reading to discover more about historical evolution of fashion.
The most distinctive feature of ancient Greek clothing was the combination of woolen or linen fabric of different lengths, mostly rectangular cut. It was the embroidered clips or pins that held the fabrics together.
The tunic worn inside was called peplos or kiton. Peplos were mostly heavy wool clothing worn by women. A fold was created by folding the upper part towards the waist. Kiton, on the other hand, was a simple tunic made of light linen, used by all genders of all ages. While men stretched on their knees, women ended at their ankles.
The one-shoulder shawl worn in the winter months, with the garment that women put on their tunics like a shawl around the middle of their bodies or the seamless rectangular woolen-like blankets used by men instead of a cape, would show itself in the historical evolution of fashion.
Clothing in Ancient Rome and Italy
In ancient Italy, just like Ancient Greece, clothing gained popularity thanks to art, literature and archeology. Although traces of Roman clothing had a great influence on the Western imagination, Etruscan civilization influenced Italy before the Romans. Different interactions occurred in different geographies between 1200 BC and 390 BC.
Sixteen-year-old boys in ancient Rome burned their clothes as an expression of adulthood. Roman girls wore white until they got married to show off their purity.
Perhaps the most defining part of the ancient Roman wardrobe is the toga, a one-piece woolen garment that pours from the shoulders to the body. The toga, which can be wrapped in different ways, has been reinterpreted in larger and more voluminous ways over the centuries. So much so that some of his innovations were quite stylish. Some entanglement techniques have been developed to be completely practical, as it is not easy to wear without getting stuck or falling apart. In some styles, even the head could be covered during ceremonies. Read more about historical evolution of fashion below.
Historians believe that the toga was worn throughout the Roman monarchy and the Roman Empire. And the toga is known to be worn only by civilians; because slaves and children use tunics.
The ancient Romans were well aware that their clothes were different from other people. It was among the notes that barbarians from the north, especially the Germanic and Gothic, wore trousers. They depicted their warriors in armor while they described the barbarians with shirts and pants.
Symbolism and influences
Roman dressing style has symbolic meanings for the next generations. Roman armor symbolizes extraordinary strength, especially those who are beaten with muscles. In Renaissance Europe, painters and sculptors resort to these militaristic visions.
Later, during the French Revolution, there was an effort to design the uniforms of the authorities inspired by the Roman toga.
Modern Western brides also seem to inherit ancient Roman wedding wear, such as veils and rings.
Reflections of the Ancient Period in Today’s Fashion
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- The Golden Age of Splendor 1930s Fashion
- 1920s Fashion w/Flapper and Jazz
- 20th Century Fashion
- 19th Century Fashion
- 18th Century Rococo Fashion
- Medieval Fashion and Status Clothing
- Renaissance Fashion and Rebirth
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- Fall-Winter Accessory Trends