Ancient Fashions

Ancient Egypt
 The hot dry weather played a major
role in shaping Egyptian fashion. Made
of light linen, the clothing was loose
and kept the body cool. The wealthy
women wore finer garments, which
were translucent, while the poor
dressed in more coarse fabrics, due to
low cost.
 Archaeologists found countless pieces
of fine jewellery. Egyptian women were
adorned in rings, anklets and bracelets,
all rich in bright toned gems.
*Fun Fact: Only the rich wore earrings*
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
 Wigs were an ancient trend. Hair was a
nuisance in the hot climate and was a
breeding ground for lice, thus women shaved
their heads and modeled wigs instead.
 Cosmetics were another trend. Black eye
makeup was applied for protection from the
glare of the sun and from disease bearing
*Fun Fact: Cleopatra had her lipstick made of crushed carmine
beetles, which gave a deep red pigment.*
Ancient Greece & Rome
 Greek and Roman clothing was
simply designed, usually consisting of
two pieces. Their outfits would be
sleeveless, light and resembled men’s
 Most of the many various styles
included forms of draping, pinning
and belting the garments.
 The most fashionable outfit during
the Greco-Roman era was the
Ancient Greece & Rome
Ancient Greece & Rome
 Jewellery was also worn by the Greeks and Romanseven men wore precious gems, however that appeared
to only be a fad, ending a little time after.
 Honey and olive oil acted as a skin care product during
antiquity, to improve the skin’s overall texture
 However, pale skin was fashionable; some women
applied white lead (which is toxic) to lighten their
Ancient Greece & Rome
 Roman women’s hairstyles were ever-changing as they
copied the styles of the emperor’s wives and mistresses.
 Long hair was typical for most women; only slaves wore
it short.
Fashion in Middle Ages
 Fashion was made into three
1. Religious Women: wore
woollen rough habits with
white head pieces. Color
represented their order.
2. Poor and Lower Class: wore
long shapeless dresses made
of rough wool. Since they
were poor most women only
owned one dress which they
washed infrequently
Fashion of Middle Ages
 Upper Class: wore heavily decorated dresses that were
better formed to their bodies. The fabrics were made of
finer cloth and better dyed, due to the time’s
technological improvements.
*Fun Fact: In 1500s lace became popular with wealthy.*
Fashion in Louis XIV’s Court
 In France, the Palace of Versailles became an everchanging fashion show; staying in style required careful
 High fashion became a necessity - nobles spent entire
fortunes on importing silks, velvets and painted linens.
 Lace continued into France, becoming a big trend.
*Fun Fact: Women’s dresses were cut so low , that the pictures would be considered
too revealing for today*
Fashion in Louis XIV’s Court
Fashion in England
 While the French were risqué
with fashion, the English had
a more conservative
 Women wore tight corsets (a
petite torso remained a
popular trend), padded
sleeves and high collars.
 Their dresses were very full,
had lots of layer and the gold
embroidery was very intricate.
Fashion in England
Fashion in England
 Women use the contraption of a farthingale, a stiff metal coned shaped
article worn to widened their skirts.
 The ruff, was a large stiff collar worn at this time.
 Wearing jewellery was another trend; the more one wore the higher the
class-it exposed one’s wealth.
 Then in 1600s, during Puritan Revolution, the reaction to decoration set
in. Wealthy and poor women alike wore simple black dresses, sometimes
with white linen collars. Married women usually wore hair in linen cap.
Ask Why?
How has women’s clothing been used to demonstrate wealth
and importance in society?
 The more elaborate and fancy reflected a higher class and
wealth. The excess of jewels also revealed a woman’s status.
Was more effort taken to hide or highlight the female body?
 Highlighted certain areas-tight corsets accentuated and
promoted a tiny torso; while curves were hidden under the
large skirts.
 Fashion reflected the social values-during Puritan revolution
the women wore simple concealing garments and hide hair
under bonnets.

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