Sources of Information on the History of Clothes
Fashion,  History of Clothes

Sources of Information on the History of Clothes

If you’re interested in the history of cloths, you’ve come to the right place. Before you read on, here are a few sources you can look to. Whether you’re interested in cloths used by the Ancient Egyptians, Byzantines, Chinese, or Ancient Greeks, there are many sources of information available. In addition to books, you can read online articles to learn more about the history of cloths.

Ancient Egyptians

The earliest clothing of the Ancient Egyptians was not only worn by the people but was also used as an offering to the gods and as payment in kind. The Egyptians used both horizontal and vertical looms to weave their clothes. Horizontal looms were anchored to the ground by pegs, while vertical looms leaned against the walls. The cloths worn by the people of the predynastic period were adorned with motifs and designs.

The lower-class Egyptians wore the same outfit as their male counterparts. Men wore a leather network over their loincloth. Women wore wrapped skirts, sometimes called schenti or skent. Skirts varied in length and fabric, with pleated skirts being more common in the Old Kingdom and plain skirts being more popular during the New Kingdom. High-status men wore elaborate belts and aprons over their skirts.

Sources of Information on the History of Clothes


In Byzantium, textiles were multivalent and provided immense signification. They served as stepping stones that fostered creative memory. They also served as powerful cultural mediators. Byzantine cloths were multivalent and symbolic, often facilitating multiple interpretations in their viewers. They provided a unique perspective on the Byzantine culture, particularly within religious contexts. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the history of Byzantine cloths to better appreciate the richness of their cultural heritage.

Byzantine textiles were highly visible and deeply personal. They communicated many ideas and emotions, from the idea of labor to the idea of protection and reverence. In contrast to the western conception of symbols as one-dimensional straitjackets of meaning, Byzantine textiles embodied a rich polysemy of meaning and multivalence. Byzantine textiles, therefore, offer an alternative perspective on their history.

Sources of Information on the History of Clothes


The Chinese value their mode of dressing. Chinese sources of information on the history of cloths trace the origins of cloth to the late succeeding stage of the first identified human culture. Chinese people began using stone equipment to make their clothes about seventy to five hundred thousand years ago. This tradition continued until the end of the last ice age about eight thousand years ago. Archaeological findings show that people living in the Zhoukoudian region in Beijing around twenty thousand years ago wore elaborately engraved white stone beads. Their clothing also had accessories made of olive-colored pebbles and bones.

Throughout Chinese history, cloths have undergone enormous changes. From their traditional form to the shapes of modern-day clothes, Chinese clothing has gone from a traditional garment to something that could be adapted for different occasions and uses. However, some questions remain unanswered. One of the most common is the question of when humans first started wearing clothes. One theory is the supposed diffidence theory, based on the Biblical story of how humans came to wear clothes: a serpent tricked Adam and Eve into eating an apple from the tree of knowledge.

Ancient Greeks

Several ancient Greek sources on the history of cloths can tell us a lot about the textiles worn by the people of the Greek island of Crete. The textiles worn by the Greeks were generally made from wool, linen, and silk. The production process of cloth was long and expensive, and women took pride in making high-quality textiles. During the Greek period, cloth production was a women’s task, and making high-quality textiles was a sign of her status.

In ancient Greece, women wore four basic garments. The men wore the perizoma, a long, oblong garment that passed between their legs and around their waist and hips. Some women wore the perizoma for special occasions, while others wore it for everyday wear. It is not known who first invented the garments, but Greek cloths were used in both military and recreational activities.

Sources of Information on the History of Clothes

Irish traditional clothing

For centuries, the most important clothing item in Ireland was the brat, which served as both a cloak and a sleeping bag. Worn on both head and feet, it covered the shoulders and legs. Brats were not worn by women in the thirteenth century, but they did appear later during the Gaelic revival. In the thirteenth century, the Irish began to wear mantles made of small scraps of cloth sewn together. Wealthier people wore a large cloth piece.

Although the Leine remains the most prominent piece of Irish traditional clothing, it was gradually replaced by the English-style sombre dress, which was often made of low-quality materials. However, by the mid-seventeenth century, traditional Irish clothing had vanished. During this period, political manoeuvres led to the adoption of poor-quality variations of English dress. These garments, while often attractive, remain a reminder of the past.

Sources of Information on the History of Clothes


Sources of information on the history of clothes in Egypt date back to the ancient Egyptian period. The clothing used by Egyptians was based on animal skins and papyrus reeds. However, with the cultivation of flax and its processing into cloth, clothes changed drastically. And women were the first to take up the production of cloth. Even in the earliest depictions of textile production, women are seen working. This practice continued even when the industry was taken over by men. In addition, women were often the first healers and brewers in Egypt.

Egyptian fashion was mostly functional and simple. While men wore kilts that were shorter than today, women wore longer dresses covering their breasts. The women wore long dresses with capelets made of pleated sheer fabric. Many sources say that women wore clothing inspired by Greek or Roman fashions. Nonetheless, the Egyptian fashion industry is still undergoing some changes and research is ongoing.