Entries by Topic Category

415 A-Line Skirt 5 901 American Look 5 852 Animal Skins 2 417 Armani Suits 5 980 Aso Oke Cloth 2 418 515 Bases 3 473 Bathing Costumes 3 608 902 Berber Dress 2 421 853 361 300 Bloomers (Nineteenth Century) 3 611 Bloomers (1900-18) 4 668 Bold Look 5 855 473 Boubou 2 422 168 670 362 516 76 517 Casula 1 169 904 78 216 558 Chlaina and Diplax 1 122 123 79 Cloaks (Native American Cultures) 2 364 Cloaks (Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas) 2 395 616 Coats and Capes 3 559 Codpiece 3 474 673 905 560 Cote and...

Liii

Europeans during the Age of Exploration that began in the fifteenth century. Volumes 3 through 5 offer chronological coverage of the development of costume and fashion in the West. Volume 3 features the costume traditions of the developing European nation-states in the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, and looks at the importance of the royal courts in introducing clothing styles and the shift from home-based garmentmaking to shop-based and then factory-based industry. Volumes 4 and 5...

Contributors

Freelance Writer, Crosse Pointe, MI. ROB EDELMAN. Instructor, State University of New York at Albany. Author, Baseball on the Web (1997) and The Great Baseball Films (1994). Co-author, Matthau A Life (2002) Meet the Mertzes (1999) and Angela Lansbury A Life on Stage and Screen (1996). Contributing editor, Leonard Maltin's Move & Video Guide, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, and Leonard Maltin's Family Viewing Guide. Contributing writer, International Dictionary of Films...

For More Information

Dictionary Ancient Roman Costumes

Costume of Ancient Rome. New York Chelsea House, 1987. Yates, James. Solea. Smith's Dictionary Articles on Clothing and Adornment. Texts secondary SMIGRA* Solea.html (accessed on July 24, 2003). See also Volume 1, Ancient Egypt Sandals Volume 1, Ancient Rome Calceus r, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages Volume 2 Early Cultures Across the Globe SARA PENDERGAST AND TOM PENDERGAST SARAH HERMSEN, Project Editor

Solea

The solea, or sandal, was the most common indoor shoe of the ancient Romans. It was a very simple shoe, consisting of a flat sole held to the foot with a simple strap across the instep, similar to today's thongs or flip-flops. Most of the solea known to historians were made of leather. Some, however, were made of wood. Special wooden-soled sandals, called sandalium, were worn by women during the Roman Republic (509-27 B.C.E.) and were later worn by both sexes. It appears that simpler...

Revised

C. 476 Upper-class men, and sometimes women, in the Byzantine Empire (476-1453 C.E.) wear a long, flowing robe-like overgarment called a dalmatica developed from the tunic. c. 900 Young Chinese girls tightly bind their feet to keep them small, a sign of beauty for a time in Chinese culture. The practice was outlawed in 1911. c. 1100-1500 The cote, a long robe worn by both men and women, and its descendant, the cotehardie, are among the most common garments of the late Middle Ages. 1392 Kimonos...

Early Asian Cultures

He Asian societies that began in modern-day China are among the oldest known human societies on earth. Though they were at least as developed and sophisticated as early civilizations in Mesopotamia (centered in present-day Iraq) and Egypt, these Asian societies have received far less study and attention in the West. In the last century, however, with the modernization of the ancient nations of China and Japan, people in the West have come to know a great deal about early Asian cultures. Many...

Byzantine society

Byzantine society was very hierarchical, which meant that people lived at different levels of rank and status. At the top of the society was the emperor, who made the major decisions affecting the empire. He was aided by an inner circle of advisers and bureaucrats. There was also a Byzantine senate, which prepared laws for approval by the emperor. Emperors usually chose their successor, either a son or a trusted adviser. The emperors ruled with the help of a strong and well-trained army that...

P

W eople took great care covering their feet during the seventeenth century. Fashionable footwear changed shape during the century, and middle-class and wealthy people eagerly purchased the new shoe styles in order to remain in fashion. Shoes and boots continued to be made on straight lasts, the basic sole pattern, so that a shoe would fit either foot. However, significant changes were made to shoe fastenings, toe shape, sole height, and the decorations applied to the upper, or tops of shoes. By...

Headwear of Early Asian Cultures

Ver thousands of years of Chinese and later Japanese history, many different forms of headwear and hairstyles were worn, depending both upon fashion and upon the restrictions that were placed on fashions at any given time. In this brief accounting, just a few of the most distinctive of those styles will be discussed. One thing that should be remembered is that both the Chinese and Japanese people have deep black hair. Hair coloring was not used in either of these Asian cultures.

Changes in the twentieth century

As both China and Japan modernized in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most people adopted Western cus- toms in headwear and hairstyles. Following the rise of communism in China after 1949, however, hairstyles became much simpler. (Communism is a system of government in which the state controls the economy and all property and wealth are shared equally by the people.) The Communists wanted to strip away the differences between people, and they discouraged women from wearing...

Boots

O ne of the most important fashion trendsetters during the seventeenth century was the cavalier, or military horseman. Along with his confident swagger, his costume came to mark a certain male style during the century. Noblemen who may never have fought in battle adopted and exaggerated the cavalier's clothes. These cavaliers wore elaborate outfits with large plumed, or feathered, hats and fancy jackets and breeches, or pants. Essential to a cavalier's outfit were large, floppy-topped,...

Ideal or reality

Our knowledge of Egyptian clothing has come almost entirely from studying the many hieroglyphs left in the tombs of kings and nobles. This has led some historians to question whether our knowledge of Egyptian clothing is based on reality or on idealized images. It seems likely that hieroglyphs would offer the best possible picture of clothing, making the colors brighter and the fit more pleasing like photos in a fashion magazine do today. The few physical remnants of clothes that have been...

Japanese customs

Japanese women's hair and headwear customs resembled those of the Chinese in many ways. They used their beautiful dark hair as their primary ornament and developed a variety of complex coiled and wrapped hairstyles. As with so many areas of Japanese life, hairstyles had specific names and were worn for different occasions. The dominant formal hairdo was called a shimada. With this style a woman's long hair is wrapped up from the crown of the head, secured around a small bar, and then spread...

American Cultures

Native American War Body Paint

I Native Americans across the North American continent adorned their bodies in a variety of different ways. From designs applied directly to the skin to elaborate ornaments crafted of symbolic materials, Native American body decoration was very important to the religious and social life of tribal members. In many tribes the skin was considered a canvas on which to paint or tattoo designs. Although warriors used paint to prepare for battle, body painting was not only used for war paint. Painted...

Fragrant Oils and Ointments

I he Egyptians, write fashion historians Michael and Ariane Batterberry in Fashion The Mirror of History, were as clean as any people in history. They bathed regularly, shaved their bodies of any excess hair, including that on the head, and used fragrant oils and ointments to keep their skin smooth and sweet smelling. The first female queen of Egypt, Queen Netocris, who is believed to have ruled around 2170 B.C.E., recommended regular bathing and scrubbing with a paste of clay and ashes. To...

Fibulae

Fibulae Greek Modern

A ncient Greeks fastened their clothes with fibulae. Fibulae, which resembled safety pins, secured the large panels of fabric that Greeks draped around their bodies. Although they began as a necessity for holding clothing in place, fibulae later became decorative fashion items. The first fibulae were carved from the leg bones of birds, which some scholars believe to be the source of the pins' name since fibula is also the name used for a particular leg bone. The earliest metal fibulae date back...

Collars and Pectorals

While the people of ancient Egypt mostly wore plain white linen clothing of simple design, this did not mean that they had no love of adornment. Two of the most notable items of jewelry worn in ancient Egypt were collars and pectorals, both types FRAGRANT OILS AND OINTMENTS of heavily jeweled necklaces. Collars were created with beads made of glass, precious stones, gold, and a glazed pottery called faience. These beads were strung on multiple strings of varying length that were then bound to a...

Body Painting

The peoples of Oceania used paint to adorn their bodies for ceremonies and festive occasions. Body paint was more than a way to beautify the body the designs and colors signified a person's sex, age, social status, and wealth, among other things. Designs had religious, social, and diplomatic meanings. Special designs were worn for festivals honoring the dead, initiation ceremonies for young people to become full members of a group, and peace-making meetings with other groups after battles....

Fans

Fashion Illustration 1975

Perhaps the most important accessory for wealthy women in the seventeenth century was the folding fan. Made of fine materials such as silk or decorated paper, stretched between handles of ivory, carved wood, or even fine gold, and studded with jewels, fans were an item used to display the user's wealth and distinction. Women carried their fans dangling from decorative ties at their waist or held them in the hand. Late in the seventeenth century and through the eighteenth century fans became a...

Woven cloth

Although many tribes used handmade methods of weaving, natives of the American Southwest were the first group to develop a loom, or weaving device, for weaving cloth. In 1200 C.E., well before the arrival of the first Europeans, Indians in the Southwest grew cotton and wove it into cloth. They also wove yucca, wool, feathers, and even human hair into cloth. Their breechclouts, leggings, and skirts were often made of woven fibers. As Native Americans had continued contact with Europeans and...

Aztecs and Incas

The early civilizations of Central and South America paid careful attention to their personal cleanliness and created many different ornaments to beautify the body. Decoration among all Central and South American groups indicated social rank. The Aztecs took this idea very seriously and punished anyone wearing an article of clothing or decoration above his birthright or honorary right with death. Before adorning themselves, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all cleaned themselves thoroughly....

Egyptian Clothing

The ancient Egyptians were the first human society to have an identifiable sense of style in clothing. From Egypt's earliest beginnings around 3100 B.C.E. to its eventual decline around 332 B.C.E., Egypt's kings and queens, called pharaohs, and its many noble men and women placed great emphasis on the appearances of their clothes, jewelry, the wigs they wore in place of natural hair, and their skin. The Egyptians idolized the human body, and the clothes they wore complimented the lines of the...

Foot Decorating

Famous Costumes History

A foot decorated with henna, a reddish powder or paste. Reproduced by permission of Jeremy Horner CORBIS. The foot has had religious and social significance in India since ancient times. Deities are represented by a set of divine footprints on items ranging from paintings and woven shawls to amulets ornaments that are worn to protect the wearer. The feet of older people are revered by youth, lovers show their affection for each other by caressing each other's feet, and Indian mothers take...

Greek Footwear

E arly Minoan and Mycenaean men and women living between about 3000 B.C.E. and 1200 B.C.E. mostly went barefoot, but they did have a variety of sandals, shoes, and boots for outdoor wear. Early Greeks living between about 800 B.C.E. and 146 B.C.E. followed this tradition as well. All classes of Greeks went barefoot when indoors, removing their shoes when entering a house or temple. The proof of these practices has been discovered by archeologists, scientists who study the physical remains of...

Sakkos and Sphendone

Greek women covered their heads in a variety of ways starting in 500 B.C.E. Evidence of their headwear has been found on sculptures and in writings from the period. A type of cap called a sakkos was worn by many. The sakkos could be a soft woven cap with a tassel hanging from the center or a piece of material wrapped around the head. In either case the sakkos completely covered the hair, which was tied into a bun, except for the bangs or curls by the ears. Sometimes women wore a stephane, a...

The Incas

The Inca empire spanned a large portion of South America by the late 1400s C.E. Although many different cultures prospered in the South American Andes Mountains before 3000 B.C.E., the Incas developed their distinctive culture beginning in 1200 C.E. and by 1471 became the largest empire in South America, reigning over a region that stretched from modern-day Ecuador to Chile. Incas built roads, developed trade, created stone architecture, made beautifully worked gold art and jewelry, became...

Leg Bands

Leg bands were a form of legwear for men that marked a transition from the clothing habits of ancient Rome to those of Europe in the later years of the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500). When the Middle Ages began following the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476, many people in the colder parts of Europe wore the crude breeches or trousers of the Gauls, from the area that is today France, called feminalia by the Romans. Wanting to keep the fabric of these breeches from hanging loose about the legs,...

Fr

History Costume Middle Ages

Rom as early as 100 B.C.E., administrators of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.) had brought parts of Europe under the control and governance of Rome. By the second century C.E., Rome's influence spread throughout most of western Europe, from Spain north to Britain, and Germany south to Italy. When the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 C.E. after years of attacks by hordes of raiding barbarians from the north, including Goths, Huns, Franks, Angles, Saxons, and Vandals, much of the civilization...

Makeup

Greek women embraced the use of makeup to enhance their beauty. Evidence of how females made up their faces can be found in such different places as on palace frescos, paintings directly on the wall, from Knossos, the royal city on the ancient Greek island of Crete, dating back to 1500 B.C.E. and in the descriptive poems written during the Greek Classical Period from 500 to 336 B.C.E. Although the practice was limited to women of wealth and influence, probably because of the cost, makeup was...

Perfume

Smelling good was of great concern to the ancient Greeks. But without running water, their techniques for freshening themselves were different than modern methods of bathing and showering. Men and women washed themselves with a cloth and a bowl of water or by rubbing olive oil on their skin, scraping it off with a metal rod called a strigil, and rinsing with cold water. Once clean, Greeks would apply perfumes all over their skin and hair. To make perfume Greeks soaked spices and other fragrant...

The Costume of the Discovered Peoples

Here is a great deal of information known about the costume traditions of many of the ancient cultures. The clothing, hairstyles, and decorative customs of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, China, Japan, and other societies, for example, have all been written about in many books. And from about midway through the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500 C.E.) onward there are vast sources of information about the costume worn in Europe. Artwork, monuments and buildings, and written documents are all...

Ancient Chinese dress

Organized societies emerged in China as early as 5000 B.C.E., or about the same time as they did in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. By about 1875 B.C.E. these societies grew complex enough to organize large areas of land and people into the first of the Chinese dynasties, organized societies ruled by members of a particular family. These dynasties controlled China, though not without interruption, until 1911 C.E. Beginning with the earliest Xia dynasty (1875 1550 B.C.E.), we can...

Fifteenth Century Body Decorations

The fifteenth century was a time of transition in the ways that people ornamented their bodies. The use of jewelry and accessories became more and more prevalent and showy over the course of the century, reflecting the growing richness of the various kingdoms of Europe and paving the way for the absolute excess of display that occurred in the sixteenth century. As in the early Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500), bathing was not a regular practice throughout most of Europe, except for in Italy....

S

Silhouette The general shape or outline of the human body. Single-breasted A jacket fastened down the front with a single row of buttons. See also Double-breasted. Sole The bottom of a shoe, covering the bottom of the foot. Straights The forms, or lasts, used to make the soles of shoes without differentiating between the left and right feet. Suede Skin from a young goat, called kidskin or calfskin, buffed to a velvet-like finish. Synthetic A term used to describe chemically made fabrics, such...

Native American Cultures

I ative American tribes of the North American continent and the peoples of the Subarctic and Arctic have a long and rich history. Archaeologists, scientists who study past civilizations, believe that people have lived in North America from about 13,000 B.C.E. Our knowledge of Native American cultures begins with the first European contact in the tenth century C.E. between the Vikings and the Arctic Inuit, or Eskimo peoples, but becomes much more detailed in the early 1500s and 1600s when first...

Tattooing

Body Templates For Costume Design

Tattoos in Oceania, etched forever in the skin, signified a person's position in society, helped ward off evil spirits, and were a way to beautify and decorate the body. Reproduced by permission of Anders Ryman CORBIS. Tattoos in Oceania, etched forever in the skin, signified a person's position in society, helped ward off evil spirits, and were a way to beautify and decorate the body. Reproduced by permission of Anders Ryman CORBIS. The inhabitants of the Marquesas Islands appeared to be...

The end of the empire

Like the Roman Empire before it, the Byzantine Empire experienced a number of challenges to its rule. Efforts to expand Byzantine rule under Emperor Justinian led to conflicts with Persians, North Africans, and the Ostrogoths living in Italy. Over the thousand years of Byzantine rule, battles with these and other surrounding peoples led to the expansion and contraction of the empire. Beginning in the eleventh century C.E. Christian armies from western Europe began to travel through the...

Cameo

A cameo is a kind of jewelry produced by artisans, or craftsmen, who engrave a bas-relief, or raised, image on a range of single-colored or multicolored materials. In the eighteenth century cameos were made of onyx, sardonyx, ivory, agate, coral, seashell, lava, and glass. If the substance was multicolored, one color was uncovered and became a background for the image engraved on the second color. During the eighteenth century, cameos came in all sizes and shapes occasionally they were made of...

Costume traditions of the discovered peoples

Taniti Native Costumes

The earliest information that we have about the costume traditions of the discovered peoples comes from descriptions about them from European explorers and colonizers. These Europeans, however, did not seek to preserve, record, or maintain the costume traditions of the people they discovered. For the most part they believed that Western culture was superior and that the dress worn by the people they encountered showed that they were uncivilized, primitive, and barbarian. European contact led to...

U

Costume Cromagnon

Upper The parts of a shoe above the sole. Velvet A fabric with a short, plush pile of silk, cotton, or other material. Wig A head covering worn to conceal the hair or to cover a bald head. Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and Footwear through the Ages SARA PENDERGAST AND TOM PENDERGAST SARAH HERMSEN, Project Editor

Footwear of African Cultures

The available evidence about ancient African cultures suggests that most Africans did not wear shoes for much of their early history. Although many northern tribes had contact with people who wore sandals and shoes, including the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and later Arabs and Persians (from present-day Iran), a complete record of when or how Africans adopted foot coverings does not exist. The most common depictions of Africans from statues, artwork, and examples of traditional dress still...

Footwear of Oceania

Pacific Island Dress Designs

escriptions from early explorers and early photographs show that most of the peoples of Oceania went barefoot. No information about the development of traditional footwear in Oceania is known. Although many people in the island countries now wear Western-style sandals and shoes, especially in the urban areas, those living in the most remote areas continue to go barefoot. Lal, Brij V., and Kate Fortune, eds. The Pacific Islands An Encyclopedia. Honolulu, HI University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

Khapusa

IChapusas were heavy boots that covered the knees. Made to protect the wearer from snow, snakes, stones, and the cold, kha-pusas were worn in northern India, especially in the Himalayan Mountains, from the first century C.E. Boots are thought to have been brought to India by foreigners. Boots were a common foot covering of early invaders from central Asia, including the Moguls, Afghans, and Persians. The ancient Indian rulers of the Kushan Empire, which flourished in what is now Pakistan,...

Clothing of the Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine costume tradition took its form from the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.) and its color and decorative tradition from the Orient and the Middle East. The Roman roots are easy to understand. After all, the Byzantine Empire began in the fourth century C.E. as the Eastern Roman Empire its capital, Constantinople, was for a short time the capital of the entire Roman Empire. From the Romans the Byzantines inherited their basic clothing forms, the tunic and toga for men, and the...

Ancient practices to the present day

Each group of discovered peoples experienced a different path from the time of discovery to the present. In North America, Native Americans were slowly overwhelmed by the gradual populating of the continent by white people in Africa, the slave trade provided the dominant exposure to Europeans for many years in Oceania, contact with Europeans was irregular and generally peaceful in Central and South America, the ancient empires disappeared as Native people from the island of Tahiti greeting...

Covering the head

For the most part, Native Americans went bareheaded. Most often their elaborate hairstyles were decorated with simple headbands or ornaments. However, headgear was important for ceremonies and cold or rainy weather. Both men and women in the Northwest wore large woven hats to protect them from the rain. These hats were often painted with designs or woven in shapes to identify the social status of the wearer. Men of the Haida tribe, for example, would wear tall, wide-brimmed hats woven of spruce...

Caps

Small white caps made of linen or cotton and edged with lace were quite popular among women and young girls during the early eighteenth century. Two fashionable styles were a mobcap, which covered the head with a puffed white crown bordered by a lace edge, and a round-eared cap, which curved around the head to cover the ears and was edged with lace or ruffles. Both cap types had long fabric streamers called lappets that were left to hang down the back, tied under the chin, or pinned up on top...

Changing styles

By the end of the Roman Empire the toga, which had once been required wear for Romans, was worn only on ceremonial occasions. The Byzantines, who tended to prefer simple flowing clothes to the winding and draping of the toga, did away with the toga altogether. They chose as their most basic of garments the dalmatica, a long, flowing men's tunic, or shirt, with wide sleeves and hem, and the stola for women. Unlike the Romans, the Byzantines tended to be very modest about any display of flesh....

Powerful nations

Perhaps the most significant political trend of the century was the consolidation of power in the hands of monarchs ruling large kingdoms, or nations. During the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500) many minor kings, dukes, and other nobles had governed small regions. They engaged in frequent, disruptive wars with each other. By the sixteenth century, however, nobles in the regions that became England, France, and Spain had come up with a system that promoted greater stability. They gave their support...

And Incas

Inca Religion

I eople in Central and South America went barefoot most of the time. The warm climate did not require clothing for warmth. However, foot coverings did make the rugged terrain easier to manage. Mayan, Aztec, and Inca royalty and soldiers wore various styles of sandals. Typically these sandals were made of leather from a goat, llama, or sheep, or from plant fibers and tied to the foot with leather or woven fabric straps. The Incas wore an unusual type of sandal called usuta, which had a short...

Europe in the Fifteenth Century

15th Century Clothing Germany

B urope at the dawn of the fifteenth century operated much as it had for the previous several hundred years. The majority of the people, known as peasants, worked on small farms and paid some form of tax to a local lord, who provided the land on which they worked and also offered protection. These lords, who might be dukes, barons, or even kings, were the leading figures in the various kingdoms, states, duchys (the territory ruled by a duke), and other small regions by which most of Europe was...

General hair care

Hairdressing was very important among most Native American tribes since the beginning of their civilization. Men and women washed their hair with plants such as soapwort or yucca. Hair was shined with animal grease, or fat, and was sometimes colored or decorated with colored clay. Brushes were carved out of wood or made of bundled grasses, stiff horsehair, or porcupine hair. Men often plucked their facial hair, although the men of the Aleuts in the Arctic and the tribes of the Northwest, as...

Prehistoric Headwear

Evidence concerning the way early man clothed and decorated his body has lasted for thousands of years, but very little has been discovered about how early humans cared for or styled their hair. Even the best-preserved bodies of ancient man reveal nothing about how hair was worn. Rock paintings from the years 15,000 to 10,000 B.C.E. found in caves in France and southern Spain show no specific hairstyles, nor do rock paintings found in the African Sahara dating from 7000 to 6000 B.C.E. Most...

Berber Dress

The nomadic Berber people trace their African roots back to 2000 B.C.E. (Nomads are peoples who have no fixed place of residence and wander from place to place usually with the seasons or as food sources become scarce.) Over the years since then their dress has changed with the influences of invading cultures. Influenced by the past colonization of ancient Romans, whose power was felt in the region from about 509 B.C.E. to 476 C.E., many Berbers continue to wear a haik, a large cloth wrapped...

Spiritual decoration

When making jewelry, Native Americans selected materials for their spiritual or magical qualities. Animal claws, crystals, shells, sticks, cornhusks, beads made of grass seed, dried rose hips, silver-berries from silverberry shrubs, and later metal and glass beads, among other things, were used to create necklaces, bracelets, armlets, and earrings, as well as many other unique adornments worn by both men and women. Hunters of northeastern and other tribes would adorn themselves with animal...

B

Map Barbarian Tribes

'eyond the borders of the great early empires the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.), the Byzantine Empire (476-1453 C.E.), and early empires in India and China lived bands of people whose level of civilization lagged well behind that of the powerful empires. Within the borders of empires were farmers, traders, institutions of learning, government, laws, and order outside the borders of empires, at least according to those within, were barbarians, crude people who lived without order or law....

Grouping native peoples by region

More than three hundred different tribes lived across North America. Each tribe had distinct cultures, clothing styles, social organization, and language dialects. Because similarities did exist between tribes living in similar regions, anthropologists, those who study cultures, often group tribes into regional categories. The regions most concentrated on are the Southeast, the Northeast, the Plains, the Southwest, the Great Basin, the Plateau, California, the Northwest, the Subarctic, and the...

The costume revolution of the late fifteenth century

Several important trends came together in the late fifteenth century to mark a real change in costume styles across Europe. The first, mentioned earlier, was the general rise in wealth across the con- tinent. Increased political stability and expanding trade meant that more people in the growing European cities could afford the finer things in life, notably clothing. The growing wealth allowed people to wear a variety of different fabrics, including silk, taffeta, and velvet, along with the...

Wigs

During the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.) wealthy members of Roman society developed a rich and fashionable lifestyle, which included much attention to appearance and ornamentation. Both women and men used any means available to improve their looks and decorate their bodies. Cosmetics and luxurious costumes were used, and elaborate hairstyles came into fashion for women. Baldness in men was viewed as an ugly defect. Both women and men made frequent use of wigs to hide any shortage of hair....

Calceus

The calceus was the first shoe in history to look like modern dress shoes. A special type of calceus had been worn by Etruscan kings, who ruled parts of the Italian peninsula before the Romans. In common usage beginning in the Roman Republic (509 27 B.C.E.), the calceus had a leather upper secured to a sole that could be made of leather or wood. Calcei (the plural of calceus) were worn outside with the toga, the traditional outer garment worn by Roman citizens. Along with the solea, or sandal,...

Jewelry

Although Roman clothing styles in general are known for their simplicity and lack of ornament, the widespread use of jewelry provided Roman women with a rare opportunity for display. (The only form of jewelry worn by men was the signet ring, often a gold ring with a decorative stone at its center.) Fashion historians believe that the Romans inherited their love of jewelry from the Etruscans who lived in Italy before the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509 B.C.E. The Etruscans had a great...

Sandals

Indian Loincloth For Men

While the men living in the Sumerian (3000-2000 B.C.E.), the Akkadian (2350-2218 B.C.E.), and the Babylonian (1894-1595 B.C.E.) empires of Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present-day Iraq, went barefoot all the time, Assyrian men began to wear sandals for everyday use around 911 B.C.E. Showing these changes are sculptures and bas-reliefs, or wall carvings, from the time period depicting men with foot coverings. The evidence suggests that all men went barefoot...

Permanent decorations

Some body decorations were permanent. The Mayans squeezed the skulls of the most privileged infants between two boards to elongate and flatten their heads and tried to promote crossed eyes by hanging a ball from children's bangs in the center of their forehead. Mayan kings and noblemen, or aristocrats, bored holes in their front teeth and inserted decorative pieces of stone, especially green jade and glossy black obsidian, which comes from hardened molten lava. All Mayans filed points on their...

Blankets

For Native Americans, blankets have not only been garments worn for warmth, but also a source of artistic expression and a valuable trading commodity that provided economic self-sufficiency. Blankets were worn most commonly draped around the shoulders much like a cloak. Blanket making has been found in virtually all native North American tribes. Even before cotton production was developed in the thirteenth century C.E., Native Americans in the Southwest made blankets from the feathers of...

How much do we really know

The artifacts left by these cultures include clay and stone statues, carvings on palace walls, carved ivory, some wall paintings, and jewelry. These items illustrate the clothing, hairdressing, and body adornment of these cultures as well as how these cultures idealized the human form. While these visual forms provide costume historians with a great deal of information, of even greater interest are the written tablets that have been discovered. The development of written language in Mesopotamia...

And Barbarians

Goths And Gauls

Ur lack of knowledge about the costume traditions of nomads and barbarians is especially severe in the area of body decoration and accessories. While even prehistoric humans left wall paintings and carvings and small statues that indicated that they wore tattoos and painted their bodies, we have no such records from the barbarian tribes that ransacked Europe in the last years of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E.-476 C.E.). It is simply not known whether such groups as the Huns and the Goths had body...

Sixteenth Century Clothing

The sixteenth century was one of the most extravagant and splendid periods in all of costume history and one of the first periods in which modern ideas of fashion influenced what people wore. Some of the larger cultural trends of the time included the rise and spread of books, the expansion of trade and exploration, and the increase in power and wealth of national monarchies, or kingdoms, in France, England, and Spain. Each of these trends influenced what people chose to wear and contributed...

Scarification

Carification, the art of carving decorative scars into the skin, is an ancient practice on the continent of Africa that is now fading from use. The first Europeans to encounter Africans commented upon the patterns of scars that decorated the bodies of many of the people. They learned that scarification was practiced according to strict social rules that dictated the time a scar could be made and the designs used. In African cultures that practiced scarification, scars indicated a person's rank...

More extensive recording

African Beads Styles 1950

Our knowledge and understanding of African civilization began to expand in the mid-fifteenth century, when Europeans first landed on the west coast of the continent. The Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, British, French, and others, established links between Africa and Europe. Although they had first come in search of gold and other precious trading commodities, Europeans quickly started developing the slave trade, which involved the export of captured Africans. The first shipment of humans...

Body Decorations of Oceania

History Body Decoration

I n the warm climate of the thousands of islands that make up Oceania, people wear few clothes. Uncovered, their skin is considered a blank canvas for decoration. Among the many different cultures living on the islands, body decoration is very important to social and religious practices. Body painting is a temporary method of adorning the body. Much as westerners wear dress clothes to weddings, the peoples of Oceania paint their bodies for rituals and festive occasions. Other body markings are...

Purses

O ne of the most used fashion accessories in history traces its beginnings to the Middle Ages (c. 500 c. 1500). It was sometime during this period that men began to wear small leather bags with their garments. These bags either fastened directly to the belts that were worn with most medieval garments, or they were tied to the belt with a loop of string or a leather strap that was fastened to the purse. What is known about purses is depicted on the tapestries and statues from the period as there...

Gloves

Gloves as a fashion accessory, rather than as a necessity to keep the hands warm, date to about the twelfth or thirteenth century, late in the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500). For years people had worn crude mittens, perhaps lined with fur, when working outdoors, but sewing techniques were not developed enough to allow for the delicate stitches that were needed between fingers. In fact, most people kept the hands warm by wrapping them in the excess fabric of their baggy sleeves. Beginning in the...

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages (c. 500 c. 1500) were a time when people in Europe did less to adorn themselves than at any period in history. The civilizations that developed in Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E. inherited their decorative traditions not from the Romans, who had loved jewelry and decoration, but from the crude barbarian groups, or tribes, that had helped bring about the downfall of Rome. The Catholic religion that developed in Europe also frowned on excessive...

Tonsure

O ne of the most mysterious and striking of medieval hairstyles was the tonsure (TON-shur). Beginning in the seventh and eighth centuries, members of Christian religious orders began to shave the top of their head in order to show their purity and chastity. The size and shape of the tonsure could vary. Some wore a semicircle tonsure, others a full circle. Some shaved just above the ears and left a full head of hair below. In some Catholic orders monks shaved all but a narrow piece of hair,...

Beret

A soft, brimless cap, round in shape, the useful beret (from the Latin birretum, meaning cap) has been worn by many different peoples from ancient times into the twenty-first century. Usually made from sturdy wool felt, a strong fabric that prevents the passage of wind and water, the beret is designed with a tight-fitting crown that helps hold the hat on the head without the use of elastic. Simple in design, yet offering excellent protection from cold, wind, and rain, the beret has been traced...

Costume of the early fifteenth century

The clothing of the early fifteenth century continued the traditions from the late Middle Ages. Both men and women continued to wear the houppelande, a long gown that covered the body from the neck to the floor. Houppelandes were made in a variety of fabrics, from simple wool to rich silk and velvet. Women's houppelandes were increasingly tailored so that the gown fit closely across the upper body, while the skirt billowed outward. Women also wore the bliaut, another long gown. Increasingly men...

Renaissance of learning and culture

Beginning in the late fourteenth century and escalating in the fifteenth century, two regions began to lead a rebirth, called the Renaissance, of learning, culture, and commerce. This Renaissance began in Italy, especially around the city of Florence, and in a region known as Burgundy, which included parts of modern-day France and Holland. The Italian states developed banking and trading systems that helped stabilize the economy throughout Europe. The duchy of Burgundy also grew very wealthy....

Beards

When it came to the wearing of facial hair, Roman men went through several shifts in style over the long history of their civilization. From the founding of Rome in 753 B.C.E. until about 300 B.C.E., all men wore long beards and long hair. In a way, they had no choice, for razors hadn't been invented. Then, in about 300 B.C.E., a barber from the island of Sicily introduced the razor and everything changed. For the next several hundred years Roman men followed a simple rule about facial hair...

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Ancient Statues Braids

Carving of a Roman man with long braids. Both men and women wore braids and curls in their hair. Reproduced by permission of Araldo de Luca CORBIS. Carving of a Roman man with long braids. Both men and women wore braids and curls in their hair. Reproduced by permission of Araldo de Luca CORBIS. ne thing is made very clear by the statues, coins, and paintings that provide our evidence about the hairstyles worn in ancient Rome women changed their hairstyles very often. Though there is no one...

The power of the pharaohs

River Nile Costumes

The first Egyptian cultures formed along the banks of the Nile River in northern Africa sometime before 4000 B.C.E. Ever since that time, the Nile has been at the center of Egyptian culture. One of earth's great rivers, the Nile's waters allowed for the development of agriculture in a dry land, and communities formed along its banks. The Nile flows north from Lake Victoria in present-day Uganda through Sudan and into Egypt and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient times Egypt had been...

Steeple Headdress

Steeple Headdress

The steeple headdress, which became popular among women in France and then throughout Europe in the fourteenth century, was one of the most distinctive forms of headwear worn in human Mary of Burgundy, standing center, wears a tall steeple headdress draped in a long veil. Reproduced by permission of Bettmann CORBIS. Mary of Burgundy, standing center, wears a tall steeple headdress draped in a long veil. Reproduced by permission of Bettmann CORBIS. history. The steeple headdress began simply as...

Footwear of Nomads and Barbarians

Costume History

s with their clothing, the footwear of nomads and barbarians was made out of the skins of the animals that they hunted and, in some cases, herded. Though we have very little physical evidence about the footwear worn by such peoples as the Gauls, Celts, Huns, and Goths, we do know that their animal hide footwear came in two basic styles. The first style, which was similar to primitive footwear worn by prehistoric humans, consisted of a single piece of animal hide wrapped up over the top of the...

Footwear of the Middle Ages

The footwear worn in the Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500) follows the trend of fashion in general over this period, moving from very crude in the early years to highly refined and even frivolous by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In fact, the evolution of footwear tracks very nicely the larger social changes that marked this fascinating period in European history. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E., Europe was without any form of unifying order. Isolated communities of...

Indian Body Decorations

ecorating and accessorizing the body plays an important part in ceremonial as well as everyday life in India, today as well as in the past. Sculptures trace the history of body decoration to the earliest civilizations in the Indus Valley, which flourished along the Indus River in modern-day Pakistan. Literature and paintings also document Indian body adornment traditions, many of which have been practiced in some form since 2500 B.C.E. Indians use colors and patterns of makeup for various...

Cloaks

Cloaks are among the most common garment in human clothing history cultures across time and the globe have used cloaks to keep warm. Blanket-like cloaks were worn by both men and women of the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca empires. Each empire used a different name for their cloaks, and often cloaks worn by men had different names than those worn by women. Mayan men wore cloaks called pati, which were cloths tied around the shoulders. The pati of poor Mayans were plain cotton cloaks, but the...

Muffs

Marybelle Bigelow

H eating the castles and great halls of wealthy people in the seventeenth century was not easy, especially in the cooler countries in the north, such as England and Scotland. Stone walls and fireplaces in nearly every room could not keep rooms warm enough when the days grew cold. Though people had many layers of clothing to keep their bodies warm, their hands remained exposed and cold. The solution to the problem of cold hands, which seems to have gotten worse during the seventeenth century,...

High Heeled Shoes

Men Braies Italian Renaissance

Height was a central feature of seventeenth-century fashion. People accentuated their height with tall hairstyles, long flowing gowns, long straight jackets, and high-heeled shoes. Introduced in the late sixteenth century as a wedged cork heel and adopted from the very high chopine, high-heeled shoes became the dominant style of footwear for both men and women during the seventeenth century. The heel of seventeenth-century shoes developed into an arched sole with a large square-based heel. At...

Leggings

In cool weather or rough terrain men and women of nearly every Native American tribe wore leggings to protect their legs. Leggings were snug or loose-fitting tubes of animal hide that covered each leg individually. Men's leggings covered the leg from waist or thigh to ankle. The top of the leggings was tied to a string, belt, or sash wrapped around the waist, and sometimes the leggings were gartered, or tied, at the knee. The leggings resembled crotchless pants and men wore them with...

Hair Coloring

By the time of the Roman Empire 27 B.C.E.-476 C.E. , both men and women had largely given up the customs of simplicity and frugality that characterized early Rome. One of the most popular ways for people to ornament themselves was through hair dyes. The many traders and slaves that came to Rome and other Roman cities as a result of the empire's great expansion exposed the Romans to a wide variety of hair colors. The most popular hair coloring in ancient Rome was blond, which was associated with...

Indian Footwear

I n the chilly Himalayan mountain northern regions of India, a variety of boots and shoes have been made over the centuries to protect the feet from cold and rainy weather. These boots and shoes are made of leather, wool, and plant fibers. But since the weather in most of India is warm, shoes were not necessary, and for much of history, Indians went barefoot. Without the need for footwear, Indian culture developed a unique history of praising the feet. Mothers massage the feet of their babies....

Egyptian Footwear

or more than half of the recorded history of ancient Egypt there is almost no record of the use of footwear. The main source of evidence for this period, the pictorial stories found in tombs known as hieroglyphs, showed every class of person, from the ruling pharaoh king or queen , to the lowly worker, going barefoot. This may not mean that people never wore some foot protection, but it does seem to indicate that footwear was of very little importance. Historians are not sure why sandals were...

Clothing of Native American Cultures

The clothing of Native Americans was closely related to the environment in which they lived and their religious beliefs. Ranging from tropical and desert regions, to woodlands and mountains, to Arctic tundra, Native Americans developed diverse styles of clothing. In the warmest regions, little clothing was worn. Among the peoples of California, for example, men were normally naked, but women wore simple knee-length skirts. In the cooler regions, more clothing styles developed. Among the tribes...

The importance of linen

The single most important fabric in Egypt was linen. Linen was made from the fibers of a plant called flax. Egypt had well-developed weaving techniques, and many Egyptian workers were involved in producing linen fabrics. It was a light fabric, which made it comfortable in hot weather. It was also easy to starch, or stiffen, into pleats and folds, which decorated the clothing of both men and women, especially beginning in the Middle Kingdom c. 2000 c. 1500 B.C.E. . Egyptians used a variety of...

Egyptian timeline

The history of ancient Egypt is broken into several periods or eras. There are stretches of time in Egyptian society that we know more about than others. During the well-known periods, Egyptians left enduring records of their society in the form of buildings and hieroglyphs that describe the period. These times were the most stable, with peaceful succession of rulers. From the lesser-known periods, few records remain. Out of the well-known periods there are three that are extensively studied...

Ancient Egypt

Lncient Egypt is one of the most studied and best known of the early civilizations. With its great pyramids and temples that have survived to the present day, and with the fascinating mummies found in tombs filled with riches and lined with hieroglyphs, or picture drawings, ancient Egypt provides a fascinating historical record. Tracing its roots to about 4000 B.C.E., the civilizations that we know as ancient Egypt existed for nearly four thousand years before they broke up and came under the...

India

Costumes India Indian History

I ndia is a vast subcontinent, or landmass that is part of a continent but is considered an independent entity, that contains many varied geographical regions. The Himalayan mountain range, which includes the highest mountains in the world, stretches across the north of the country along its border with Tibet. Three of India's largest rivers originate in the Himalayas the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra. These rivers feed a vast flat plain at the foothills of the Himalayas called the...

Chinese customs

Conical Hat History

As best is known, men in early Chinese societies wore their hair long but tied it up in a knot that they wore close to the top of their head. This custom changed dramatically in 1644 C.E. when the Manchu people took control of the throne, founding the Qing dynasty 1644-1911 . The Manchus were of a different ethnic group than the majority of the Chinese people, who were known as Han Chinese. Upon taking power the Manchus established a law that required that all Han Chinese men shave the front of...

Masks

Often considered one of the strangest accessories, masks had both practical and decorative uses among European women. Masks were first worn during the sixteenth century to provide protection from the sun and other elements while women were outside or riding horses, thus preserving the pale complexion that was in fashion. This practical usage of masks continued through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and such masks covered either the full face or just the nose and eyes. Full face masks...

Breechclout

Buffalo Deer Rabit

A breechclout was a garment designed to cover the genitals. Although breechclouts were worn by some women in the Southeast and by young girls before puberty in many tribes, they were an important male garment that symbolized male sexuality and power in many tribes. Breechclouts were worn by men in every Native American tribe, with the exception of those living in climates warm enough to wear nothing at all. Breechclouts could be made out of bark fiber, grasses, feathers, tanned beaver, rabbit,...