Clothing From The Ancient Empires Before 400 CE

Submitted By lucieVie
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Pages: 12

Ancient Empires until 400 CE:
In general, clothing from the ancient Greek and Roman times was based more on function rather than style. Clothing was loose and flowing, never tight fitting. Tunics covered with layers of draped cloth were common for both men and women.
In Ancient Roman and Greek periods and before were very simple, as clothing expressed practical function over stylistic form. The most basic garment for women was the “Doric peplos” which were commonly worn through the beginning of the sixth century BCE. Made from a rectangle of woven wool, the Doric peplos measured about six feet in width and about eighteen inches more than the height of the wearer from shoulder to ankle in length. The fabric was wrapped around the wearer, with the excess material folded over the top and pinned on both shoulders. The excess material was allowed to fall freely, giving the impression of a short cape. Pins used for fastening the shoulders of the peplos were originally open pins with decorated heads, but they were later replaced by fibulae or brooches. Fabrics were plain and for the most part, undecorated. The cloth was usually white or off white and commoners were forbidden to wear red in public. Asian countries used bright colors and lots of embroidery, because of their abundance of dyes and silks. Cosmetics were also used by women from ancient times. As for hair, women often braided their hair or kept their head covered by fabric draped about the face like a hood.
400 CE to 1400
With the beginning of Christian influence, dress became more modest than before, with longer hemlines and sleeves. However, because of increased trade, clothing became more extravagant with embroidery and beading.
Clothing tended to be heavier, which suggested a climate change across the European continent. Shoes were generally worn instead of sandals. Women's clothing was also based upon the general design of the tunic. A loose tunic was worn over a sleeved, fitted tunic. This period saw a widening of sleeves and hems, often flared and using far more fabric than before. By this time, Europe had learned from Eastern cultures how to make velvet, and Western clothing became more lavish. Several factors contributed to this trend towards extravagant and highly decorated clothing. Increased trade from the East brought fine fabrics, as well as new ideas for decoration, while Western countries improved their own textile-making techniques at home. The upper, noble classes also grew during this era, as personal wealth was gained by survivors of the Black Plague. The fashionable, wealthy classes experimented with often extreme styles, from hooked shoes called "poulaines" to cone-shaped hats with long veils.
1400 to 1550
There were many style changes during the Renaissance period. Dresses gradually lost their long trains, women wore robes, (dresses with an attached bodice and skirt), and women began to show their hair again, which was adorned with jewels and veils. Later in the period, sleeves became puffed and necklines were adorned with high standing collars, as well as voluminous skirts supported by hoops made of wire or wicker. Slashing, (cutting the outer layer of cloth to reveal the inner layer of cloth), was also very popular.
After the turn of the 15th century, Renaissance fashions began to follow German styles. The simple, natural styles of the early period were replaced with horizontal, massive styles. Hoops were held together by ribbon or tape. The hoopskirt, called the farthingale, reached its maximum width around 1600, when it became a cartwheel or drum shape. Sleeves were puffed and necklines were adorned with high-standing collars with expanded ruffs or circular lace. Women began wearing headdresses, at first a simple hood which then became peaked.
1550 to 1605
During the Elizabethan period, clothing was designed to cover every inch of the body. As the period progressed, waist lines became