The holiday is approaching and you would like to go to a country full of history that you want to find out right on the spot. What would you say if you visited Egypt? Of course, you might have seen a lot of movies about Ancient Egypt, or even played slots games like Book of Ra, which has the same egyptian atmosphere. Matching ancient symbols and searching for the book of gods while enjoying the free game is amazing as well, but what if you’d actually visit this enigmatic country? It has a fascinating history where you can find out many things you certainly didn’t know. What’s more impressive in Egypt, besides finding out how it was formed, is the dress style of those times, more precisely in Ancient Egypt. Aren’t you interested in what they were dressed and what the Egyptians wore many years ago?
For this historical period and geographical settlement, we must say that the Egyptians wore one or two large pieces of clothing, wrapped around their bodies, in different ways. Thus, both women and men wore tunics tailored to their body, which resembled, more like a long shirt, reaching to the knees (for men) or to ankles (for women).
Herodotus called the robes worn by both sexes in Egypt kalasiris. The material and stitching have varied greatly over the centuries. The kalasiris could either cover both shoulders or be worn with shoulder straps. While the upper part could reach anywhere from below the breasts to the neck, the lower hem generally touched the ankles. Some had short sleeves, some were sleeveless. The placement on the body could be very tight or light. But how was this dress made? It was sewn from a rectangular piece of cloth, twice as long as the desired length of the garment. In the middle of the canvas was cut an opening for the head, then folded in two, and finally the lower parts were sewn together, leaving holes for the arms. They were ornamented with beads, and sometimes the canvas was folded and fastened with a belt.
Apparently, slaves sometimes wore little more than skinny pants and jewelry. But most often, women in labor were dressed in a short kalasiris. Men with physical labor wore a belt, large galabiyeh robes or, if they worked in the water, nothing. But they usually wore short skirts instead of tunics, which could be made as in West Asia by wrapping a piece of clothing around the trunk and legs. The children usually ran naked during the summer, and wore blankets and capes in winter when temperatures could drop below 10 °C.
Being very hot in Egypt, the climate was arid so the summers were hot, the clothing materials were made from vegetable fibers and cotton, the rich ones used a little wool. Most of the clothes were made of canvas and made mostly by women. What was very clear was that the clothing differed more or less depending on the social status of the person. Animal skins, especially leopard skins, were sometimes worn by Egyptian priests and monks, in their role as direct servants of the gods. At other times, kings and queens wore decorative clothing that used the feathers of certain birds.
Footwear was optional at that time but there were also leather sandals, papyrus and palm fibers that were worn occasionally, for example in work that could hurt the feet.
Regarding the style of hair arrangement, the wigs are very well known, a sign of nobility, in whose clothing the Egyptians have proven very talented. Wigs were made from animal or human hair and were used for both aesthetic and practical purposes: protection from the sun. Often, a solid perfume cone was worn over the wig, melting during the day and releasing a pleasant aroma. Since then, hair extensions and hair dye in Henna have been used. Besides wigs, Egyptian aristocrats and especially the pharaoh wore various crowns and decorative jewelry. Famous in this sense is the Blue Crown, made of heavy canvas or leather, with a height that varies between 15 and 20 centimeters and often had various sculpted symbolic elements such as “uraeus”, sacred cobra. Surely you saw at least one picture with Nefertiti, the well-known Egyptian queen. She was the one who made this type of crown famous and she was the one who, with the exception of Cleopatra, (who followed her later) was the first “beauty queen” of Ancient Egypt.
The clothing of ancient Egyptians isn’t the only thing that you’ll learn about, but for sure the way in which they lived had a major influence on other civilizations, later on, especially on the Greek one, but also on the few African cultures that were on the black continent later.