The climate in ancient Egypt included hot summers and mild winters; therefore, the clothing they wore was light. It seemed the ancient Egyptians had a great sense of style. Seriously, have you looked at some of the clothing they wore back then? It was extravagant. Some of the pharaohs and priests wore leopard skins. In fact, in the tomb of Tutankhamen (King Tut) they found animal skins that he had wore. At certain times, both kings and queens wore ceremonial clothing that was decorated and adorned with feathers from a bird. Join us, as we look deeper into the clothing that was worn by the ancient Egyptians.
To begin with, it was mostly the women that manufactured the clothing and this was usually done at home. However, there were some workshops located in ancient Egypt where both men and women worked to manufacture clothing. The clothing that was being made was generally made out of linen and it was kept simple. A dress that had straps on it was made for women and a loincloth for men. The length of the loincloth varied, in the Old Kingdom, the loincloth was short and in the Middle Kingdom, the loincloth came down to the calf. There was very little sewing done at this time. The cloth was usually wrapped around the waist where it would be held in place by a belt.
In Tutankhamen‘s tomb, there were so many different pieces of clothing. There were shirts, kilts, tunics, socks, headdresses, sashes, scarves, caps, gloves, gauntlets and some other linings. The dresses that were worn by women could be decorated with beads and the cloth was sometimes pleated. Most of the time, the clothing covered the women‘s breasts, but there was certain periods when fashion left the women‘s breasts bare.
Dating back as far as the Old Kingdom was circular capes. The circular capes had been made out of linen with an opening for the head that had been cut in the center of it. The capes were usually painted, dyed and decorated and they covered a little bit more than the shoulders. During the New Kingdom, Egyptians would sometimes wear shawls.
It has been found that slave girls and servants wore next to nothing along with jewelry. Mostly, women who worked were dressed in a short type of kalasiris. Men who were doing labor were the loincloth or wide galabiyeh (kind of like robes). However, when they were working in the water, they did not wear anything. During the summer months, when it was extremely hot in Egypt, the children would run around with nothing on. When wintertime hit, the children would wear cloaks and wraps.
With all this talk about Egyptian clothing, wouldn‘t you like to know how they washed it? Today, we only think that washing clothes is hard work, back then it was truly hard work. The ancient Egyptians did not have the soap as we have today. When they washed their clothes, they would beat it, rinse it, and then a pair of workers would wring it. Around 1200 BCE, they came out with boilers in the washhouses and this actually lightened the work of washing clothes.