Clothing in ancient Egypt was more than just a way to cover the body. It signified social status, profession, and was also closely linked with the country’s climate. Made primarily from flax, ancient Egyptian outfits were typically white, lightweight, and loose-fitting, offering comfort in the hot, arid climate.
Common Clothing for Men and Women
The most common garment for men was a kilt, known as a shendyt. Initially simple and short, over time, it evolved into a more diverse garment that varied in length and complexity. Some were pleated or included decorative fringing. Men of higher status often wore kilts with more intricate designs.
Women typically wore straight, ankle-length dresses called kalasiris. These dresses were held up by straps around the shoulders. Over time, the style of these dresses changed from simple sheath-like designs to more complex and fitted garments.
Pharaohs and queens had more elaborate outfits that distinguished them from common citizens. Pharaohs wore a variety of crowns for different occasions, such as the White Crown for Upper Egypt, the Red Crown for Lower Egypt, and the Double Crown, combining both. They also wore ceremonial outfits, such as the nemes headdress, false beard, and the royal kilt with a bull’s tail attached to the back.
Queens also wore kalasiris, but their dresses were often more fitted and intricately adorned than those of common women. Royal women accessorized with wide collar necklaces, belts at the waist, and headdresses.
In the early years, children in ancient Egypt typically did not wear any clothing. Once they reached the age of six, they would wear similar clothing to adult men and women.
Footwear and Accessories
Most Egyptians went barefoot but sometimes wore sandals made from papyrus or leather. Jewelry was an important part of Egyptian fashion, and people of all classes wore it. Common forms of jewelry included bracelets, necklaces, amulets, and rings. The rich would have jewelry made of gold, silver, and precious stones, while the poor would have similar designs but made from colored pottery.
Clothing in ancient Egypt was both functional and symbolic. It was adapted to the country’s hot climate, represented the wearer’s status and role in society, and often carried spiritual significance. Today, these outfits provide a colorful insight into the life and customs of this remarkable civilization.
Wikipedia: Ancient Egypt
History Channel: Ancient Egypt
Live Science: Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt for Kids
British Museum: Ancient Egypt