Ancient Egypt Clothing

Credit: ducksters.com

What materials were their clothes made from?

The Ancient Egyptians wore clothing made from linen. Linen is a light and cool fabric that worked well in the hot climate of Egypt.

The Egyptians made linen from the fibers of the flax plant. Workers would spin the fibers into thread that would then be woven into linen fabric using looms. It was a long and laborious process.

Wealthy people wore very soft linen clothes made from thin fibers. Poor people and peasants wore rougher linen clothing made from thicker fibers.

Typical Clothing

Clothing as painted on a tomb wall Painting in the Tomb of Horemhab by Unknown Photo by the Yorck Project

Clothing during Ancient Egypt was fairly simple. The linen cloth was typically white and seldom dyed another color. Very little sewing was done to items as most clothing was wrapped around and then held on with a belt. Also, the styles were generally the same for both the rich and the poor alike.

Men wore wrap-around skirts similar to a kilt. The length of the skirt varied over the history of Ancient Egypt. Sometimes it was short and above the knee. At other times, the skirt was longer and went near the ankles.

Women typically wore a long wrap-around dress that went down to their ankles. Dresses varied in style and may or may not have sleeves. Sometimes beads or feathers were used to decorate dresses.

Did they wear shoes?

The Egyptians often went barefoot, but when they did wear shoes they wore sandals. The wealthy wore sandals made from leather. Poorer people wore sandals made from woven grass.

Jewelry

Although the clothing of the Ancient Egyptians was simple and plain, they made up for it with elaborate jewelry. Both men and women wore lots of jewelry including heavy bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. One popular item of jewelry was the neck collar. Neck collars were made of bright beads or jewels and were worn on special occasions.

Hair and Wigs

Hairstyles were important and changed over time. Up until the Middle Kingdom time period, women usually wore their hair short. During and after the Middle Kingdom, they began to wear their hair longer. Men generally cut their hair short or even shaved their heads.

Wealthy people, both men and women, often wore wigs. The more elaborate and jeweled the wig, the wealthier the person was.

Makeup

Makeup was an important part of Egyptian fashion. Both men and women wore makeup. They used a heavy black eye paint called “kohl” to decorate their eyes and covered their skin with creams and oils. The makeup did more than make them look good. It helped to protect their eyes and skin from the hot Egyptian sun.

Interesting Facts about Clothing in Ancient Egypt:

  • High ranking priests and the Pharaoh sometimes wore leopard skin cloaks over their shoulders. The Egyptians considered the leopard to be a sacred animal.
  • Children didn’t wear any clothing until they turned six years old.
  • Ancient Egyptian priests shaved their heads.
  • The Pharaohs kept their faces clean shaven, but then wore fake beards for religious purposes. Even the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut wore a fake beard while she ruled.


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