Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Egyptian Fashion

The Egyptians went to a lot of trouble to look good, but their clothes didn't show this. They were made from linen usually, and always white. White is cooler to wear than any other color. The rich wore fine, very thin linen, while the poor wore thicker, coarser linen. During earlier years, the usual clothes for women were long, tight-fitting dresses with shoulder straps. Men wore kilts, wrapped around the waist. In winter, men sometimes wore cloaks, too. Later, more fancy clothes became fashionable. Very fine, pleated linen tunics and cloaks became the fashion. Some women wore another garment over their tunics, with pleats and sometimes a fringe. Some men began to wear two kilts, one made from transparent linen, worn over the regular short tunic. Shoes were rarely worn, but the poor sometimes wore sandals made from papyrus reeds. The rich, of course, wore leather sandals.

Men kept their hair short usually. Boys shaved their heads, apart from one section that was allowed to grow on the side. Women wore their hair loose or in a braid, of which there were many styles. At parties, men and women wore wigs with lots of braids and curls. A well-known practice at parties was to wear a special cone on your head made from perfumed fat. It dripped and melted into your wig as the evening wore on. Yuck! Another, less messy, style was decorating your hair with flowers, which is still rather popular.

Jewelry was an important part of anyone's wardrobe. The poor wore jewelry made from faience or copper. Faience was a type of glazed pottery, made from heating powdered quartz. It was once always blue but could be obtained in red, yellow, and green after someone figured out how to make different colors. The rich wore gold, silver and electrum jewelry. Electrum is a mix of gold and silver. And it could be set with glass or jewels. Stone beads were expensive, as they had to be drilled by hand.

The most striking items were big collars that wore worn by many people. They were usually made from several strings of beads that sat in a semicircle around the neck. They were usually worn by more women than men.

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