What are some fashion clothes

The history of fashion: clothing then and now

Nobody can say without a doubt what material the first garments were made of. If you trust the story with Adam and Eve, then it was possibly made of fig leaf. On the other hand, those who believe that humans evolved from monkeys will be more likely to agree with the answer that one wore fur first. What has changed little over the years is the material from which our clothing and thus fashion is made. We have always wore natural materials such as wool or linen. But the way we wear them has changed all the time.

The development from a necessity to a status symbol

The three most important basic human needs have not changed fundamentally over the years. They are:

  1. food
  2. shelter
  3. clothing

In the beginning, the clothing was nothing more than protection against environmental influences such as rain or cold, which the wearer was exposed to without protection without it. Over the years, clothing has retained another property in addition to its rudimentary protective function: it has become a means of self-expression.

But let's first look back at the beginnings of clothing. About 130,000 years ago, when Neanderthals colonized the world, they threw unprocessed animal skins around their bodies to protect them from the cold of the Ice Age. 35,000 years ago there was the first processed clothing from the Stone Age: The inhabitants of our planet made clothing from killed animals, tree bark and plant fibers. At the same time, the first signs of self-expression appeared: clothing was made in certain colors, shapes and patterns. Even body coverings did more than just protect the body. Historians believe that a beautiful coat represented some kind of decoration or ornament. Consequently, clothing signaled something about one's position in society.

The importance of colors in terms of clothing and fashion

As soon as new fashion collections appear today, the question of the latest trend color is almost a matter of course. Whether emerald green or sky blue - colors determine fashion trends. Not only that, colors are so important these days that they are even worn on certain occasions. Black, gray and dark blue, for example, are considered classic colors for formal occasions.

Colors have not always been associated so much with occasions. Once upon a time, colors were not only a way of showing one's taste, but also of showing the rank and position of the wearer. Certain colors were even written into dress codes. For example, red and white were reserved for the upper class in ancient times. White was and is still a symbol of purity, while red stands for wealth and power. Peasants, slaves and other people from the lower classes did not dare to use these colors - quite apart from the fact that they could not afford the material for these colors.

Lower classes mostly dressed in brown or gray. With these colors they were inconspicuous, but the earth and dirt colors also reflected their inferiority. The color yellow was also flawed throughout history. In ancient times it was reserved for prostitutes. In the following centuries, too, the color yellow was an expression of dishonorable craft, for example that of the executioner.

Ancient fashion

Even if no one would dare to take to the streets naked today, nudity was not considered offensive in ancient Egypt and was not frowned upon as it was in the later millennia. At the time, clothing was a luxury. Nobles were able to stand out from bourgeois society with the nature of the materials used for their clothing. In ancient Egypt, however, people were rather scantily clad due to the mild climatic conditions. The clothes were usually made of linen and were very light. Men usually wore a calf-length or knee-length apron. The upper class complemented this robe with a tunic. Slaves and palace servants were almost naked. The latter usually only adorned strings of pearls around the belly.

In ancient Greece, the tunic, an item of clothing worn directly on the body, prevailed. The tunic of that time has little in common with today's garment, which is more of an accessory and is worn over clothing. The advantage of a tunic was that it was reasonably priced and that everyone could wear it to their liking. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, there were already some strict regulations governing what clothing was allowed and how to wear it. Even then, the lower folk had to orientate themselves in fashion to the royal houses.

The importance of body jewelry

The floor-length robes worn by women left the breasts exposed and were held in place by two straps attached to the shoulders. Only in aristocratic circles was the upper part of the chest covered by an additional cloak or a collar-sized necklace.

Both sexes usually shaved their heads and on festive occasions wore wigs made of human hair, palm fibers or flax, which were fixed with beeswax. At that time, wigs were not just jewelry, they were also a status symbol.

Individuality among Romans and Greeks

Rome and Greece took over from 1200 BC. the leadership in the field of fashion. Trade and handicrafts were far superior to the rest of Europe. In both regions the fashion was a characteristic to distinguish the poor from the rich and thus the unfree from the free. The people of ancient Greece wore until 323-30 BC. Garments made from draped panels. Even if they are indistinguishable from one another for a layperson, there are great differences in the way the clothes of rich and poor Greeks were wrapped.

A strict dress code

Roman clothing became the standard in the Mediterranean. One wore the tunic and toga influenced by Greek clothing. Practically everyone in Rome wore a tunic made of linen or wool, only the lengths were different. The toga was reserved for the gentlemen in Rome who had Roman citizenship and was a garment for important occasions. Wearing the toga was subject to strict regulations as it distinguished slaves and non-Romans from Roman citizens.

The royal family as a fashion model

As mentioned earlier, the ancient royal houses were a model of fashion. 330 AD Byzantium, today's Istanbul, was named the capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine. At that time, the Byzantine royal family set the tone in fashion. Empress Theodora used every opportunity to cause a sensation with her appearance.

Fashion in the Middle Ages

Around AD 600 the transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages was in full swing. In the course of this, not only did society change, but also fashion. With the increasing importance of the church, the demand to cover the body followed. Antique garments did not meet this demand. As a result, the sleeves and pant legs became longer. At the same time, shirts and undergarments became established.

Prohibitions and Commandments in the Middle Ages

In the days of the minstrels, men's fashion was in no way inferior to that of women, because it was also extremely gorgeous. Stand men and women wore an elaborately decorated tunic in combination with a sleeveless surcot. Unfortunately, only a few items of clothing have survived from this time of year, so that fashion has to be reconstructed largely on the basis of paintings. At this point in time (until the end of the 14th century) these were not very detailed.

The bourgeois people continued to wear a knee-length smock. Aside from outerwear, a lot of attention was paid to footwear in terms of prohibitions and requirements. The pointed shoes stuffed with moss or cotton had to have different dimensions for each class of society. Over the years, these men's shoes became longer and longer - up to 46 centimeters long. From this trend, the saying “live big” developed.

Old and new trends prevailed

In the middle of the 14th century the full beard slowly came into fashion. Alternatively, the men shaved completely. The well-known pointed shoes in combination with long stockings continued to serve as footwear. The upper body was adorned by the so-called piebald, a jacket that was short to crotch height. It corresponded to the French pour point and has shrunk over the years to a tight sleeve jacket. Linen headgear, for example the waistband, was also common.

The ladies also began to cover their hair. Over the years, different headgear has been developed, from a simple veil (giver) to the hennin, a cone-shaped hood. The elaborate fashion that arose at the court of Burgundy was intended to reflect the privileges and power of the nobility in the age of feudalism.

Renaissance fashion

The transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era followed between 1450 and 1500. Events such as the invention of the printing press, humanism, the emergence of European nation states and the discovery of the American continent had a decisive influence on this period.

The Burgundian court

At the beginning of the 15th century, fashion followed the Burgundian court, which developed into the leading force in Europe. As the side two of the Valois royal family, the House of Burgundy owned numerous territories and provided fashion impulses with its power. One of them was the slim appearance of the men: They wore short jackets (piebalds), tights and long coat skirts. After the death of the last heir, Maria, not only was the House of Burgundy wiped out, but also its position as a fashion model in Europe.

The Italian model

It was replaced by Italy in the Renaissance (15th to 16th centuries). Cities like Florence, Venice and Milan became important regions for trade. This ensured that all of Europe followed Italian fashion.

Men who like to experiment

In the 16th century, the notable changes in fashion came from the masters of creation. So from the bib of the men's trousers the pubic capsule was created, but also the scabbard. The latter had wide, long sleeves and a large collar in the back, called a koller.

The women, on the other hand, wore a screw that reached down to their feet. The classic dress was divided into two parts, a bodice and a skirt. While men were generally enthusiastic about slit garments, slit sleeves were in vogue with women. For the first time, a fashion developed by the social underclass: clothing was imaginative, colorful and boastful.

Baroque and Rococo fashion

The French took over the fashionable leadership in Europe after the 30 Years War between 1618 and 1648. Louis XIV ruled from 1651 to 1715 and, as the absolute ruler, was the model for practically all courts in Europe. In Germany too, efforts were made to imitate the behavior of the French - and that in turn was reflected in the fashion of the time.

The convergence of women's and men's fashion was characteristic of the Baroque and Rococo periods (17th and 18th centuries). In this article, however, we do not want to go into more detail about this age, as we have already covered it in detail here.

Fashion from the 19th century to today

The industrial revolution in England in the middle of the 18th century resulted in a shift in society. Social and economic circumstances as well as living and working conditions changed permanently, driven by the age of machines. This development had a direct impact on fashion.

The time of the gentleman

The early 19th century was the birth of the dandy. George Bryan Brummel claimed to spend five hours a day getting dressed. Beau Brummel, as he was still called, only wore beautiful scarves and elegant clothes. His well-groomed style found numerous followers. For dandies, their elegance was a purpose in life, but it remained largely inconspicuous. They knew the best tailors in town, who made incomparable clothing from the highest quality fabrics with perfect cuts. In keeping with the elegant style of clothing, dandies naturally behaved flawlessly.

The importance of fashion and clothing today

For centuries, clothing was associated with a particular class of society. It was not until the 18th century and the industrial revolution that this status lost its importance. Even if there are still traditional costumes in many cultures today and in some regions of the world clothing still represents social status, this has become an exception. In the modern world you wear clothes that suit your taste. However, there are some rules of clothing, even if they are not legally defined. The best example is the outfit for a job interview, which has to look formal and professional. But there are also some rules at work, for example the doctor wears a smock and the pilot wears a stylish uniform. On the other hand, everyday clothing often follows annual trends that change again and again and sometimes return years later.

As can be seen from this article, fashion has a long history behind it. Some properties were able to save themselves in our modern times, others remain lost forever.

Article image: © iurii / Shutterstock
Fashion in ancient times: © Olena Brodetska / Shutterstock
Roman clothing: © anekoho / Shutterstock
Renaissance fashion: © conde / Shutterstock

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