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Ancient Egyptian Fashion
Woman putting on make-up

A People who are interested in studying ancient Egyptian fashion and clothing are quite lucky. This is because there is a huge amount of evidence of what the ancient Egyptians wore. One can get a lot of information on ancient Egyptian clothing from the many, many statues and wall paintings that have survived to the present day.

B One interesting thing about ancient Egyptian clothing is that for nearly 3,000 years there was almost no change in what people wore. This is quite different form modern fashion, which changes quite often.

C The clothing of ancient Egypt was affected by two important factors: climate and social status. Clothing was a necessity in Ancient Egypt because the Nile river valley had a moderate climate. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. Clothing was therefore a luxury item of no great practical value. In ancient Egyptian art, slaves and poor people are usually shown wearing not very much clothing. Sometimes they wore nothing at all. The higher up the social scale, more clothing and jewelry was worn. This type of clothing is designed to show the shape of the body, not to hide it. The Pharaohs and their queens wore the most elaborate Egyptian clothing.

D Here are some interesting facts about ancient Egyptian clothing and fashion:

  • The ancient Egyptians were very concerned with hygiene. Therefore, they often wore linen, which is made from plants. They did not wear wool or other animal-based textiles. Ancient Egyptians thought these were dirty.
  • The ancient Egyptians shaved (remove all the hair from) their heads. This may have been done out of a concern for hygiene. Men and women shaved their heads. Normally it was younger women, not older ones that shaved. Among men, priests normally shaved.
  • Example of ancient Egyptian wig
  • Egyptians often wore wigs for special occasions. These wigs were made of human hair. Sometimes they were made of plant materials.
  • During parties guests wore small balls of beeswax filled with perfumed oil on top of their wigs. These balls of wax would melt into the wigs with the heat of the room. This would release the smell of the perfume during the party
  • Both men and women wore eye make-up.

E As you can see, ancient Egyptian ideas of style and fashion were very different from modern ideas about these things. This is what makes this topic so interesting.

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