Throughout thousands of years European men and women’s clothing have changed in various ways including color

Throughout thousands of years European men and women’s clothing have changed in various ways including color, size, and textiles. Since the ancient, Europe to today, styles of clothing have changed rapidly. Clothing has gone from draping cloths of your body to take an hour to fit gowns around your waist. Comparing the earliest recordings on clothing from ancient Europe and the fashions and styles we have today the difference is quite distinctive.
Beginning in ancient Europe around 3900 B.C. through 500 A.D. the toga was the most significant piece of clothing. Togas are one-piece, woolen garments that drape loosely around the shoulders and down the body. The type of toga worn depended on one’s social status, age, and profession. For example, the toga purpurea was a purple-dyed wool, and was worn in times of triumph by an emperor. Togas were required for all free citizens because tunics were worn only by children and slaves. Tunics are loosely worn, thigh-length garments that are typically sleeveless. By the second century B.C., however, togas were worn over a tunic. The tunic became the staple item of dress for both men and women.
Around 44 B.C. men were only allowed to wear togas–this rule was placed after the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Women wore an outer garment known as a stola. A stola was a long pleated dress. Women wore draped cloths with large rolls for effect of several clothes. Dresses were colored in white or unbleached fabicy. Women, slaves, and foreigners were forced to wear tunics and forbidden to wear togas because the law. Shoes were rarely worn, but on that occasion sandals were the type. Clothing during this time was used for practicality, but during Medieval times clothing were worn for fashion.
The Middle Ages, also known as medieval times, lasted from 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D. Men typically wore tunics. regardless of social rank, men wore a cloak, tunic, trousers, leggings, and accessories. The tunic was cut between the hip and the knee and had either long or short sleeves. The short, fur-lined and woolen cloaks were fasten with a single brooch, usually circular in shape. Trousers and leggings, usually worn under a short tunic or with a small cloak, were ankle length. Leather belts worn at the hips were more of a necessity rather than a luxury.
Medieval women wore a lower necklines and more curvaceous silhouettes. Tight lacing was used on women’s garments to create a form-fitting shape which, girdled at the hips, created a long-waisted appearance. Belts tied around women’s midsections held their dresses in place. The headdress, an important piece in women’s outfit, regularly contained extravagant arrangements of hair and fabric. The headdress sometimes included veils hanging behind the head or draped over the face; this is where the bridal veil originated from. Shoes were made of leather and secured with straps.
In the Middle Ages both genders wore clothes made of wool, but it varied in quality based on wealth. Wool could be fine and expensive or coarse and cheap. The richer Middle Age women would wear more expensive materials such as silk or tightly woven linen. Clothing of the medieval era and renaissance era were quite similar.
The Renaissance, 1300-1700 A.D. , clothing have small differences compared to the past era. The wide, high-waisted look of the previous era was gradually replaced by putting more emphasis on the shoulders. The previous full, loose sleeves ended just below the elbow and became longer and tighter. The body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.
In the Georgian Era from 1710 to 1830 A.D. clothing began changing rapidly. Men wore knee length, trouser like garments called breeches. They paired the breechers with linen shirts, wool stockings and leather boots. The Era was divided into two halves.The earlier half of the Era men wore a jacket called a doublet with a cape on top. The style soon changed to a waistcoat with a frock over top. It became a three-piece suit with breeches added to it. Instead of wearing their hair long and having beards, men were now clean shaven and they wore white, powdered wigs.
The Georgian Era fashion was exaggerated with full skirts, frills and bows. Not only were skirts big, but hair was piled up outrageously high. Women wore skirt frames made of wood or whalebone under their dresses to give the effect of having several layers of clothing. Women wore a linen nightgowns called shifts. Over top they wore long dresses containing two parts: he bodice, a vestlike undergarment, and the skirt. If the woman was wealthier, she would traditionally wear two skirts. Compared to the Georgian Era the Victorian Era was even more extravagant.
The Victorian Era from 1830 to 1900. In the 19th century it was typival for pople of all classes to wear hats. Wealthier men wore top hats while middle class men wore bowler hats. The working men wore cloth caps, such as berets. Men wore tight-fitting, calf-length, frock overcoats and a waistcoat. The vests were single or double-breasted, and paired with linen or cotton shirts with low collars. The shirts were worn with wide cravats or neck ties. In the 1880s, men’s shoes narrowed and had higher heels. In the 1890s, the blazer was introduced.
Clothes were seen as an expression of women’s place in society. Bertha is th named for the low shoulder neckline paired with a tightly laced corset that emphasizes a women’s small waist. The tightly fit sleeves matched with the shape of the women’s small waist. Crinolines, a hooped petticoat, were used to give skirts a beehive shape. With at least six layers of cloth worn under, they could weigh as much as fourteen pounds. As crinolines started to develop in fashion, sleeves turned into bell shapes which gave the dress a heavier volume. Clothing took a wide turn into the Mid-century.
The Mid-century lasted from 1930 to 1970. As styles changed, the discomfort large skirts were left behind. The clothing changed quite a bit after WWI and WWII. Men’s clothing consisted of slightly flared jackets with natural shoulders, and an overall narrower cut often style was accompanied with a bowler hat and a long slender overcoat. By the late 1950s, the business suit changed from a broad English drape cut and single-breasted two-piece suits with narrower lines to a sharper shoulders. It included lighter fabrics, shorter fitted jackets and narrower lapels. Womens’ fashion was dominated by beehive hairstyles, petticoats, and bold bright lipsticks. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.
In the Georgian Era from 1710 to 1830 A.D. clothing began evolving rapidly. Men wore knee length, trouser-like garments called breeches. They paired the breechers with linen shirts, wool stockings and leather boots. Based the clothing off war restrictions and ceasing textiles, ladies wore longer skirts which were either full or fitted. The new silhouette had narrow shoulders, a cinched waist, bust emphasis, and lengthened skirts, often with wider hems.
Today’s fashion varies quite a bit and it is difficult to define in technical terms. The constant changing style the present generation has chosen is a diverse mix of 20th century pieces. While new styles have been added such as: the emphasis of bright colors and shiny accessories, old styles have been brought back such as the corset from the Victorian Era, sandals from Ancient Europe, and highwaisted pants from the Mid-century.
Fashion has been constantly changing aspect of people’s lives from back in the ancient world to today. To understand some of the fashion choices you would also need to understand the situations the people in that time period experienced. Rachel Zoe, an American fashion designer and writer claims “Style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak.” The importance of feeling beautiful and stylish were as important to the people in Ancient Europe and the Georgian Era as it is to people today.

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