Egyptian clothing was filled with variety of colors, vivid pattern and ornamentation; they were made for beauty as well as comfort. It was designed in a way that it kept people cool in the hot desert.
Linen was the most common fabric which kept them comfortable, plant dyes could be applied to the clothing but it was usually left in its natural color. Wool on the other hand was considered impure. Wealthier part of the society wore animal fibers which were the object of taboos, used on occasion for overcoats but were forbidden in temples and santuries.
Women’s clothing was more conservative than men. They wore simple sheath dresses called kalasiris. Dresses were held up by one or two straps from shoulders and worn down to ankle while the upper edge could be worn above as well as below the bust area. The length of the dress depicted the social status. They were made attractive by adding beads and feathers. Women had choice of wearing shawls, capes or robes over their dresses. They improvised their clothing by adding different sorts of drapery. Until 18th dynasty they wore tight fitted dresses which were till knee in length.
Men’s garments were simple. They wore wrap around skirts known as shendyt, a belt to the waist and they were usually pleated or gathered in the front. During this period, the skirts were short. With the passage of time the length of the skirt increased and eventually, there was a light tunic or blouse with sleeves as well as pleated petticoat.
Words: Tanya Saggi