The First Shaped Garments

3:54 PM

When we think of ancient clothing, we think of loose draped fabric with not a whole lot of shape. This is mostly true, but not completely true. While Ancient Greece and Rome may have had the elegance of draped fabric, Ancient Crete and Mycenae were the true fashion pioneers, predicting the direction fashion would take in the Western world.

Crete and Mycenaean cities had a lot of contact, trading with each other and picking up artistic styles and religion. Subsequently the clothing of Mycenaean women was greatly influenced by Cretan fashion.

Photobucket
Cretan snake goddess figurine, 1700-1550 BC.


This statue shows a snake goddess wearing a tightly fitted bodice with three quarter length sleeves and an extremely low square neckline showing the breasts, a tightly cinched waist, and a full cone shaped skirt made up of flounces or pleats. The apron-like garment worn around the waist may be ceremonial, as existing frescoes from Crete showing more ordinary women do not feature one, but then again we have limited information about the ancient world and wearing an apron or not might have just been a fashion choice. Breasts were supported by lacing or wide belts. Garments were elaborately decorated, in Mycenae they could have gold sequins, shapes made from gold foil such as rosettes, silver, lead, and iron. Evidence also suggest that these clothes were highly colorful.

Photobucket
A Mycenaean fresco from Tiryns, 1375-1200 BC.


While other ancient clothing was made of simple square shapes pinned together, Ancient Cretan and Mycenaean clothing was highly shaped, and involved patterning and sewing. They conformed to and emphasized the curves of a woman's body, and created a geometric silhouette which will not be seen again until the sixteenth century when the farthingale was introduced into womens fashion, turning skirts into cones. The complex fashion worn by the women of Ancient Crete and Mycenae was centuries ahead of its time, making these civilizations the true trend setters of the Western world.

Terrible joke: When Helen of Troy ran away with Paris and started the Trojan War, she ran away from her husband and home in Mycenae. Perhaps she was not just the face that launched a thousand ships? BUH DUM CHING!!!

You Might Also Like

10 comments

  1. As I understood it these garments were specifically for ritual, and worn by priestesses, queens and princesses in that capacity. While I agree one hundred percent that these garments were ahead of their time, I wonder that it may be a leap of faith to believe they were worn regularly by the "average" person.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have very limited evidence of what people wore in this particular time in this particular culture. My sources state that it's likely ordinary women wore a similar type of outfit, albeit not as elaborate as that worn in ceremonial functions. There's no information about any other type of garment worn during the period, so one conclusion is to say that everyone wore something of this type. Since no definite conclusion exists yet, I think its up to scholars to make their own (supported) decisions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Are those trousers in the second illustration?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It sort of looks like it but no, that's just the pattern of the dress.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great Katy, its really nice to know about our ancient wearing. I also read somewhere that they used to wear colorful dresses and there were not much varieties. By the way, these patterns are really good.
    Apparel Manufacturer in Ambala | Textile Manufacturers in Haryana

    ReplyDelete
  6. The information in your blog is very informative. Keep up the good work. WLCI School of Fashion Technology offers various courses and programmers in Fashion Designing, Fashion Marketing & Merchandising, which are very interactive and prepares students for real fashion world.
    To Know More Information Visit:
    http://www.wlcifashion.in/

    ReplyDelete
  7. According to my sources the modern dress for woman when not ceremonial was a floor length dress that was belted under the chest and comes down half way rather than exposed with a cloak around the shoulders that also went floor length men wore something similar to that design as well I came by the information when researching for a school paper on Mycenae civilization and it's culture.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wearing men's creator apparel has exceptionally clear advantages, yet it can be costly. However, as you find out about the benefits of wearing creator attire, why you would need to pay a premium for it will begin to bode well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Industrialization has proved as a boon for the garment industry, especially for India. India being traditionally, a nation of hand spun cloth has come over age when Indians are known world over for their 'fashion statement'. one button suit jacket

    ReplyDelete