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Sunday, July 14, 2013

A D-Xirably Fashionable Time Period! Ancient Egypt!

Hello my wonderful and amazing loves!

A while ago, I did a post on different eyeliner designs and techniques. Beautiful Juelz John (http://glamourzone01.blogspot.com), one of my new followers, commented that she liked the Egyptian technique.

Then it hit me, why not do a post on Ancient Egyptian fashion!? I've always been a HUGE fan of Ancient Egyptian culture and clothing! 

So here it is! The post about Ancient Egyptian Fashion and Culture! :)

Beautiful Ancient Egyptian artwork!

The different Ancient Egyptian Kingdoms 

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics 

Clothing Materials (Linen):

Most of the clothing in Ancient Egypt was made of linen; a few items were made from wool. Wool was used also, but it was not allowed in any of the temples because the material came from animals. Due to Egyptian religious beliefs about animals, wool was not permitted to touch the skin.

The Ancient Egyptians wore light clothes made from linen. Linen was made from flax; flax was a plant that grew along the Nile. Once harvested, the flax was soaked in water until soft. The soften flax was then separated into fibers, and then spun into thread which was then woven into cloth. Various plant dyes were sometimes applied before weaving to produce red, yellow or blue thread, but most was left in its natural color. After the weaving was done, linen could be sun bleached to produce an attractive white cloth that was very popular.

Ancient Egyptian Class Structure:


Soldiers Clothing Picture by Richard Deurer
Nobility Clothing Picture by Richard Deurer

All men wore a wrap-round skirt, called the shenti, which was tied at the waist with a belt. Sometimes the material was wrapped around the legs as well. The length of the skirt varied depending on the fashion of the time - in the time of the Old Kingdom they were short while in the Middle Kingdom they were calf length.

During the New Kingdom period it was fashionable to wear a pleated garment. A man's status was confirmed by how elaborate his kilt was, and how fine the linen used to make it. The kilts of the rich nobles and Pharaohs are often very intricately pleated, and must have been difficult to care for.

Rich Egyptian men were able to afford the best quality linen, which was very fine and almost see-through. Rich Egyptian men also wore as much jewelry as they could afford and decorated their clothes and wore headdresses for special occasions.

Pharaoh clothing


• Large head garments were worn.

• The Pharaoh wore a lot of gold jewelry because he could afford it.

• Cloth was wrapped around the waist.

• The Pharaoh’s clothing was more transparent than others to show his wealth and status.


Priests Clothing Picture by Richard Deurer

Priests were generally only permitted to wear linen clothing and white papyrus sandals when tending a god (neither leather nor wool were considered to be ritually pure). From the Old Kingdom Sem (mortuary) priests wore a leopard skin over their linen clothing which was held in position by a strap over one shoulder.

• Most priests did not wear a wig unlike other people in the society. 

• Priests were not allowed to wear leather sandals or wool clothing because it was considered unclean.

• Priests wore leopard robes while serving their god Amun (Amun – an Egyptian God; Amun was the name of deity or God, in Egyptian mythology, who gradually rose to become one of the most important deities, before fading into obscurity). 

• Priests were likely the cleanliest of all Egyptian peoples. They washed several times a day and kept themselves free of body hair in order to purify their bodies for Amun.

Workers usually wear only a kilt, the shenti. Some styles of shenti project forward from the body in front in a wedge shape and are usually knotted at the waist. This style often has fine pleats. There are simple shirts in Egyptian men's clothing, generally a simple tunic style, with or without sleeves.


Workers Clothing Picture by Richard Deurer

• Common people wore loincloths made of animal hide and linen as well as simple tunic dresses, which were fitted.

• Most of the slaves actually worked naked.

• The cloth used in common people’s clothing was less transparent than those of the wealthy.


Women Clothing Picture

Women Clothing Picture

Throughout the Old, Middle and New Kingdom, the most frequently used costume for women was the simple form-fitting sheath dress. A rectangular piece of cloth was folded once and sewn down the edge to make a tube. The dress would extend from a few inches above the ankles to either just above or just below the breasts.

Egyptian women wore full-length straight dresses with one or two shoulder straps. Two shoulder straps held the dress up. 

During the New Kingdom period it became fashionable for dresses to be pleated or draped. The dresses worn by rich Egyptian women were made from fine transparent linen. Like the men, rich Egyptian women decorated their clothes and wore jewelry and headdresses.


• Grooming was very important. Women also washed before they dressed. They also rubbed scented oil on themselves to smell nice.

• Women wore a piece of cloth over their heads.

• Usually, women held their hair up with pins or a metal band around the head.

• Women also wore ankle length dresses, which tied around the neck or behind the shoulders.

Robe (Kalasaris):

In the New Kingdom many men and women adopted a robe that could be draped in various ways. They took two rectangular pieces of cloth, each about four feet by five feet, and sewn together along the narrow end which left space for the neck. The basic outfit was easy to make and could be worn by a man or a woman depending on what was done next. Once the dress was on her, a woman would lift the two bottom corners, bring them around to the front and knot them under the breasts. The robe was often worn with vertical pleats.


Ancient Egyptian children did not wear clothes until they were about six years old (or reached puberty) when they would wear the same clothes as men and women.

Beading and Dyes:


The ancient Egyptians also added beading to their clothes, and dyed leather to create colorful shoes and belts.


Egyptians took a lot of care over their appearance. Since there were no new styles they took pride in keeping themselves and their clothes were spotless and clean. A hairless body was desired, so body hair was plucked and shaved. Taking care of the body was extremely important, and the Egyptians bathed frequently and applied oils for beautiful skin.



The Ancient Egyptians went barefoot most of the time but wore sandals for special occasions or if their feet were likely to get hurt. The sandals worn by the poor were made of woven papyrus (Papyrus: tall water plant that grows in the Nile Valley) or palm while those worn by the rich were made of leather.




The Ancient Egyptians wore jewelry to show their wealth and because they believed it made them more attractive to the Gods. They wore rings, earrings, bracelets, decorated buttons, necklaces, neck collars and pendants. Only the very rich could afford jewelry made of gold and precious stones. Ordinary people made jewelry from colored pottery beads.


Ancient Egyptian woman doing her makeup

Egyptian men and women both wore make-up. They used black kohl eyeliner to line their eyes and darken their eyelashes and eyebrows. They colored their eyelids with blue or green eye shadow made from powdered minerals. Henna dye was used to color their lips and nails.

Eye makeup was regularly used to provide protection from the glare of the sun and from disease bearing insects. Red ocher was applied to the lips and cheeks for the same reason women use makeup today.

Shawl (Sari):

The shawl, or sari, was very popular among upper class women in the New Kingdom. It consisted of a piece of cloth approximately 4 feet wide by 13 or 14 feet long. One corner was tied to a cord around her waist on the left side. Pass the material lengthwise around the back, gather up some pleats and tuck them into the cord at the front, and pass the remainder around the back and front again, passing it under the left armpit, around the back again, over the right shoulder and toss what remains back over the left shoulder, bringing it around and tie it to the end originally caught in the belt.
The shawl was often made of pleated material. Common accessories included a pleated cape and a long colored sash that was knotted around the waist and allowed to hang almost to the floor at the front.



The most important of all the fashion accessories was the wig. Shiny, black hair, perhaps because of its association with youth and vitality, was associated with eroticism, and artificial hair was a simple way to maintain what nature neglected. Wigs served a more practical function, however. Hair was a special problem. It was hot, hard to keep clean and easily infested with lice. Many solved the problem by shaving their heads and wearing a wig.

Egyptians who could afford it cut their hair short and then wore a wig. Unlike many toupee wearers of today, the Egyptians were quite proud of their wigs and made no attempt to pretend they were natural.  Paintings and sculpture frequently show an area of natural hair between the forehead and the wig. While the most expensive wigs were made with real, human hair, the design and structure were such that it would be almost impossible to confuse a wig with the real thing. Egyptians were proud of their wigs and would have been distressed at the thought that someone might think they were not wearing one---or even worse, could not afford one.

Palm fiber was used to make a skullcap to fit the subject’s head. Human hair, alone or mixed with plant fiber and wool, was twisted, curled, or pleated into slender braids and attached to the cap with beeswax or resin. Various dyes were used to produce the desired black. The basic structure remained the same throughout Egyptian history, but many variations were possible, and the style varied over time with the age, gender, and social class of the wearer.

Old Kingdom women wore wigs with two or three lairs of very tight braids across the top of the head and down both sides and the back. There may or may not have been a part in the middle. Several additional layers were added underneath to make the sides so much fuller.

In addition to having or not having a part in the middle, Old Kingdom wigs varied in length. Simpler style stopped anywhere between the top of the shoulders and just below the ears, a fuller version of what today might be called a bob. There were two very popular styles with hair going down to the breasts. The tripartite wig, as the name suggested, was divided into three parts. Two extended behind the ears and down the sides of the face and the front of the body as far as the breasts. A third part went down the back as far as the shoulder blades. The enveloping wig was similar in size, but covered the ears and circled from one side, around the back, to the other side in one piece rather than three. The length of the braids varied to allow them to fall freely to the breasts at the front, to the shoulders at the sides, and down the back to the shoulder blades.


Ancient Egyptian Headdresses

Ancient Egyptian Headdresses

Headdresses and crowns were very popular especially with royalty - the headdress brought significance and brought a message about the wearer. The pharaohs were always represented wearing crowns, but whether this is a pictorial convention or whether they did so in every day life cannot be decided.

Scented Cones:

Ancient Egyptian women wearing scented cones

Ancient Egyptian women wearing scented cones

Ancient Egyptian women wearing scented cones

It was the fashion at parties for men and women to wear a perfumed cone on the tops of their heads. The cone was usually made of ox tallow and myrrh and as time passed melted and released a pleasant scent. 

The icons for this time period are the beautiful Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra, of course! :)

Queen Nefertiti:

Queen Nefertiti Portrait

Queen Nefertiti Bust computer generated image
by Franco Crevatin and Stefano Anselmo

Queen Nerfetiti bust restoration by GeometerArtist

Queen Nefertiti Contemporary Portrait by Rossin Fine Art

Queen Nefertiti (‘the beautiful one has come’):

Beautiful Queen Nerfertiti digital art by mahmoud

Beautiful Queen Nerfetiti digital art by mahmoud

For centuries Queen Nefertiti has reigned as one of the most beautiful and powerful women in world history. The queen, whose name translates, as 'the beautiful one has come,' was the chief wife of Akhenaten. One of the most famous portraits in the world, the bust of Nefertiti, the wife of pharaoh Akhenaten shows the queen wearing a close fitting tall crown and a wide jeweled collar. The bust shows a regal woman with a long neck, delicate features, a high forehead and full lips. She appears young and self-possessed. Nefertiti is well-proportioned and generally shown with a youthful high bust, slim waist and flared hips. The famous bust of Nefertiti portrays her wearing a tapered blue headdress unlike that of any other queen or pharaoh. It's flat on top and flares slightly as it rises from the queen's forehead. It would originally have had a rearing cobra jutting from the front of the crown. In paintings, the queen's dress is the sheer linen gown that was a staple of royal women's fashion. Her gowns drape her slender and feminine figure. In some poses, it falls open, revealing her legs

Nefertiti dressed for appeal, and if she fulfilled a similar function as God's wife of Amun in the Amarna religion, part of this responsibility would have been to maintain a state of perpetual arousal. Ay praises her for "joining with her beauty in propitiating the Aten with her sweet voice and her fair hands holding the sistrums".

In many depictions the queen wears a sheath dress or a sheer pleated gown with loose sleeves above the elbow. In the image above and in a statue of her with the pharaoh, she wears a contrasting tie that belts the gown below the bust and falls loose in two long tails down the front of the dress. In certain images it appears she's wearing a long contrasting scarf over her shoulder that falls in two long streamers down the gown. In the statue shown on the SUNY Oneonta site, she wears a wide, jeweled collar and sandals.

She often wears the flat-topped blue crown, but is also shown wearing a plumed headdress with a sun disk. In addition to the wide jeweled color with multi-color stones, she sometimes wears wide matching armbands positioned between the wrist and elbow.

She sometimes appears with her hair up, tucked under the blue crown, and at other times has on a full wig in an above-the shoulder length.

With the help of the schematic and relative image of Ranefer statue (Old Kingdom) we can clearly see the features of ideal image of ancient Egyptians such as high stature, broad shoulders, narrow waist and hips, massive features. Common resemblance with the modern idea of beauty is noticed in woman appearance: slim figures, regular and delicate features, almond-shaped eyes (bust of Nefertiti).

Queen Cleopatra:

Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra
Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra
Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra

Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra

Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra:

Silk first came to Egypt during the Ptolemaic Period and was a favorite of the famous Cleopatra.

Queen Cleopatra made a lasting impact on Egypt -- and continues to influence fashion. She's one of the most famous women who ever ruled, and was the last pharaoh to reign in ancient Egypt. She was educated, a writer, capable of charm and diplomacy in multiple languages -- and has had a reputation for centuries for her power over men.

Her sense of style embraced both the figure-hugging, bare-breast fashions of Egypt and the more modest, fully draped Roman-style gowns, based on depictions of the Queen during her lifetime. Her headdresses and jewelry show both influences, including coins showing her with a Roman circlet on her hair and a number of carvings and paintings featuring Egyptian crowns and headdresses. Her headdress features the horns of the goddess Hathor, the sun disk and two plumes -- the upright feathers above the crown. The dress appears to be the close-fitting transparent linen popular for women's fashions in ancient Egypt for centuries. The Egyptian-style jewelry that completed the costume included a gold armband that embraces the queen's upper arm and gold earrings.

Cleopatra skillfully combined both Greek (Roman) and Egyptian elements in her wardrobe. The Queen of the Nile mixed these more modest gowns with seductive Egyptian fashions, much in the same way that modern women mix designers and styles both high and low. She seems to have worn Roman hairstyles with her hair pulled back and wigs. Headdresses or circlets completed her royal look. Her hair was perfectly coiffed and attended to, often arranged in the “melon hairstyle” of her day, which combined multiple braids into a bun at the nape of the neck, akin to a complicated updo today.

Cleopatra may have had her father's prominent nose. Portraits show her with full lips and a soft face.

She was known to wear copious amounts of perfume. And the black kohl eyeliner Cleopatra (and many other Egyptian women) wore in a cat-eye style has stood the test of time; the smoky, heavily-lined eye is still popular today. She often wore blue or green eyeshadow on her lids for a pop of color that contemporary makeup artists would recognize.

Queen Nefertari Merytmut:

Queen Nefertari statue

Queen Nefertari statue
Nefertari means 'Beautiful Companion' and Meritmut means 'Beloved of [the Goddess] Mut')

Queen Nefertari art depiction

Queen Nefertari art depiction
Queen Nefertari and Isis depiction

Queen Nefertari and Isis art depiction

Queen Nefertari and Isis art depiction

Queen Nefertari Merytmut:

She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra and Nefertiti.

Nefertari was the great wife of Ramesses II, the powerful pharaoh also called Ramsses the Great. Ramesses had many wives and Nefertari was clearly his favorite. Nefertari's tomb lies in the Valley of the Queens and displays some of the finest and most colorful tomb paintings ever discovered.

The ancient Egyptian dresses depicted in the tomb display the classic figure-enhancing style -- close fitting sheaths the fit closely below the breasts and through the torso and hips, and fall gracefully to the floor. The gowns' straps are usually wide straps over the shoulders, and sometimes the gowns have soft sleeves. Most of the gowns are the classic white or cream of linen, but one notable gown is a bright coral -- a popular color in ancient Egyptian jewelry. In the tomb paintings, Nefertari and the ancient Egyptian goddesses often wear the wide jeweled collar that was popular for men and women for centuries. Nefertari and the goddesses also wear elaborate headdresses.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

Love always,
LaTasha B.


  1. Hi sweety, how was your weekend? This is such a well researched post, I can see how much effort you put into it. Its really interesting to see the history behind Egyptian fashion. So many modern ideas have been derived from this, I see it especially in the form of accessories and jewellery. I love the elegant draping. Thanks so much for for wonderful comment, you are too sweet. Have a great start to the week doll!

    1. Hello my lovely Sam! My weekend was very nice! I won't complain at all! I got to go to a concert and I got to hang out with my God family! I completely enjoyed it! How was your weekend love?

      Thank you! It took a lot of time to get this post completed. I did do a lot of research. Thank you for noticing that love! I know! A lot of modern ideas have come from this time period. It's amazing how we continue to recycle fashion from different time periods!

      Aww... Thank you for all of the wonderful comments as well love! You are too sweet as well! :) Have a great start to your week love! :)

      Love always,
      LaTasha B.

  2. Nice blog :)

    Would you like follow each other ?

    1. Lovely LéaChoue!

      Thank you! I do appreciate the comment love! I'm glad that you like my blog.

      Of course we can follow each other love! Follow me and I promise to follow you back! :)

      Love always,
      LaTasha B.

  3. such an inspirational and educational post! I love how people brought out such Egyptian into real life!

    1. Hello lovely B!

      Thank you so much for your compliment! I really appreciate it! I'm glad that you enjoyed my post and found it educational! That's awesome! :)

      I know! I love how people brought it too life as well! It's a very beautiful and intriguing culture! :)

      LaTasha B.

  4. Yes Done :D I wait you Back :D

    1. Hello lovely LéaChoue!

      Thank you so much for following me love! I appreciate it very much! :) As promised, I'm going to follow you back right now! :)

      Love always,
      LaTasha B.

  5. cool blog I really liked it!!!!!!!!!!!
    is it easy to write that long blog????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hello lovely Anon,

      You are so sweet and awesome!
      Thank you so much for the amazing compliment love!
      I'm so glad you like my blog!
      And it isn't so bad to write a long post as long as you like the subject/topic! ;)
      I hope life is treating you well, and thanks again! :)

      With love,


Hello lovely reader! Thank you so much for reading my blog! I REALLY appreciate it! And if you're leaving a comment, thank you so much! I will respond back to you as soon as I can, and I will be sure to check out your blog as well! Have a lovely day! Love ya! x0x0x0x! :)