Like many people in modern times, the Ancient Egyptians were very into fashion. They closely followed trends that came from either Egyptian royalty or from styles in other countries.
Of course, however, Ancient Egyptians didn’t have malls, department stores, or brand-name clothing.
So, what were these fashionable trends? What did Ancient Egyptians wear on a daily basis?
Let’s find out!
Note: you can find more information on the numbered descriptions on Wikipedia here.
What were Ancient Egyptian clothes made of?
Like other ancient civilizations, Ancient Egyptians made clothes from local materials and resources.
Ancient Egypt was one of the earliest agricultural societies, meaning the economy was based on growing crops and farming.
Many of their clothes were made of linen, which comes from a plant called flax. The Ancient Egyptians soaked flax in water, separated it into fibers, and then spun it into thread for clothing.
Wealthier Ancient Egyptians wore clothes of fine, soft linen that was nearly see-through. Poor people wore rough or coarse linen. Additionally, women’s clothes were made of finer linen than men’s clothing.
Ancient Egyptian Clothes for Men
In Ancient Egypt, working-class men wore loincloths or short kilts that resembled skirts. These kilts could be long or short, depending on what was in fashion at the time.
Men also wore long tunics, somewhat like a T-shirt. These tunics were tied around the waist with a sash.
Wealthy men wore similar outfits, but they dressed them up with gold and jewelry. They often accessorized with bracelets or strings of beads.
For special occasions, wealthy men wore headdresses.
Ancient Egyptian Clothes for Women
Working-class women and wealthy women wore long tunics that looked like gowns. Like wealthy men, however, wealthy women accessorized with jewelry like earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Their tunics were sometimes decorated with colorful patterns, gold thread, or beadwork. Wealthy women, too, wore headdresses for special occasions.
Ancient Egyptian Clothes for Children
In Ancient Egypt, children usually didn’t wear clothes until they were about six-years-old. At that time, they dressed like their mothers and fathers.
Even before children started wearing clothes, they still wore jewelry. Children decorated their appearance with bracelets, collars, anklets, and other accessories.
Ancient Egyptian Clothes for Royalty
Pharaohs dressed like other Ancient Egyptians, but they enhanced their appearance with the finest jewels, gems, and gold.
They sometimes wore leather loincloths, and their garments were often decorated with gold thread or beads. Pharaohs also wore animal skins for decoration.
Ancient Egyptians, even the wealthy, were often barefoot. If their feet needed protection or if it was a special occasion, they wore sandals.
The rich Ancient Egyptians had sandals made of leather, while poor Ancient Egyptians made their sandals from papyrus or palm.
The Ancient Egyptians believed that wearing jewelry made them more attractive to the gods. They also used it to show that they were wealthy.
Ancient Egyptians wore earrings, rings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, neck collars, decorated buttons, and pendants. The amulets they wore were meant to provide strength and protection.
Only very rich Ancient Egyptians could afford, gold, silver, and precious stones like amethyst, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. Other Ancient Egyptians made their jewelry from colorful clay beads.
Appearance was very important to the Ancient Egyptians. Both Egyptian men and Egyptian women wore makeup.
They used powdered minerals to color their eyelids green or blue. They darkened their lashes and eyebrows with black kohl eyeliner.
The eyeliner didn’t just look pretty, though. It also reflected the bright desert sun away from their eyes, protecting them from the sun.
Ancient Egyptians colored their lips and nails using henna dye.
Elite Ancient Egyptians and especially royalty took very good care of their hair. They washed and perfumed their hair, sometimes lightening it with henna dye.
Children wore their hair in a style called “the sidelock of youth,” which was said to be worn by the god Horus when he was in an infant.
They shaved their heads and kept just one or two tresses, or a braid worn at the side of the head.
Men and women sometimes wore hairpieces or wigs. Wigs were made from human hair with a vegetable-fiber padding underneath.
The wigs were long, heavy, and worn mostly for festivals or ceremonies.
For the most part, Ancient Egyptian clothing was simple. But the Ancient Egyptians did everything they could to decorate and accessorize.
They wore colorful makeup and jewelry, paid careful attention to their hair, and—for the wealthy—even wore leather, animal skin, special patterns or beadwork, and decorative headdresses.
More Ancient Egypt facts.