How did European clothing evolve?

Jan 2011
1,202
Delaware & Pennsylvania
#1
I have always been wondering how the clothing of Europeans evolved. It is probably because I didn't research much on Europe but I've always wondered why it is so different between medieval European clothing and ancient European clothing. Like, where did the tights come in from? Codpieces? Curly pointed shoes?

Or is it because I was only looking at ancient Rome and Greece and not any of the other ancient Europeans?

Thank you guys!

(Pictures preferred if possible!)
 
Aug 2011
1,614
Sweden
#3
I have an early example from Bronze Age Denmark: the Egtved girl. She was buried in a oak coffin around 1370 BC, that is around the same time as Tutanchamon. Her light clothing may be result of a summer burial, and the string skirt looks quite modern.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egtved_Girl]Egtved Girl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
 
Mar 2012
1,039
New Hampshire
#5
I have always been wondering how the clothing of Europeans evolved. It is probably because I didn't research much on Europe but I've always wondered why it is so different between medieval European clothing and ancient European clothing. Like, where did the tights come in from? Codpieces? Curly pointed shoes?

Or is it because I was only looking at ancient Rome and Greece and not any of the other ancient Europeans?


Thank you guys!

(Pictures preferred if possible!)
That would be the problem. Modern Western culture owes more to medieval Europe (medieval Northern/Western Europe in particular) than it does to ancient Rome and Greece, regardless of how much scholars used to (and continue to) sing the praises of the Romans who allegedly made everything themselves and were the only civilization until now ever.
 
Jan 2011
1,202
Delaware & Pennsylvania
#6
That would be the problem. Modern Western culture owes more to medieval Europe (medieval Northern/Western Europe in particular) than it does to ancient Rome and Greece, regardless of how much scholars used to (and continue to) sing the praises of the Romans who allegedly made everything themselves and were the only civilization until now ever.
Does that mean the medieval clothing comes from like.. I think the Gauls and stuff? (sorry, I don't know much on them because history books only taught me Rome and Greece)
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,666
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#7
One element of it is fashion, which often spread down from royalty, or the upper classes.

For example, wigs became fashionable in France when Louis XIV began to wear one to hide his baldness. The high collars and voluminous cravats of the British Regency period were popularised by the Prince Regent (later George IV), who wore them to disguise his double-chin.

As for European clothing styles, consider that the climate of Southern Europe around the Meditteranean (where Rome and Greece are) is very different from that of Northern Europe. Light tunics and togas weren't terribly appropriate for say, Britain or Scandinavia, where furs and heavier, coarser clothing would provide better protection.
 
Nov 2011
8,865
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#8
I have always been wondering how the clothing of Europeans evolved. It is probably because I didn't research much on Europe but I've always wondered why it is so different between medieval European clothing and ancient European clothing. Like, where did the tights come in from? Codpieces? Curly pointed shoes?

Or is it because I was only looking at ancient Rome and Greece and not any of the other ancient Europeans?

Thank you guys!

(Pictures preferred if possible!)
You should visit the V&A ( Victoria and Albert) Museum in Kensington.
Their speciality is art and design and have the world's biggest collection of fashion. I am not sure that they have clothing before 1600, but they have (had once) an audio visual of fashion from classical times. I suspect that their stuff is now on-line.
Tip for history buffs. If you have trouble getting your lady friend/wife/whatever to go to Museums--take them here, they could spend days looking at shoes alone.
There are several other museums in the UK covering textiles, uniforms, costumes and clothing related stuff.
 
Apr 2013
1
California
#9
As we all know, European countries can be divided into five parts, such as Northern European countries, Western European countries, Northern European countries and Central European countries. I had introduced dress rite in some European countries, such as Poland and Spain.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,356
South of the barcodes
#10
I have always been wondering how the clothing of Europeans evolved. It is probably because I didn't research much on Europe but I've always wondered why it is so different between medieval European clothing and ancient European clothing. Like, where did the tights come in from? Codpieces? Curly pointed shoes?

Or is it because I was only looking at ancient Rome and Greece and not any of the other ancient Europeans?

Thank you guys!

(Pictures preferred if possible!)
For fashionable men clothing was designed to either fit under armour, resemble the armour you would be wearing or generally suggest that you were a young macho warrior, kind of like wearing camo clothing today.

Part of the problem with armour is that its very difficult to get out of it to go to the toilet and your likely to be wearing it for hours so the armoured codpiece is a neat way of guarding the important places while allowing full jointing at the groin and allowing easy access without removing major pieces of metalwork.

So in theory the codpieces is just a copy of this functional bit of armour carried over into civilian clothing, its also practical though, in mefievil manufacturing hose was made as two seperate legs which meant if one was damaged you didnt have to replace both legs and if you were feeling particularly dashing you could mix and match colours on each leg.

that meant that while the two leg pices could be tied together and worn over linen underwear for decency the jpining not only left you a little....exposed down the middle it was messy so a codpiece covered up the ties and joins neatly.