THE ORIGINS OF FASHION

by admin on March 16, 2011

medieval fashion

have you ever wondered when fashion began?  not fashion in the more primordial sense of a drive to decorate oneself, but rather in the way we know it today:  styles of clothing that go in and out of favor over time. 

although humans have decorated their bodies since time immemorial, the advent  of fashion is more recent.  in ancient western civilizations, clothing did indeed have style, but styles might change every….let’s say 500 to 2000 years!

  and even then, the changes would be such that a modern woman might barely notice them:  a toga worn on the L shoulder rather than the R, a cape closed in front rather than at the side,  a wrapped garment made of oval fabric instead of square. 

when esme was studying ancient fashion history,  it took her awhile to catch on to the subtlety of these variations.  she still admits to trouble telling a chiton from a tunic from a himaton! 

well anyway, things became a bit easier as time marched on and styles started to change a bit more rapidly.  by the middle ages, clothing styles might change every 50-100 years! a thriving middle class developed, people began to sportshop, et voila—the birth of fashion! 

now of course, we are lucky if our clothes stay in style for a season, and the list of what’s hot and what’s not can change by the month.  kind of makes one long for the middle ages, doesn’t it?  although esme knows she would have been freaking out worrying about the plague, not to mention the difficulty of obtaining hot water for bathing!

historically (histrionically?) yours,

esme

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