What You Didn’t Know About Historical Clothing

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Learning about historical clothing can be fun and interactive, and bring us closer to our heritage and culture. But there is a lot we don’t know about historical clothing, even today.

For instance, did you know that shoes used to be two-feet long, or that French noblemen wore wigs reminiscent of ships? To learn more about historical clothing and vintage fashion, we will delve deep into the world of period clothing. 

Why Wear Historical Clothing?

Many people and cultures celebrate their heritage by wearing traditional garb or historical clothing appropriate to the age of their ancestors. It is a way to feel closer to one’s heritage and learn more about the roots of one’s own personal history. 

It can also be a fun and educational pastime. Children can interact with museum characters that dress in colonial clothing and some fairs even feature renaissance clothing. Schools will even hold heritage days and encourage kids to dress as their ancestors would have. 

Examples of Period Clothing and Fashion

There are major fashion differences between generations and regions that we often generalize today. The reasons for this range from the influence of modern entertainment like movies, to a lack of education about everything from Viking dress to the role of corsets in traditional fashion.

Men and Women Wore Similar Fashion

Many clothing items that we take for granted as women’s clothing today were worn by women and men alike in prior centuries. For example, skirts and high heels were often a staple in traditional Victorian garb for boys and men. High heels could even be two feet in height. 

Men and boys also wore corsets along with women. They were fashionable for cinching waists and providing for the desired hour-glass figure, usually 1-2 inches skinnier than when the corset was not used.  

Garments Were Larger

Women’s dresses were also quite a bit wider in the hoop than today’s skirts. They could be so wide that women would get stuck moving through doorways. 

Dress bottoms weren’t the only type of clothing that was larger than today’s equivalent. For example, the neck ruff commonly associated with Shakespeare could be over three feet in diameter. 

In the Victorian era, most garments were much weightier and bigger than today’s versions. However, it actually did not take more time for people to get dressed. Leisurely dressing oneself or having a servant assist in dressing you became popular in the French upper class when it showed off one’s wealth. 

Cleanliness Was Not a Priority

In centuries past, there were also fewer options for cleaning garments than we have today. In ancient Egypt, men even wore hats steeped in animal fat to cover any offending odors. With how hot and clingy some clothing could be during past generations, it is hard not to wonder at the general smell. 

Celebrate Your Heritage

To preserve history and understand past generations more intimately, historical clothing can provide an outlet for discovery. There are many things that we do differently today than in the past. 

There is no better time to learn more about vintage fashion and period clothing to celebrate your unique heritage and culture. Find out more by checking out our blog.