Thursday, April 7, 2011

Worldbuilding A to Z: F is for Fashion!

Well, it turns out this having a new baby and still doing the challenge thing is pretty hard. I missed my post yesterday (so busy) but I am posting both E and F today so don't miss it, just below this one. I need to set aside some time to try and get a few posts ahead. I've not been able to comment on others' blogs as much as I'd like. I am reading, but holding baby+bottle in one hand and typing comments with the other has turned out to not be very practical. Anyway, on to today's topic.

I think most people are at least somewhat familiar with the styles of the Ancient Egyptians. You can probably conjure up some images of men in short white skirts and women in tight white dresses right now. There are many things I like about Egyptian fashion that I will be preserving in Akhet though I don't plan to copy it exactly.

Egyptians mostly wore clothing made of linen cloth. The linen would be woven very fine for the rich and the royalty and much more coarse for peasants. Tomb paintings depict people dressed in white most of the time, though kings, queens and gods are often shown in colorfully embroidered and beaded clothing. There was some wool available, but only for the rich, and in later periods even some silk. However, for thousands of years linen remained the staple of Egyptian fashion. Linen, I might add, is the most wonderful fabric in the world. I absolutely adore the weight and feel and look of it and so my Akhetians will certainly be primarily dressed in it as well.

Egyptian clothing was very simple. Especially in earlier periods, there was little sewing involved. The cloth in question would be wrapped or draped around the body and held in place with a belt. The belts, among the rich, were often highly decorated. Both men and women wore a robe that Herodotus called a "kalasiris" which was basically a huge rectangle of cloth with a hole cut out for the head and held together at the waist with a belt. Pleating was a common fashion and could be quite intricate though we don't really know how it was done.

I'll be preserving these two elements, the basic white linen (sometimes decorated) and the simplicity of design in Akhet. Though I may play around with the latter a bit. One of my other passions is sewing costumes and one of these days I intend to have some fun trying to design and create the clothing of Akhet myself. I'll make sure to post pics when I do.


  1. But the last time I conjured up an image of women in tight white dresses, I got in trouble.

  2. I give you a lot of credit for writing such in-depth well thought out posts with a little baby, but by number 4 you're a pro at multi-tasking (i figured from your bio this is your fourth)

    Your knoweledge of Egyptian history is impressive. I'm sure your manuscript will be rich with detail.

  3. Babies bring in their own set of challenges, so the fact that you're even attempting to do the A-Z Challenge while with baby is commendable!

  4. You need to learn to type with your toes. :)

    I'm enjoying this series very much. So much detail.


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