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Linen

Margarita Gleba

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Since prehistory, linen, made from flax, has been one of the most widely used textile materials. Linen does not take easily to natural dyes, so before the advent of synthetic colorants it was rarely dyed. Linen is particularly suitable for utilitarian fabrics, owing to its strength, low elasticity, and durability. The earliest known textiles are linen. In Europe, flax was cultivated by the second half of the seventh millennium b.c.e. Some surviving fabrics are so fine that they still cannot be du

Early History of Dress and Fashion in Continental West Europe

Mechthild Müller

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The discovery of the Iceman “Oetzi,” who lived between 3500 and 3000 b.c.e., provides valuable information on early dress. His many garments included a patchwork-style goat-fur mantle. Much later, Roman dress included tunics and togas for Roman citizens or friendly allied nations. In 816/817 Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, made monks and members of the clergy accept dress codes. Lay men and women were required to dress differently, and women had to cover their heads in public. Fashion during

Materials

Giorgio Riello

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. West Europe 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Before 1800, fashionable individuals were defined as much by the textiles they chose as the styles they wore. There are characteristics shared by all textiles. First, they were used by people across society to construct notions of worth and appropriateness. Second, their importance in medieval, early modern, and modern European societies was linked to their value. Before industrialization reduced production costs, textiles remained generally luxuries. A third shared characteristic was their ubiqu

Head and Neck

Susan J. Vincent

Source: The Anatomy of Fashion. Dressing the Body from the Renaissance to Today 2009

Book chapter

1663. Two years after Charles II’s triumphant return as the English monarch, the unspeakable horror of the plague yet two years in the future with the Great Fire to come after that, and Samuel Pepys was facing a personal dilemma. He wanted to try wearing a wig, but lacked the resolution to cut off his hair. While two years earlier he had been very particular about how it was trimmed, ‘finding that the length of it doth become me very much’, by May 1663 he was experiencing such difficulty keeping

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