In addition to being a source of comfort and protection, clothing is also an expression of who we are. Fashion has always been seen as a symbol that goes beyond merely a sensible means of attire, ever since the beginning of recorded time.
Dating back to 3,000 B.C., Ancient Egyptians and Greeks wore different attire to showcase their uniqueness. Egyptians gravitated towards short kilts and long, fitted dresses that were made from lightweight cotton. The Greeks, however, wore long, thick, woolen gowns, for both men and women. In 400 A.D., the Romans became known as the epitome of style. Their togas were used to convey levels of status and rank.
As with all things, migration and the mixing of cultures changes everything. The Middle Ages saw many people migrating North, towards Europe. The cold weather necessitated the use of more layers for women, and the men wore armor or casual wear.
In the 17th century, pilgrims who migrated Westward to the Americas had no means to manufacture new clothing. They had to ship them across the ocean. Long dresses and suits were the typical fashion since it was still deemed more practical than fashionable to purchase a wardrobe.
In the 1800s, there were a series of styles, all focused on emphasizing parts of the anatomy and/or displaying social status. High-waisted dresses started to appear, paying tribute to Emperor Napoleon’s wife, Josephine Bonaparte. French fashion soon took over, with everyone trying to emulate the designs. Less attention was paid towards the idea of comfort, as corsets and petticoats took over.
Two major breakthroughs came about in the 1900s. The invention of synthetic die opened up a whole world of possibilities when it came to color, and ready to wear fashion made it possible to bulk manufacture items instead of creating them on a per-person basis. Women also started to feel more liberated and skirts became shorter and narrower. The t-shirt was introduced by the U.S. Navy as an undershirt. Jeans appeared in the 1930s and the iconic American look was born. Towards the end of the 1990s, women became even more comfortable with broadening their tastes and started wearing pants. Clothing in general became looser and more comfortable.