What did people wear in Ancient Egypt?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Ancient Egyptian Clothing

rahotep and nefret
Rahotep and Nefret

March 2017 - Unlike most of the people of the ancient Mediterranean, people in ancient Egypt did not wear just one or two big pieces of cloth wrapped around themselves in various ways. Instead, both men and women in Egypt wore tunics which were sewn to fit them. These tunics were like a long T-shirt which reached to the knees (for men) or to the ankles (for women).

Egyptian tunics were usually made of linen and were nearly always white. Most people in ancient Egypt, both men and women, do not seem to have covered their heads with any kind of cloth. They often went barefoot, but sometimes they wore straw or leather sandals.

egyptian peasants

Men who were working outside usually wore short skirts instead of tunics, which may have been made as in West Asia by winding a piece of linen cloth around your waist and legs. Starting in the New Kingdom, men sometimes wore leather loincloths, which seems to have been a fashion they got from Sudan, further south, possibly from Sudanese mercenary soldiers fighting in Egypt.

skull with black hair extensions
Woman from near Amarna with
about 70 hair extensions (ca. 1300 BC)
close-up of hair extensions
A close-up of the extensions

Both men and women wore blue and green eyeshadow and black kohl eyeliner, when they were dressed up fancy. People also wore black kohl around their eyes because it helped to keep the glare of sunlight down (which is why football players do the same thing today). Men wore their hair short, and shaved their beards and mustaches, while women wore their hair down to their shoulders, often with extensions. Both men and women wore gold jewelry if they could afford to.

More on how to make an Egyptian costume
More about Egyptian shoes

Bibliography and further reading about ancient Egyptian clothing:

Eyewitness: Ancient Egypt, by George Hart. Easy reading.

Ancient Egyptian Fashions, by Tom Tierney (1999). Easy reading.

Ancient Egyptian Costumes Paper Dolls, by Tom Tierney (1997).

Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber (1995). Not for kids, but an interested high schooler could read it. Fascinating ideas about the way people made cloth in ancient times, and why it was that way.

Linen
Spinning
Weaving
Egyptian Shoes
More about ancient Egypt
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 26 May, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT