What did people wear for underwear?

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Assyrian working man on a boat

Assyrian working man on a boat

Underneath their linen tunics or dhotis, most West Asian men probably wore a strip of linen cloth wrapped around their hips like modern underwear, with the end tucked in to hold it tight. Unlike ancient Egyptians, West Asian men generally don’t seem to have wrapped their cloth between their legs. Instead they wore it like a little skirt.

Women probably wore something similar, at least sometimes. Women sometimes also wore another strip of linen under their dresses, around their breasts, to hold them in place.

Learn by doing: get a long strip of cloth and try to wrap it into underwear out of it
More about West Asian clothing

Bibliography and further reading about West Asian clothing:

Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian & Persian Costume, by Mary G. Houston (reprinted from 1954 edition). For professional costumers, with patterns.

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.

Central Asian clothing
Islamic clothing
Ancient West Asia
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By |2018-04-18T21:28:30+00:00September 11th, 2017|Clothing, West Asia|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. What did people wear for underwear?. Quatr.us Study Guides, September 11, 2017. Web. December 13, 2018.

About the Author:

Dr. 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 Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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