It is not certain when people first started wearing clothes. However Anthropologists believe that animal skin and vegetation were adapted into coverings as protection from cold, heat and rain, especially as humans migrated to new climate. Anthropologists estimate that it was somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 years ago. The first cloth was made from natural elements like- animal skin, furs, grasses, leaves, bones and shells. Clothing was often draped or tied; however simple needles made out of animal bone provide evidence of sewn leather and fur garments from at least 30,000 years ago. Today we are going to get details of some of our prehistoric clothing.
Tunic: It is thought that the first assembled piece of clothing was tunic. A tunic is made from two pieces of garment was placed over the head and the stitched length lay on the shoulders, with the remainder hanging down. The arms stuck through the open sides, and the garment was either closed with a belt or additional ties were placed at the sides to hold the garment on the body. This tunic was the ancestor of the shirt.
Loincloth: Loincloth is one of the simplest pieces of clothing and one of the oldest. It appeared in about the same time in many cultures and in some is still used. Loincloth, usually a rectangular cloth draped around the hips. Cretan loincloths from around 2000 BC were highly patterned and decorated. From about 3000 BC Egyptians wore a loincloth of woven material that was wrapped around the body several times and tied in front or belted.
Cloak: Cloak is one of the oldest parts of clothing. A cloak is a type of loose garment that is worn over indoor clothing and serves same purpose as an overcoat. It was fastened at the neck or over the shoulder, varies in length. They had an attached hood or might cover and fasten down the front, in which case they have holes or slits for the hands to pass through. Ancient Greeks and romans were known to wear cloaks. There is evidence that they were used in prehistory when they were made in very simple forms. Their main use was for protection against natural elements but in time they become fashion statements.
Chiton: Chiton is a simple type of clothing from Ancient Greece. It was made from one or maximum two pieces of fabrics with some sewing and a girdle. It was clothing for both men and women but who wore which length changed through time. There were two types of chiton- Doric chiton and Ionic chiton. Doric chiton was draped and open on one side of the body. Ionic chiton was a piece of fabric folded over and sewn together along the longer side to form a tube.
Peplos: It was a body length garment established as typical attire for women in Ancient Greece by 500 BC. It was a long, tubular cloth with the top edge folded down about halfway, so that the top of the tube was now draped below the waist, and the bottom of the tube was at the ankle. The garment was then gathered about the waist and the folded top edge pinned over the shoulders.
Toga: A distinctive garment of ancient Rome was a roughly semicircular cloth, between 12 and 20 feet, draped over the shoulders and around the body. It was usually woven from white wool and was worn over a tunic. It was thought to have been worn by both men and women. It was considered Ancient Rome’s national costume. As Roman women gradually adopted the stola, the toga was recognized as formal wear for Roman citizen men.
Stola: It was a long, pleated dress, worn over a tunic. It was the traditional garment of Roman women. The traditional sleeveless stola was fastened by clasps at the shoulder. The stola was typically a girt with ribbons, and had two belts. The first was worn just below the breast creating a great number of folds. The second and wider belt was worn around the waist. The stola was usually made from wool, linen or even silk. After the 2nd century BC, when the toga was worn exclusively by men, women were expected to wear the stola. A well-known image of stola is the one worn by the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
Himation: It was a type of clothing, a mantle or wrap worn by Ancient Greek men and women from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods (750-30 BC). It was usually a large rectangular piece of woolen cloth. It was usually worn over a chiton or peplos. But it was made of heavier drape and played the role of a cloak or shawl. The himation was markedly less voluminous than the roman toga.
Clothing serves us many purposes. It can help to protect us from various types of weather. Similarly clothing has seasonal and regional aspects. In many society clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, social status.