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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Going Abroad to Egypt's Fashion

By: Jena Isle

The Egyptian influence in fashion has been around us quite predominantly but sometimes we fail to notice this, because it has been modified and enhanced to suit the modern woman/man.

The following are exotic, Egyptian fashion influences that are found today:

The "kalasiris"

This is a very simple but elegantly designed tunic which was worn by both genders during the olden times in Egypt.

The length of the linen (from flax) started from the snug neck and extended easily to the ankles, which facilitated easy movements. The length of the sheath clothing was dependent upon the height of the person.

It acted primarily as a protective covering for workers, but was eventually adapted by the royal families as well, because of its simplicity and elegance.

Today, the Egyptian influence is still enormous. Paul Poiret, "The King of Fashion," just last August 2007 had included the Egyptian elements and influence in his collections because he wanted to combine various cultures into outfits that could be available across the world.

Beaded dresses

This was similar to the "kalasiris" because it was sleeveless and a one-piece tunic which reached down to the ankle.

Most of the time, beads were found intricately embedded on the neck portion.

In today's style, we see these one piece dresses worn by models in famous fashion shows. This is because; in this outfit, models can flaunt their sensuous curves and look elegant at the same time. We do not realize that this is an Egyptian inspired design

The headdress

The headdress was usually worn by those in authority in Egypt. There were several types based on the different deities of Ancient Egypt. There was the Amen (adorned by plumes), Amentet (adorned by a half circle), Anget (adorned by feathers from the ostrich), and many more headdresses that symbolized their various gods.

The different shapes and adornments by each headdress deserve a fashion show of its own.

In present fashion shows, we often see beautiful headdresses worn by models. Even in beauty pageants, a headdress is usually a hit.


The lower clothing of men and women usually were kilts. These were simple wraps which were pleated and folded towards the front and tied with a string or held in place using a belt.

This was a loincloth which was meant to protect the skin and body from the heat of the sun in hot days and from the wind in cold days.

We see kilts everywhere we

go in the present time.


Cloaks were worn by men of the royal family. Sometimes the female had worn them too. The cloaks had sleeves that were usually wide and hanging. It may be plain or embellished with jewels or gold.

For women, robes were more common. They were worn over pleated dresses.

Nowadays, cloaks, shawls and robes are still fashionable. In fact they are actually practical clothing to have in your closet.


Jewelry was worn both by the common people and by the nobility. There were anklets, earrings, armlets, amulets, rings, collars and pendants which were adorned with silver and gold for the royal members and copper for the common people.

Perhaps it was from the Egyptians that we inherited our penchant for jewelry. A woman could never go without it. It is a part of a modern day woman's wardrobe.


During those times, a wig was a necessary paraphernalia. It was used to protect the head from heat and dirt. Aside from this it served also as a decoration, much like the jewelries.

Males shaved their heads or maintained skin - head cuts while female grew their hairs, or had them shoulder length.

Depending on the occasion, wigs were worn and denoted the class of the person. The more elaborate the wig was, the higher the class of the person.

The wigs may be made from human hair or plant fiber, intricately interwoven and fastened with beeswax.

The royal members had numerous wigs. These were were neatly and intricately designed to compliment their looks.

Although not all people wear wigs nowadays, the concept of the wig making industry came from the Egyptian influence.

Even up to this day, not only in Egypt, but in all countries, there are still many who prefer to wear wigs.

Make-up/body care

The royal Egyptian women took pains in preserving their radiant skin and appearance. They applied kohl to their eyelids and brows to darken them and focus attention to their dark, beautiful eyes. They went to elaborate procedures to pamper their bodies. They bathed literally in milk and honey as these maintained clear and smooth skin.

Just like jewelry, make up and body care would always be a part of women's and men's fashion in any generation or era.

We color our eyelids and our brows; we cover our skin with liniments and potions (lotions), we bathe with perfumed soap just like what they did in Egypt thousands of years ago.

It would be safe to assume, that an enormous part of the concepts of fashion came from the ancient land of Egypt as evidenced by the fashion shows that famous fashion designers like Poiret (The King of Fashion) and Galliano (of Dior), organized and presented.

One concrete evidence that Egyptian fashion affects today' style is a recently concluded Fashion show in Paris by famous fashion designer Sophia Kokosalaki who featured breathtaking Egyptian inspired designs.

Needless to say, that the elements of Egyptian fashion are here to stay for several decades more.

This has been published at

Sphinx Photo 1 by Jean of Jean's Musings
(Thank you, Jean!)
Photo 2
by dinarzad
Photo 3 by Hans Ollermann
Photo 4 by Believe Collective


jakill said...

Nice one, Jena. I'll hop over and read it at Helium some time.

tashabud said...

Your writings cover a wide range of topics. You amaze me with the topics you tackle on. Very interesting read.

I have a question about the Fashion show that is mentioned towards the end of your article. Did you mean Paris or did you really mean Pairs?


Jena Isle said...

Hi Jean,

Thanks for the visit and for the tips. Happy blogging.

Hi Tasha,

I researched on that article, and thanks too for the Paris.


tashabud said...

I'm off to Helium to read more of your stuff there.


Jena Isle said...

Hi Tasha,

Thanks, luv you,

aria said...

nice post, Jena. an other side of egypt.
egypt is amazing-country. not only pyramid but only thier fashions