Fashion and Beauty - A Historical Perspective

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Greater than 40 000 in years past the inhabitants of The european union adorned themselves with jewelry of ivory and bone. Clothes, worn to protect their bodies from the elements in order to provide covering for modesty's sake, came later. The people of northern Europe probably first slung animal skins around themselves as defense against the cold in approximately 25000 BC. In the Mediterranean and Middle East, fibers from plants for example flax, and the hair of goats and sheep, were woven to form lightweight fabrics that not only afforded protection up against the Sun's rays but also signified social status. The first of these textiles, made in Anatolia in Turkey, date to about 6500 BC.

As civilizations developed, so types of dress also evolved. In Egypt, Greece and Rome, clothes were draped, as the people of northern Europe and also the East wore stitched, tubular garments. In the classical world the toga, worn not merely by rulers but also by philosophers and teachers, was regarded as a symbol of civilization. Breeches and tunics, by comparison, were considered conventional barbarian, tribal societies.

However the idea of fashion, with its ever changing cycles of styles and trends, first took hold in the mid 1300 in Paris, London and the Italian city-states, when the elite rejected their flowing garments for tight-fitting clothes decorated to show the latest tastes. Men's robes, which in fact had previously been ankle-length, now reached over the knee, while female dress was transformed by lacing, buttons as well as the introduction of the d�colletage. As people wished to change their silhouettes at regular intervals - a trend that coincided with a growing international textiles trade - so cutting and tailoring developed. fashion

Early fashion belonged towards the elite, who tried to preserve their social superiority with 'sumptuary laws' forbidding tradesmen and yeomen from wearing expensive and lavishly embroidered fabrics. However the French code of dressing, with different fixed social hierarchy and courtly etiquette, was overturned by the Revolution of 1789. Elaborate wigs and powdered hair were abandoned, men's clothes weren't any longer embellished with embroidery and lace, and some women adopted the simple Empire gown. Style became a mark of individual freedom, adopted because of its own sake. No longer the preserve of the aristocracy, it soon became from the avant-garde, Romantic writers and artists, political activists and dandies.

In great britan affordable, mass-produced printed textiles and fashion accessories were made available by the Industrial Revolution. They were popular with the middle classes, who saw them as a way of expressing their new confidence and success. For men power now lay in business, not the court. The dark suit had been a male 'uniform', while women paraded the family's status through their particular and their children's dress. Fashion and femininity were inextricably entwined. Women were weighed down by petticoats and their mobility restricted by delicate shoes.

In the late 1800s attempts begun to make female dress more 'sensible'. But beliefs in beauty and fashion held sway, with malls offering ready-made copies with the newest styles featured in magazines, society photographs and, from your early 1900s, the cinema. From these beginnings the consumer-orientated 20th-century fashion and wonder industries were launched.