Clothing styles of the imperials have always been regarded as a symbol of elegance. Much of their clothing were made of organic materials using mainly cotton, wool, silk and linen. Fibres from animals and plants were spun into filaments, woven, knitted or matted. Nature of these textiles are biodegradable making it difficult for preservation.
During the Elizabethan era, people who wore clothes made of silk, lace, fur, satin or velvet were associated as a member of nobility. During the 18th century in England; corduroy fabrics were a royalty inspired fashion, a luxurious indulgence of fastidious royals. The term ‘Corduroy’ is said to have originated from the French ‘Corde du roi’ meaning the ‘kings cord or cloth of the kings’.
During the Mughal reign, special attention was paid to clothing made with dying, embroidery, and patterning. Clothing styles included delicate embellishments like beads, mirror works and sequins reflecting the rich heritage. Silk gained much popularity during this period.
There is a blurry line separating fashion from style, which is quality. Style is a reflection of one’s own attitude and personality. Clothing is a form of manifestation of intimate thoughts, a language and a symbol. Clothing worn during the ancient times provided information about the person wearing them. Kings and queens used their clothing styles as a form for expressing their own personality traits.
Queens with the Alpha attitude
Much fascination encompasses the costumes of the queens. Living at a time when men held supremacy and women showcasing such authority were unheard of, queens used their intelligence and feminine grace to rival their male counterparts. Basking in the glory of power, these powerful queens ensured their legacy would last an eternity. These queens used their clothing to express their personality traits.
Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra clothed herself with luxurious splendor, but it was less of an indulgence and more of a political tool. Her costumes consisted of shimmery fabrics, one shouldered gowns and Grecian draping styles. Robes were made with the finest linen and silk in royal scarlet, purple, sea green and mari gold hues. Clothing were embellished in flowers and fruits in deeper tones.
British queens were considered as leading fashion trend setters for many centuries. Clothing styles of Queen Elizabeth I portrayed her as an untouchable, infallible goddess. The queen used her clothes to establish these representations. She emphasized her power by the choice of severely cut and sweeping robes. Her attires were tailored in such a way to create a distance between herself and the others. The queens skirts had unprecedented proportions and were held apart by a rod at her waist. This clearly was an indication to others not to come close to her.
Queen Elizabeth II developed a signature style that has withstood the test of time, monochromatic colours with matching hat and coat. The queen; unlike many other queens has a passion for vivid blues, deep greens and dazzling purples. The lithe figure of princess Diana enabled her to carry her clothing exquisitely expressing a graceful confidence and regal dignity.
Clothes of the Mughal queens were teamed with beads, crystals, sequins and wispy lace incorporations. Extravagant costumes; silk with gold and silver braids and pompoms were worn. Scalloped hems were used for detailing the garments. The most powerful Mughal queen Noor Jahan, with her scintillating beauty and clothing styles became a prolific subject of portraits. A queen with mastery over several arts, she was an accomplished fashion designer herself. Her fashion styles were highly influenced by Persian styles and blended with the local cultures.
Be it ancient or modern couture, four main personality traits are generally expressed through clothes – expressive, romantic, classic, and relaxed. One may even find themselves with elements of more than one trait. Expressive personality chooses bold styles of clothing. They find fashion as a form of art, everyday an opportunity to create a unique style. Their expressions gravitate towards going for trends that help them to stand out of the crowd.
Their expressiveness go through different phases ranging from retro to modern.
Romantic styles go for floral patterns, silk blouses, hues of blushing pinks and antique jewellery. They like to enhance their natural beauty by adding more feminine details and flattering fits. The classic personality incorporates timeless pieces while avoiding fussy prints, and up-to-date trends. They are all about pencil skirts, white blouses, ballet flats, and pearls. Their wardrobe is stocked with timeless costumes.
Comfort is the prime consideration for the relaxed personality. They keep an effortlessly cool look in simple cotton shirts, slouchy knits, loose trousers, and maxi skirts. Scratchy and tight costumes are not even in their dreams.
Clothing does much more than merely covering the body. Ancient costumes provide a view of their rich cultural heritage. As one understands the influence of clothing, appreciation for the same will be broadened.