clothing

Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

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Many of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so we could parade around the neighborhood in our finest. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or avoid, as some fashion-phobic children were known to do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history shows that its origins are not what we might expect. And examining the custom from a fashion school point of view, we see how changing retailing patterns have altered its significance.

Origins in other cultures . Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, has traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but the idea that people have more than they possibly need.

Christian beginnings . In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth and new life. But it was not until 300 AD that wearing new clothes became an official decree, as the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks for new ones.

Superstitions . A 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin's Almanack stated that if one's clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck: "At Easter let your clothes be new; Or else for sure you will it rue." In the 16th Century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes.

Post Civil War . Easter traditions as we know it were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw no good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, the churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called "The Sunday of Joy," and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.

The Easter Parade . In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It …

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Fashion History – How Historical Events Influenced Fashion in the 1930's and 1940's

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History and world events often create fashion trends. We can not always see it in the lives that we are leading now, in the present; But it is sometimes easier when we look into the past.

The 1930's was a time of frugality known as the Great Depression, a world wide economic downturn that put people out of work and effected every part of their lives. In the United States, nearly one quarter of the population was unemployed. Bank failures caused people to lose their life savings.The new austerity must have been a heavy blow for the people who had just lived through the Roaring Twenties, a time of heady spending and extravagance.

Women's fashions made a big change when the economy went south. The exotic frippery of the Jazz Age soon disappeared to be replaced by more simple styles of dress. Waistlines rose and hems fell, as they often do in bad economic times. While a sleek elegance gained popularity, it was a much more subdued look, classic and understated after the exaggerated styles of the 1920's.

Hollywood offered women a glimpse of glamor, but even the luxurious Hollywood styles had a quieter tone. Gone were the short skirts, long necklaces, and feathers of the 20's. Evening gowns of the Great Depression hugged the hips and widened at the hem, creating an elegant and graceful silhouette.

By the end of the 1930's, Adolph Hitler had risen to power in Germany. This worldwide threat, along with the ensuing war had an effect on fashion trends of the 1940's. As nations were invaded, or went off to war, supplies and materials that went into the creation of clothing fell short. When Germany invaded France, Paris lost its influence over the world of fashion. People in the Allied countries saw the fashion designers of Paris as working in cooperation with the Nazis.

The governments of both Britain and the United States placed restrictions on the production of clothing as cloth and other items needed for garment manufacture were needed by the military. Due to fabric rationing, dress and skirt hemlines rose. Buttons were used for functional purposes only, and lapels narrowed. Women who had lived through the austerity of the Great Depression made jackets and coats out of old blankets, remade dresses, and generally 'made do' with 'war wise' clothing styles.

It was not until after World War II ended that clothing styles became more extravagant. When Christian Dior unveiled his 'New Look' in 1947, people were shocked at the amount of fabric used to create the long, antebellum style skirts and wide brimmed hats.

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The History of Urban Clothing

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Urban clothing first started to appear in the early 1980s to reflect the hip-hop culture that was emerging at the time. In a similar manner to the music itself, the fashions and clothing have changed, matured and evolved over the years into what we know see worn all around the world. As has always been the case, many trends in fashion follow the clothes and appearances of those in the music industry and indeed the hip-hop genre is no different. In fact, "urban fashion" has developed its very own sub-culture.

When we think about urban fashion, many of us who have more than a passing interest will be able to name dedicated designers but that wasn't the case back in the early 80s. In that time it was most closely associated with major sportswear companies such as Nike and Adidas, supported by the fact that Run-DMC had a hit called "My Adidas". Trainers, sneakers and plenty of bling was seen as a must for those dedicated followers of fashion. A signature hairstyle, one that broke boundaries was also seen as essential if you wanted to look the part!

As hip-hop grew in popularity so too did its legitimacy in terms as being recognized as a music genre in its own right. As this happened, urban fashion became more widely recognized and noted by brands outside of the sportswear industry. Urban fashion was more than just a passing craze, it was something that was here to stay.

In the beginnings, the styles could be closely associated with an African influence with artists such as Will Smith wearing green and gold associated with the continent. As we moved into the 1990s, Gangsta rap started to emerge and become part of the fashion. A street appearance was starting to develop influenced by both gang and prison cultures. Baseball caps, baggy jeans that ran low, T-shirts and sports jerseys were now taking over from the highly shaped and styled original image. Later in the decade, some started to look to a more refined look, with double-breasted suits and dress shoes now becoming part of the necessary clothing.

As we moved into the new millennium, urban fashion started to enter more of the mainstream and indeed had a wide variety of influences including those outside of hip-hop. As a result high street chains started to include the clothes as part of their ranges and various artists from the music industry started to develop their own lines of clothing including Russell Simmons' Phat Farm and Jay-Z's Rocawear.

In the modern era of the fashion, we are all familiar with the main brands, many of which are still associated with the sportswear industry. Some like to show plenty of skin whilst others are certainly far more conservative. However, whatever your taste for both men and women alike, no look would be complete without the correct accessories. Urban fashion is very much about the glitz and glamor of living larger than life.

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Tibetan Silver Jewelry – Origin and History of Tibetan Jewelry

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Most recent research conducted by National Geographic society in USA mentioned the fact that the earliest Tibetan sterling silver jewelry relic is in fact more than 30,000 years in age. When it comes to ancient Tibetans, 925 silver ornaments were possibly not just for ornamentation, they happen to be the reflection of ethnic identity and additionally rank marker. Subsequently, the very beginning of handmade sterling silver jewelry can certainly be ascribed to Tibet.

Early Egyptians identified silver in the bronze era; also it appeared to be interrelated with the moon. Usually the pliability along with radiant traits of silver considered it very much respected during early cultures of the nearby east. The actual native Americans as well found sterling silver inside the Andes mountains of South America exactly where the people inherited majestic 'reputation. Later Spanish conquistadors benefited widely from the 925 silver trades. From 5000 BC, silver mining had extended throughout Europe, along with Greece and Spain leading the path. Because of the high existence of lead component in silver ore (which unfortunately is harmful to human being), silver miners endured from uncountable deaths. It was probably most apparent in the twentieth century when safer silver extraction technique was found. Silver metal has at the same time been pointed out as divine along with gold in the Christian Book of Genesis. On the contrary, in those earlier era silver was spotted as a commodity only. It seemed to be only during the 1st century AD while in the Roman period that silver ornaments sprang out in west civilization. In the passage of time, 925 silver jewelry in the west became trademark of appreciation and charm. Silver love tokens as well as lockets happened to be highly famous amongst earlier American settlers. In quite a few situations silver beads were also utilized as currency.

Whereas in the eastern Buddhist lifestyle of the Himalayas, 925 sterling silver evolved as an essence of spiritualism that remains till at present. Holy Scriptures and also divine emblematic engravings upon them are embodiment of similar appreciation in between Tibetan Buddhism and handmade sterling silver jewelry.

Old evidences exhibits that during the medieval years, Nepal used to export sterling silver coins to Tibet. Nepalese sterling silver coins continued to be within formal movement in Tibetan market until the mid 19th century. It is secure to presume the fact that the culture of Tibetan silver jewelry workmanship had been started by Nepali artisans also.

Contemporary handmade Tibetan silver jewelry industry at present is generally totally outclassed by Nepal's silversmiths, who are descended from some sort of lengthy as well as unbroken ancestry of Buddhist artists who moved away from India just after the Muslim intrusion. Their unparalleled visualization plus poise is demonstrated even by respected Tibetan monasteries. Furthermore there is actually hardly any query that Tibetan handmade sterling silver jewelry artwork seems to have accessed a golden era, and Nepal is taking the way.

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A Quick History of Stainless Steel Jewelry

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Steel jewelry popularity today can be directly tied to its hardcore properties which allow it to be practicably indestructible. It is the Superman of all metals. Stainless steel was discovered between 1900 and 1915, but there were efforts to collect the metal dating back to 1821. While experimenting with metal alloys and their resistance to most acids, they came across a new combination that produced steel.

In order for this to be done, chromium must be used. A Frenchman named Berthier studied the iron matrix and the effects chromium had on it. He found that at least 10.5% chromium must be used to make the metals more durable. Later in 1872, another Frenchman named Brustlein figured out that carbon (at least .15%) had to be mixed in with the chromium and iron to produce stainless steel.

At first, steel was mostly used for industrial items, such as car grills, appliances, railways, vehicles and plenty of other commercial items. Later, jewelers began to see the value steel pieces could bring for those looking for everlasting jewelry. In 1847, steel jewelry came in the form of watches. They were created by the Cartier dynasty in Paris, France, which was founded by Louis-Francois Cartier. These wristwatches were created for their men's jewelry line.

People began to see more trends in the stainless steel jewelry realm as the years went on. In the 1980s, steel bracelets, steel rings and earrings were becoming readily available, among other other pieces. The popularity of the stainless steel wristwatches, which were known to last a very long time, may have influenced the growth of steel in jewelry fashion. Not only are jewelry made in steel fashionable pieces, but they are recommended by doctors to patients who have allergic reactions to nickel, which can be found in sterling silver and gold lower than 14k.

Stainless steel is often compared to gold because the two are last long and are exude style. Of course, stainless steel jewelry over-lasts gold because it is immune to a lot more elements including time itself. Jewelry collectors looking for a non-mainstream look have chosen stainless steel rings and bracelets over sterling silver and gold. Compared to sterling silver, Steel has a darker silver-gray color. More and more people are beginning to lean more towards steel, especially in men's jewelry. There are various types of steel jewelry finishes, such as hot rolled, cold rolled, brushed, reflective, mirror, bead blast, heat colored, satin, course abrasive and bright annealed. They are classified under different types, which are numbered series between 100 and 600.

There are more jewelers selling steel for women and men's product lines, containing bracelets, rings, necklaces, watches, anklets and earrings. Stainless steel is more popular than mainstream metals because of its lifetime guarantee. Steel is by far one of the most sought after metals, not only in the jewelry industry, but in the housing, construction, decoration and other industries that require long lasting materials.

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Egyptian Scarab Jewelry – Symbolism and History

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The scarab beetle has been a symbolic motif in Egyptian jewelry for thousands of years. The scarab is a symbol of regeneration and rebirth, thus scarab jewelry was thought to bring protection, luck and vitality to the wearer. Egyptian soldiers were given scarabs before going into battle. Women were given scarabs for fertility. Scarab beads and designs were commonly fashioned into bracelets, pendants and rings.

Scarab jewelry was made from a wide range of stones and materials. Archeologists have found examples of scarab beads and artifacts made from clay, soapstone, green basalt, glass, bone, precious metals, wood, semi-precious gemstones and many other types of stone. The colors of scarabs were symbolic so plain stone was often glazed or enameled in bright colors. The most common colors found in enameled scarab jewelry were green (symbolizing new life), blue (for the sky and the River Nile), and red (for the sun). In addition to enamels, brightly colored semi-precious gemstones were used in scarab jewelry making including lapis lazuli, amethyst, carnelian, agate, jasper, onyx and turquoise. Today, scarab jewelry is still made from gemstones, enameled materials, and precious metals.

The symbolism in scarab jewelry derives primarily from its association with the Egyptian god of the rising sun, Khepri. One type of scarab, the "Sacred Scarab" or dung beetle, lays its eggs in a ball of dung which it rolls along the ground and finally into a hole where the eggs hatch and new beetles emerge from. This scarab was seen as the earthly representation of Khepri in that it was believed that this god rolled the sun across the sky each day, thus renewing life. The scarab is also associated with astrology and may have preceded the crab as the symbol we know as Cancer.

Scarabs were also used in ancient Egypt for protection in the afterlife. Large "heart scarabs" with hieroglyphic inscriptions on the underside, were placed across the chest of the deceased in the tomb. They were also found in place of the heart in mummified bodies. These heart scarabs were believed to protect the dead in the final judgment. The most famous of these was a chest or "pectoral" scarab found in Thebes in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Today, heart scarabs are valued for ornamental purposes, and many still bear hieroglyphs and symbolic carvings on the underside.

Since Egyptian history and art are still studied today, the fascination with the scarab continues. Scarab jewelry and decor are still made in Egypt and by craftsmen around the world.

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The History of Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

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These days, many people take wedding bands and engagement rings for granted, and although they give these beautiful items of jewellery with integrity and love, they are often given with no real knowledge of the meaning behind them.

Both wedding bands and engagement rings are very special items of jewelery; in fact, they are more than just jewelery – they are the symbols of many emotions and promises such as:

  • Love
  • Commitment
  • Fidelity
  • Eternity
  • Honor

But where – and why – did these popular and sentimental pieces of jewelery stem from?

The History Of Wedding Bands

These items of jewelery have a history that spans many centuries and passes through many countries from all around the planet. Below, you will find a brief history of the wedding and engagement ring, as reported from country to country.

EGYPTIANS

The now-famous wedding band is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt, where it is said that plant sections were fashioned in to circles to signify never-ending and immortal love. It was thought that the fourth finger (which we now know as the ring finger) contained a special vein that was connected directly to the heart, and therefore this became the official finger for the wedding band.

ROMANS

The Romans also agreed with the Egyptians with regards to the wedding ring finger and its meaning, but rather than offering wedding bands as a symbol of love, they awarded them as a symbol of ownership. Roman men would "claim" their woman with the giving of a ring.

ASIANS / ARABS

Puzzle rings were a complex type of jewellery that were once popular in Asia, and these jewels had the charming knack of being able to fall apart and put back together again – if you knew how to do this, of course. Wealthy Middle Eastern men then began to use these rings as wedding bands for their wives, who were often forced to wear a puzzle ring when their husband was away. The husband would know upon his return whether any of his wives had been disloyal by removing the ring whilst he was away, because the ring was designed to collapse upon removal and could only be put together again if you had the skill and knowledge required.

EUROPEANS

Several centuries ago, the Europeans became rather taken with what we would class as an engagement ring, but was then called a Poesy Ring. This ring was given to a loved one as a form of promise, and signified fidelity and love. The Poesy Ring was offered as a pledge of eternal togetherness, much as today's engagement rings are offered as a promise of eternal marriage.

AMERICANS

During Colonial times, all items of jewelery in America were prohibited due to their apparent moral worthlessness. Instead, a more practical thimble was given as a token of love and as a pledge of eternal togetherness. However, after they were married, the women tended to remove the bottom of their "engagement thimble" to form a type of …

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The History of the Jewelry Box

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As a lover of jewelry boxes (I have quite a collection) I have wondered from time to time just when the first jewelry box was made. One has to think that it couldn't have been long after mankind started to wear jewelry – right?

Well maybe not. The National Geographic reports that mankind may have started wearing jewelry as far back as 75,000 years ago. If so, we have a significant gap between jewelry's first appearance and the technology needed to construct the box to hold the jewelry.

Now try as I might, any reference to the world's oldest jewelry box is not easily found. But we can assume that as mankind evolved and not only jewelry existed but many goods that brought on early commerce, boxes were constructed to hold them all. Actually the first 'jewelry box' may have been a ceramic jar as that was a common receptacle to hold goods in ancient times.

Commerce began to prosper in the Middle East as far back as 7000 years ago. The Tigris-Euphrates River area emerged with civilization and with civilization came the need to improve life by bartering and eventually buying and selling goods. Ceramic jars carried dried goods safely to far away places. If jewelry were included in a transport, it would certainly be placed in a ceramic jar as well.

As civilizations became more sophisticated it seems reasonable to assume that boxes started to replace the earthenware containers. The Egyptians were a very sophisticated people and fond of personal adornment which included jewelry. For home use, might they not use a carved wooden box rather than ceramic jug to hold their jewelry. So maybe it was the Egyptians who invented the first jewelry box.

No matter who first invented the concept of a jewelry box, once a common item, steps were made to embellish the box's exterior. When made of wood, carvings were added. Sometimes fine ivory or precious metals would be embedded into the carvings for them of the elite.

Jewelry boxes started to be manufactured in many materials. Crystal boxes, leather covered boxes and precious metals like silver were used in creating them. Traditional materials like these continue to be used in jewelry containers even today.

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History of Gothic Clothing Fashion

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Gothic clothing fashion is basically based on dark shades. During the Gothic clothing era of the middle ages people like sailors or those associated with churches and cathedrals wore this type of clothing. A Gothic dress is complete with a large hat and long coat, knee length breeches, knee high buckled shoes or bucket topped boots. Peasants used to wear common fabrics in the form of rough and tunic dresses and they were barefooted since they had to work in the fields or in muddy waters. The women folk also dressed in the same way as men and they too were barefooted. Of course they wore belts to prevent their long skirts from trailing on the ground.

As mentioned Gothic clothing uses dark shades instead of extravagant colors to go with the dark mood. These came in the form of dark velvets, dark fishnet, dark lace, dark gloves and scarlet shaded dark leather. During the early part of 1980 this fashion reappeared in England. However Gothic fashion flourished in its original form from 1200 AD and 1450 AD. Compared to the Gothic clothing during the Romanesque period the clothing line was simpler and more graceful. Styles kept on changing with the passage of time. As such during 15th century Gothic fabrics became distinguishable because of its stiffness. There were padded doublets, leg-o-mutton sleeves and tight belts.

One of the popular medieval costumes for women was the Gothic corset. The Gothic corset complimented the female body by giving it an hourglass shape. It was a common Victorian and medieval costume for women. Its prominence is till intact today. However the latest trend of Gothic corset is not like the ones worn during the Victorian and medieval period but is soft and convenient. There are different types of Gothic outfits like light natural fiber shirts with ruffles, the loose fit and frilly pirate shirt with drooping shoulders, dark trousers short in length and large dark hats etc that went with various accessories like black umbrellas, silver ornaments etc. latest trend of Gothic shirts and other dresses changes with the passage of time.

Though the Gothic history period lasted from 1200 AD to 1450 AD it can be divided into two periods namely the early period (1200-1350) and the late period (1350-1450) with each period having different styles. The early period outfits had simpler cuts and looked sophisticated and graceful. During the late period styles started changing rapidly.

With the passage of time the fabrics became stiffer instead of the flowing draperies that were common during the early period. During the late Gothic clothing era of the 15th century the important features of Gothic clothing showed in the form of crisp tight belts, padded doublets and leg-o-mutton sleeves etc.

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History and Clothing in Ancient Japan

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Japanese history includes alternating periods of isolation and revolutionary influences from the rest of the world. As early as the Jomon period from about 14000BC to 300 BC, Japan had a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; wooden stilt houses, pit dwelling, and agriculture. Weaving was still unknown and the ancient Japanese clothing consisted of fur. However, some of the world's oldest pottery is found in Japan, along with daggers, jade, combs made form shell and clay figures.

The period thereafter to 250 BC saw the influx of new practices like weaving, rice sowing, iron and bronze making influenced by china and korea. Chinese travelers describe the men 'with braided hair, tattooing and women with large, single-piece clothing.' Initially ancient Japanese clothing consisted of single piece clothing. The ancient and classical Japan begins from the middle of the 3rd century to 710. An advanced agricultural and militaristic culture defines this period. By 645, Japan rapidly adopted Chinese practices and reorganized its penal code.

The peak period of ancient Japan and its imperial court is from 794 to 1185. Art, poetry, literature and trade expeditions continued with vigor. Warlords and powerful regional families ruled ancient Japan from 1185 to 1333 and the emperor was just a figure head. By the Japanese Middle Ages, Portugal had introduced firearms by a chance landing of their ship at Japanese coast; samurai charging ranks were cut down; trade with Netherlands, England and Spain had opened up new avenues. Several missionaries had entered Japan as well.

Distinct features of the lifestyle, ancient Japanese clothing and women is difficult to decipher for the simple reason that it is super-imposed by the Chinese culture. Ancient Japan readily adopted other cultures and practices and most of its own culture is lost among these adaptations.

Ancient Japanese clothing was mostly unisex, with differences being in colors, length and sleeves. A Kimono tied with an Obi or a sash around the waist was the general clothing and with the advent of western clothing are now mostly worn at home or special occasions. Women's obi in ancient Japanese clothing would mostly be elaborate and decorative. Some would be as long as 4meters and tied as a flower or a butterfly. Though a Yukata means a 'bath clothing', these were often worn in the summers as morning and evening gowns. Ancient Japanese clothing consisted of mena and women wearing Haori or narrow paneled jacket for special occasions such as marriages and feasts. These are worn over a kimono and tied with strings at the breast level.

The most interesting piece of ancient Japanese clothing is the ju-ni-hitoe or the 'twelve layers' adorned by ladies at the imperial court. It is multi-layered and very heavy and worn on a daily basis for centuries! The only change would be the thickness of the fabric and the number of layers depending on the season. Princesses still wear these on weddings.

Since the Japanese people don't wear footwear inside their homes, tabi is still worn. These are split -toe socks woven …