Scientists just announced that they have uncovered the oldest well-preserved tailored woven garment in a cemetery in Egypt, and it’s even fashionable! The dress, called the “Tarkhan Dress” may look tattered and worn now, but in 3482 BC the linen dress was beautifully tailored, featuring a light grey stripe and pleated bodice and sleeves. Sadly, the hem is missing so there is no way to know how long the dress was, but the researchers believe that it was worn by a young (or very skinny) upper class woman not long before the first dynasty of kings began over 5100 years ago! To date the dress, scientist examined the amount of radiocarbon (a radioactive type of carbon molecule) that remained in the linen, and were able to place it between 5400 and 5100 years old.
Although in Europe during a period known as the Upper Paleolithic we have impressions of woven garments in clay figurines that date as early as 20,000-25,000 years ago, this specimen is the best preserved example of an actual tailored dress! “Tailored” means that instead of simply draping or wrapping the fabric around oneself, the dress is actually cut and sewn to fit a specific person, making it very similar to the fitted garments we wear today. Now that we know the ancient Egyptians were so fashionable, I am hoping we will get to see these ancient “looks” inspiring runway fashion at New York fashion week. I mean, you can’t go anymore retro than this dress!
Feb 29, 2016