By Tim Lambert
20,000 BC In Europe people make warm clothes such as trousers, coats, and boots from animal skins using bone needles
1200 BC Men in Egypt wear loincloths and a kind of kilt. Women wear dresses with shoulder straps. Both sexes wear jewelry.
400 BC Women in Greece wear long dresses that cover most of their bodies. Men wear tunics and cloaks.
100 AD Roman men wear tunics. Roman citizens wear togas. Women wear long dresses. Roman men and women wear shorts called subligaculum. Women wear a band around their chest called a strophium or a mamilare.
1000 AD Saxon men wear shirts and tunics. They also wear breeches. Women wear long linen garments with a long tunic over them.
1300 Men wear tunics. Some men wear linen shorts called braies. They also wear hose (tights or stockings). Women wear a nightie-like garment called a shift underneath. Over it, they wear a long tunic and over that a gown.
1590 Men wear breeches and a jacket called a doublet. Women wear a linen garment called a shift under a long dress. Women wear a frame called a farthingale under their dress. Both sexes wear hats.
1680 Men wear breeches, stockings, and boots. They wear a waistcoat and a frock coat on top of it. Women still wear shifts and long dresses
1797 The top hat is introduced in Britain
c. 1800 Women start wearing underwear
c. 1807 Thomas Winter invents the gloving donkey
1820 Thomas Hancock invents elastic
1822 Albert Thurston invents suspenders (called braces in Britain)
1849 The safety pin is invented by Walter Hunt
1851 Isaac Singer patents the first practical sewing machine
1870 Men now wear trousers, waistcoats and coats. Women wear bustles to cause their dresses to bulge at the back.
1877 Chester Greenwood patents earmuffs
1893 The zip fastener is invented by Whitcomb L. Judson. Louise Austin patents pinking shears.
1903 Albert Parkhouse invents the coat hanger
1910 Women wear hobble skirts, so narrow women can only ‘hobble’ along while wearing them
1910 Stockings and knickers are made from rayon for the first time
1913 The bra is invented by Mary Phelps Jacob
1917 Gideon Sundback patents an improved version of the zipper fastener
1926 The first steam iron is introduced
1920s Knickers become shorter. Men’s clothes become less formal. Men wear pullovers instead of waistcoats.
1925 Women wear knee length skirts
1935 Nylon is invented by Wallace Carothers
1941 In Britain clothes rationing begins. Polyester is invented.
1946 The bikini is invented
1947 Christian Dior introduces the New Look
1949 Clothes rationing ends in Britain
1959 Tights (pantyhose) are invented
1965 Mary Quant invents the mini skirt
1990s Thongs become popular