Dress and Identity

Gale R. Owen‐Crocker

in The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199212149
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Dress and Identity

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The aspects of twenty-first century clothing and identity that are taken for granted include: choice of natural and man-made fibres; commercial distribution and customer choice; economically-driven fashion changes accompanied by acceptance of obsolescence and a decrease in repairing; ownership of a wardrobe of clothes which are regularly changed, laundered, and selected; global fashion; a blurring of gender and social distinctions in dress-style; and selective use of traditional costumes for religious, ceremonial, and festive purposes. This article addresses the evidence for Anglo-Saxon dress in relation to these criteria. From the evidence of grave-goods, it is possible to sketch reconstructions of clothing. Women's costume changed several times during the Anglo-Saxon period, apparently in response to foreign and religious stimuli, men's hardly at all. Anglo-Saxon clothing styles were subject to influence by an influx of foreign styles and the people that brought them. Dress was also clearly indicative of identity.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon dress; identity; Anglo-Saxon clothing styles; gender; foreign styles; social distinctions; religious stimuli

Article.  9507 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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