Fashion on Coins III: Clothes
"Fashion is not just a matter of clothing. Fashion has something to do with ideas, and therefore how we live," the author Oscar Wilde (*1854, †1900) believed. Fashion is part of our culture: it mirrors the social circumstances and the spirit of an epoque.
Since time immemorial clothes have been part of the history of human kind. As a second skin, they protect us from heat and cold and other environmental influences. In addition they allow the individual to draw attention to his or her appearance or to change it. Even Ötzi, the 5,300-year-old man out of the ice, wore a goatskin jacket effectively combined with light and dark stripes. Clothes are simply not just useful; thanks to them you can please, seduce, impress or document that you belong to a group.
Up into the 20th century fashion was a matter for the upper classes. It enabled the powerful and influential to present themselves as was fitting and dissociate them from the bulk of the people. Currently fashion seems – thanks to mass production – to have become more democratic. The fine differences in material and tailoring, however, still remain.
This picture tour shows how fashion changed on coins.