54 votes
Accepted

Did Chinese emperors wear a rectangular hat with suspended gems?

You're describing the mian (冕), a style of classical Chinese head dress that was indeed worn by successive Emperors of China. The basic design consisted of a hat secured to the head with a red string (...
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  • 95.8k
51 votes
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WW2: Did US marines and soldiers really go into action with unbuckled helmet chin straps?

Yes, they did. Not all, but a very many, especially the more veteran soldiers. I don't have time to get sources together, but will when I do. Reasons were varied. Some believed that being close to ...
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  • 3,571
34 votes
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Why were so many of the earliest banks founded by cloth merchants?

If you get rich in a business you soon find that you have no reasonable 'line of work' for your money, or in other word: capital. So you get essentially too rich for meaningful expansion in your core ...
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  • 73.7k
32 votes

WW2: Did US marines and soldiers really go into action with unbuckled helmet chin straps?

Yes, many did. An image search reveals plenty of examples. Although I've found few with the straps hanging, most have the straps secured tightly behind the helmet. BAR Gunner, 1st Marine Division, ...
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  • 52.6k
32 votes

What is this flag?

Technically, it's not a flag it's a surcoat. It represents the coats of arms of her family. In heraldic terms, the display of these arms are known as impalement. In this case, the arms on the dexter ...
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  • 4,686
31 votes

Did Roman women wear underwear? How did it look?

The commonest form of underwear was the subligaculum, a basic loincloth worn by men and women. Most people wore the subligaculum under other garments. For example, men wore the garment under the ...
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30 votes
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Did classical Romans wear any sort of swimwear?

The Romans, and indeed the classical world in general, would've usually swam in the nude. See for instance the following depictions of naked divers, though they are not precisely Roman. Frescoes ...
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  • 95.8k
25 votes
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Did medieval people wear collars with a castellated hem?

The basic form of this garment is like the gugel, a hood that protects the head and also covers the shoulders. The precursors for these are Roman paenula or Alpine Kotze made from various types of ...
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  • 73.7k
24 votes
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What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

Leather was probably the most common material. The most basic transportation technology of the medieval era was the foot ... Those who did not go barefoot ... wore simple shoes. These shoes were ...
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  • 95.8k
23 votes
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What is this ancient Egyptian material called "maklalu"?

tl;dr muklālu isn't actually an Egyptian word. It is a transliteration from the Akkadian cuneiform. A muklālu was an item of clothing worn by the Hittite rulers. It was probably a shawl, cape, or ...
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  • 76.2k
18 votes

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

One kind of shoe not mentioned in the other answers are those using bast soles. "Bast" is fiber from tree bark. Bast shoes or lapti, were once worn by poorer members of Northern European cultures. ...
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  • 17.9k
17 votes
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Origin/reason for reversed flag on right shoulder?

This is required by US Army regulations. See Army Regulation 670–1 "Uniform and Insignia - Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia" PDF, p. 35: 21–18. Wear of U.S. flag embroidered ...
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  • 3,191
15 votes
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Was there any time in non-recent history where it was fashionable to wear ripped clothes?

Switzerland, and the Germanies, 1500s and 1600s in the form of the Landsknecht who were given a legal dispensation from the sumptuary (clothing) laws to be so fabulous. There is a contemporary ...
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14 votes
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What is Darius III wearing on his head?

From this website http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/clothing-ii , in a section concerning historical clothing it goes into length on several styles of headgear. This style falls under the ...
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  • 33.8k
13 votes
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What were the insignia of the Western Roman Empire and what happened to them?

The imperial regalia of Rome were not a single thing but a collection of various objects carried in tow during processions of the emperor. The main items were various lances and spears along with a ...
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  • 37.2k
13 votes

Did medieval people wear collars with a castellated hem?

The hood and the 'distinctive castellated margin' mentioned by the OP are really two seperate features, so this answer will focus on the decorative hem, which was called Dagging. A very informative ...
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  • 33.8k
12 votes

Why did fighter pilots wear their hats lopsided during the World Wars?

In the case of Albert Ball, he was simply wearing his side or field cap in the manner that was usual in many armies of the time. See also the Glengarry. In the British Army, the first cap to be ...
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  • 4,686
12 votes

Would Jewish Ukranians historically have worn vyshyvankas and integrated Slavic embroidary into their lives?

Not at all. The picture below is pretty much what they would wear in 1800s. And prior to 1800s there wasn't much cultural mixing either. Historically, Jews in Ukraine and Russia lived in their own ...
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  • 4,546
11 votes
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Roman era clothing (Egypt + Carthage)

The first thing to note is that fashions changed rapidly in ancient times, just like they do today and one "Phoenician" might be wearing something completely different than another one. Also, a ...
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  • 37.2k
10 votes
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How did soldiers in WWI who wore jackboots keep the boots from being sucked off in the mud?

My father fought on the German side on the Western Front in the First World War, as a very young man. I remember him telling me that the great advantage of high boots without laces was exactly that ...
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10 votes
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Is this costume plate from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum correctly colored?

As far as I call tell, unless the spiritual electors wore their clerical vestaments, and they do not in those images, their elector's robes and those of the secular electors should have been the same ...
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  • 16.7k
10 votes

Did anyone interweave blue and red threads in order to give the illusion of purple cloth before purple dye became cheap?

Speaking as a lazy crochet artist and textile enthusiast, most people have pointed out the dye aspects regarding purple colors very well. Meanwhile, I'll just point out that weaving blue and red ...
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  • 454
9 votes

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

In Europe, different demands were placed on shoes based on different climates. People around the Mediterranean tended to wear sandals with wooden soles and leather thongs due to the warmer climate. ...
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  • 1,212
9 votes
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What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

This is an interesting and difficult question. Unfortunately, not much is known of Viking equipment, including clothing, because such military goods were relatively expensive and rare. For example, in ...
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  • 37.2k
9 votes
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Did medieval Europeans really walk around barefoot in winter?

The "especially in winter" part is most certainly an exaggeration, but for a lot of regions not completely impossible: When being well-fed, used to it, with thick scale-like skin developing, ...
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  • 73.7k
9 votes
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How did pre-Columbian Americans shear their alpacas?

Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze ... By E. J. W. Barber, a text devoted to the development of cloth in the neolithic and bronze ages, on p. 261, describes the ...
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  • 6,739
9 votes

Is the Afghan hat related to the Macedonian hat?

The short answer to this question is that there is indeed a plausible connection. B.M. Kingsley (PhD) in 1981 already pointed to this connection as seen in the following abstract: The so-called ...
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9 votes
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What did ancient Romans wear when sleeping?

Ancient Romans had no special sleepwear. They typically slept in their underclothes, which they also would have worn around the home. Here's a relevant quote from Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by ...
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  • 17.4k
8 votes

What were the insignia of the Western Roman Empire and what happened to them?

Perhaps the story of Odoacer is not quite the right place in which to look for a description of the insignia as they only appear there briefly for metonymycal purposes. However, something can be done ...
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