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53 votes
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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 (...
Semaphore's user avatar
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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 ...
CGCampbell's user avatar
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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 ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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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, ...
Schwern's user avatar
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32 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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
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 ...
KillingTime's user avatar
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29 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 ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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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 ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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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 ...
tohuwawohu's user avatar
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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 ...
justCal's user avatar
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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 separate features, so this answer will focus on the decorative hem, which was called dagging. A very informative ...
justCal's user avatar
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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 ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 4,670
11 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 ...
The Sardaukar Knight's user avatar
11 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 ...
Jamie L.'s user avatar
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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 ...
MAGolding's user avatar
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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 ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
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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, ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k
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 ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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8 votes
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"Hat Hair" in History

"Hat hair" was a universal affliction when all men wore hats. Sometimes they don't bother to fix it up after taking off the hat, even when taking a photograph, and so you end up with photos like this: ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
8 votes

What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

Jesse Byock in "Viking Age Iceland" reports "a type of rough woolen cloak (vararfeldr) that provided protection from the rain". A higher grade of the same wool was impregnated with animal fat and used ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
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7 votes
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When did it become common for optical brighteners to be added to commercial laundry detergent?

Household laundry detergents with fluorescent optical brighteners were common by 1967. See Optical brighteners as detergent additives Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, Volume 45, pp ...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 3,484
7 votes
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How old is the practice of wearing your "Sunday Best" to church?

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED2) lists Sunday best and Sunday's best under the lemma Sunday, but does not provide literary citations for these terms. The oldest instance I could find dates to the ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 2,566
6 votes

Is Malenkov wearing some sort of uniform in this picture?

Listing of the people in the pic (just FYI): -- they constitute the closest and highest circle of Stalin's minions -- Anastas Mikoyan (ministry of trade/industry), Nikita Khruschev (Moscow Party ...
JimT's user avatar
  • 371
6 votes

Did Roman women wear underwear? How did it look?

This shows Roman woman exercising in a form of "bikini". Whether they wore these under everyday clothes I don't know.
TheHonRose's user avatar
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6 votes
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Did ninjas ever use a costume like the one we usually see in films?

As you said, the ninja or shinobi was first and foremost a master of disguise. This was known as Hensojutsu, the art of disguise. From Hatsumi, Masaaki. The way of the ninja: secret techniques. ...
The Sardaukar Knight's user avatar
6 votes

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

Short answer — frame challenge: Of course 'someone' did that, perhaps quite early on, we can quite safely assume. Although hard evidence for that is scarce and presented here only with one concrete ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible