What Did Iranian Women Wear Before Islam?

  Modern knowledge of the dress of the eastern Iranian peoples is derived from literary and archeological sources, which can be compared, though with caution. Although there were regional differences, as well as a broad change over time, on the whole, the costume remained fairly uniform. Material for the periods around 500 b.c.e. and 200 and 600 c.e. is especially abundant. It permits the identification of three general costume types: the ceremonial dress of men and women and warrior’s garb. The male ceremonial dress consisted of forms of headdress, an undergarment similar to a shirt, a knee-length mantle open in front, a belt, trou­sers or leggings, and shoes or high boots. Female dress changed more sharply over time, from a full-length cloak draped over the head to a long dress with an opening at the neck. The warrior’s outfit consisted of a helmet and chain or laminated mail.