Byzantine dress changed considerably over the thousand years of the Empire, but was essentially conservative. The Byzantines liked colour and pattern, and made and exported very richly patterned cloth, especially Byzantine silk, woven and embroidered for the upper classes, and resist-dyed and printed for the lower. A different border or trimming round the edges was very common, and many single stripes down the body or around the upper arm are seen, often denoting class or rank. Taste for the middle and upper classes followed the latest fashions at the Imperial Court. As in the West during the Middle Ages, clothing was very expensive for the poor, who probably wore the same well-worn clothes nearly all the time; this meant in particular that any costume owned by most women needed to fit throughout the full term of a pregnancy.
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“In art, a dress is never just a dress; nor in life either.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)