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Some Vikings were fashion conscious

Vikings were much snappier dressers than thought, according to new evidence unearthed by a Swedish researcher.
Image: Viking woman's dress
Viking women's clothing consisted of a single piece of fabric with a train, an opening in front and clasps that accentuated the breasts. The apparel in the picture is on display at Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University. The outfit is worn by Anna Lövgren, who also sewed it. Annika Larsson / Uppsala Univ.
/ Source: Reuters

Vikings were much snappier dressers than thought, according to new evidence unearthed by a Swedish researcher.

The men were especially vain while the women dressed provocatively, adorning themselves in vivid colors, silk ribbons and glittering bits of mirrors, said Annika Larsson, a textile researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"They combined oriental features with Nordic styles," she said in a statement. "Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire."

The findings are based on the Swedish Vikings who traveled east into what is now Russia rather than the Danish or Norwegian Vikings who went west.

Until Larsson's discovery in the Russian region of Pskov near Novgorod — in an area used as an Eastern trade route — most people had believed Viking dress was conservative.

Viking men's fashions were modeled on styles in Russia to the east. Archeological finds from the 900s uncovered in Lake Mälaren Valley accord with contemporary depictions of clothing the Vikings wore on their travels along eastern trade routes to the Silk Road. The outfit in the picture is on display at Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University.Annika Larsson

Her findings included a blue dress with a train fastened to the breasts with clasps to highlight the figure, she said.

These kind of ornate features in clothing, however, disappeared with the onset of medieval Christian fashion during a time the Swedish Vikings pushed into Western Europe, she said.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way," Larsson said.