The female attire of Crete is one of the most characteristic creations of the Minoan civilization. The study of the iconographic data leads to the identification of the stages of development the attire went through from the Pre-palatial to the Neo-palatial period. During the Old Palace period the basic components of the attire skirt, vest, girdle and hat-are combined in various ways, thus forming distinct ensembles.
However, the most typical item of the female attire in this era is the hat, which appears in seven different types. The study for grouping the articles of clothing, according to the evidence the clay idols from the peak-sanctuaries offer, leads to the identification of local dress particularities and to the distinction between central and regional sanctuaries on the basis of the prevailing dressing combinations.
A competition develops among women of various social groups that aims to the improvement of their social status in the under creation palatial system. The focal point of a woman’s appearance during the Neo-palatial period is shifted from the hat to the skirt, while the most radical change is undoubtedly the laying bare of the breasts. This phenomenon can be interpreted through the women’s necessity to upgrade their role in the fully developed palatial system. In this case the bare breasts function as symbols of fertility in its metaphysical dimension. In addition, it has been established that the luxurious garments of the Neo-palatial era are worn by women of the elite, who, according to the existing evidence, are dressed in them for important ceremonial events.