When exactly humans started wearing clothes could depend on one’s world view. The Bible explains that Adam and Eve did not at first wear clothes, but did so only after the fall, and by God’s intervention due to their new shame.
Science can give us some evidence of the earliest clothing, but the actual date of when humans began to wear clothes is a moving target. But, the prevailing opinion after recent studies is that people began to put clothes on some 170,000 years ago, after the end of an ice age. If, however, they were not human as we define humanity, then the oldest clothes would tell us that humans were wearing clothes as early as 5,900 years ago.
Clothing does not become fossilized. Fossils are one of the main elements of the interpretation of the past. They can be very old, and can last for a long, long time. But, clothing tends to reduce again to its very basest elements and dissipate when buried in sediment. So, definitive proof of a start date for donning dress is very hard to find.
The oldest, in-tact article of clothing to be found was found in a cave in Armenia on the Iranian and Turkish borders. One item found in the cave is estimated to be merely 5,500 years old, and is a moccasin of about a size-seven woman’s shoe. It survived the annals of time, having been preserved in sheep dung.
A skirt made of reed was found in the same cave, and is believed to be 5,900 years old.
There is no direct connection from that cave to the oldest humans of 170,000 years ago. Researchers believe that they have calculated to that timeframe the separation of lice into two groups: lice that embeds itself in clothing versus lice that infests the hair.
But, there have been no skeletal remains or burial sites of people from that timeframe found, as yet, and thus neither hair nor clothing by which to verify the claim.
Between these two benchmarks, however, are the Neanderthals, who date from about an estimated 400,000 to 28,000 years ago, whose sparse remains tell us some things about their lifestyles.
They are purported to have worn simple clothing made mostly of animal furs. If we count that as clothing, then our earliest date would be 400,000 years; but, we do not know when they would have actually begun to wear those furskins.
Many, however, do not consider the Neanderthal to be human, but to be the nearest cousin to humans, having coexisted with humans, according to some authorities. If we consider them to be human, their clothing would be the first. If not, then it would be the much later date of 5,900 years ago.