History permeates every corner of the ancient city of Rome known as the eternal city. Their culture is the basis for today’s society, culture and fashion. Much of the Roman clothing culture is based on the Greek fashion. They were also influenced by the Egyptians during the middle of 200 BC, but later on they developed their own clothing style, known as the Roman Clothing. To Romans, clothing was not just a means of covering their body, but it was highly symbolic exhibiting an indication of their class, social status, age gender, and occupation. They wanted to depict everyone around them; and to the rest of the world, what their place was in the society. It varied in color, style, and adornments indicating the persons position in the Empire. In the later years, these garments became appealing garments for the modern fashion aficionados. As time slipped, there was progress in the weaving methods, but the basic pattern of garments remained the same.
Traditional Roman Closet: Tunics and Togas:
Ancient Romans wore two types of basic garments, tunics and togas. Tunics were informal and indoor costumes, while togas were official and outdoor costumes. Both were made of spun wool. Tunic was comfortable for working and moving around indoors. Mostly white in color, the tunic was often undyed, and unadorned. Still, the upper class people wore tunics with some decorations so as to distinguish themselves from the slaves. Togas were adopted from the Greek fashion. It was an important garment and an indication of roman citizenship. No foreigner was allowed to wear a toga though he lived in Italy or Rome. Toga was the official garment of both men and woman of Rome. Later the trend changed, and togas were worn only by male Roman citizens.
Men wore a tunic both at home and when they went out. Similar in appearance to a long tee-shirt, the type of tunic differed from one class to another. The tunic worn by common people, herdsmen and slaves was made of coarse cloth and was usually dark in color. Patricians wore white color tunic made of wool or linen. Magistrates wore the tunic called augusticlavia, senators wore it with broad strips called tunica laticlavia, and shorter tunics were worn by the military people. During special occasions, they covered the tunic with a white wool coat called toga. It was square or rectangular in shape and was draped around the body. The toga was an indication of the social status of the person. Togas of consuls and senators were edged with purple. Emperors togas were completely purple. Black ones were worn during mourning. Romans did not wear trousers, but later on they used one while they were hunting or riding called Gallic bracae. It was also worn by the soldiers for warmth.
Womens clothing was very simple and lacked luxury and exquisite elegance. They did not have distinctions in clothing like men that would indicate their social status. Their only distinction was the stolas which was worn only by married women.To compensate with this, they relayed more on hair styles and jewellery. Roman women also wore a tunic which was usually of knee length. Over this, they draped a stola which was a long dress from neck to ankle, with a belt around the waist. The stola was usually white, grey, or brown in color and all married woman were entitled to wear it. When they went out, they covered themselves around the shoulders and arm with a shawl called pallium and also covered their head with its edge. Covering their head was customary for every Roman woman when they go in public. Initially, togas were considered as official wears of both men and women. During the time of republic, togas were worn only by men. However, a certain category of women, Roman prostitutes ironically wore togas to indicate their lower status in the society.
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