worn by the Emperors, Senators,
Soldiers, Roman citizens, Slaves, the Women, the Vestal
Virgins and of course the Gladiators. Interesting facts and
information about the Roman Clothing worn by people who
lived in Ancient Rome.
Roman Clothing - Clothing for
Men and Roman Sumptuary Laws
The ordinary clothing for men were the toga and the tunic.
The tunic was an undergarment which was put on (put on)
whereas the toga was considered an outer garment which was
wrapped around (amictus). There were several different types
of toga and each type conveyed a specific purpose and
symbolism. There were specific laws
Sumptuary Laws which dictated which type of
clothes could be worn by Romans. This included the
types of material and fabrics, the style of the clothes and the color
that people were allowed to wear. Only the Emperor was
allowed to wear a toga which was entirely colored in purple.
The clothes that men wore therefore immediately reflected
their status in society.
Roman Clothing - Clothing
for Women, the Stola
Clothing for men and women
were very similar. The toga was at first worn by
women as well as men, but later married women wore a
different robe, called a stola, which had a broad border or
fringe, reaching to the feet. Prostitutes and women
condemned for adultery, were not permitted to wear the stola.
Unlike the toga worn by the men the stola
only conveyed the marital status of the woman. The stola was
a symbol of marriage publicly
proclaiming her respectability and adherence to traditions. The stola
did not indicate the social class of women.
Roman Clothing -
Materials, colors and
The manufacture of Clothing
Materials and fabrics changed as the Romans became more
powerful and came into contact with other cultures. Luxury
materials were imported by the Romans from their provinces
and other far off lands. Fine linen material from Egypt,
cotton fabrics from India and silk from China which was
quite rare and extremely expensive. The range of colors of
clothing were produced by complicated dyeing processes.
Expensive fabrics were imported from abroad and the dyes
used for coloring these clothes were equally as expensive.
Purple was the most expensive color to produce which is why
it was only worn by the emperors. The colors, materials and
fabrics which Romans were allowed to wear were dictated by
the Sumptuary Laws. A vestitor or, in Latin, vestio, was
charged with making clothing.
Roman Clothing -
The Toga, How to make a
Toga and hosting a Toga Party
The toga was a loose outer
garment without sleeves generally made from a woollen cloth
and draped gracefully and precisely around the body. The color
of the toga was
normally white, except in case of mourning, when a black or dark colored
toga was worn. The toga picta or toga palmata was a toga with a gold border
which was only permitted to be worn by generals
their triumphs. The toga symbolised a garment of
peace because soldiers did not wear the toga. The
toga is such an important item of clothing that it is
immediately associated with the Romans. It is remembered
today when people host a toga party during these events the
whole theme of the Romans is taken into account with making
Toga Party decorations, sending toga party invitations and
creating a toga party menu.
Roman Clothing - The Tunic
The tunic was a white
woollen vest worn below the toga, coming down a little below
the knees before, and to the middle of the leg behind, at
first without sleeves. Tunics were fastened by a girdle or
belt about the waist, to keep it tight, which also served as
a purse. Both men and women wore a tunic. The colored broad
stripes or bands on a Roman tunic was called latus
clavus. The width and color of the bands indicated the
status of the wearer.
Roman Clothing - Trousers
The Romans initially wore
neither trousers, socks nor breeches, but used sometimes to
wrap their legs and thighs with pieces of cloth. This later
changed in the period of the Empire when soldiers wore
trousers or breeches, especially in the colder climates of
the northern provinces.
Roman Clothing -
Shoes, Sandals and Boots
The chief coverings for the feet were the calceus, which
covered the whole foot or the solea, a slipper
or sandal which covered only the sole of the foot, and was
fastened on with leather thongs or strings. The shoes of the
senators came up to the middle of their legs, and had a
golden or silver crescent on the top of the foot. The shoes
of the Roman soldiers were called caligæ, sometimes the
boots were shod with nails.
Roman Clothing and
The hairstyles of Roman men
changed with the fashions of the time which were often
dictated by the Emperor. The men were known to wear wigs,
dye their hair and use curling tongs to produce a curled
effect. Women wore elaborately curled hairstyles. Hair was
also arranged in layers, twisted, waved and curled. Ringlets
were created which fell to the sides and the backs of the
head. Wigs and hair pieces were used to create an illusion
of abundant hair.
Gladiator Clothing and
The protective clothing
worn by the Roman gladiators were designed in many different
styles and forms. Descriptions of their armor, helmets,
shield, weapons and clothing for each type of gladiator are
described. Basic, cheap woollen tunics (tunica) and cloaks
were worn by gladiators when they were not in the arena.
Gladiators were allowed to keep the rewards earned by
winning gladiator combats and were able to buy expensive
clothing which would be worn at public banquets. The
materials used to make Gladiator Sandals was predominantly
leather. The Ancient Romans were expert in the process of
tanning and produced both supple leather which was ideal for
making gladiator sandals and tough leather which was used to
make protective armor.
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relating to Roman Clothing: