Clothing in Ancient Rome

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The Emperor Tiberius wearing a toga.
Found on the Isle of Capri, now in the Louvre Museum.

Clothing in Ancient Rome is most commonly known by the toga and stola. The cloth was made from wool, linen or hemp. Cotton and silk were also used, more rarely. Leather was also used.

Types[change | change source]

  • The Toga was an important item worn only by Roman citizens, and after the second century BC, only by men. After that, the only females to wear togas were prostitutes. The colors of togas had meaning. A toga could be edged with purple (high rank), or be all dark for mourning. Only emperors could wear entirely purple togas. In other words, clothing reflected status as well as practical needs. A red lined Toga often showed shame and disgrace, often worn when banished or before an execution.
  • The palla was a mantle or headcloth worn by women with the stola. It draped over the shoulders and round the body.
  • The Stola was a floor-length dress with long sleeves. It was worn over a tunic. The Stola was a symbol of marriage in ancient Rome times. Girls wore a simple tunic, except when going to an evening event, when ankle-length tunics were worn.
  • Slaves wore simple woolen tunics. Tunics of cotton could by worn by any class as under-garments.
  • The paludamentum was a cloak or cape fastened at one shoulder, worn by military commanders. The paludamentum was generally crimson, scarlet, or purple in color.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Ancient Roman fashion at Wikimedia Commons