The early Romans wore togas. They were a
piece of material that was about 9 yards long. Togas were cut in a semicircular shape. The
toga was arranged around the body in a stylish fashion. The toga went out of style because
it was hard to wear with the many folds and people were cold when they wore them.
Courtesy of Forum Romanum
|The Roman clothing changed to a more
comfortable tunic because of the bulkiness and heaviness of the toga. Tunics were made of
linen or wool depending on the season. Different colored stripes on the tunic indicated
the wealth of its owner. On formal occasions, the Romans wore togas over their
tunics. Slaves wore tunics that were made of two pieces of fabric that were sewn together
at the shoulders with opening for the head and arms. Well-to-do women wore longer tunics
than the men. Over the tunics, they wore long pleated robes called stolae that were
tight-fitting at the waist and decorated along the bottom with a band of red fabric or
In Europe, France,
England, and Germany, many people wore warm hooded cloaks. Closer to Rome the people wore
short, dark, woolen coverings called lacernae. These were worn over the togas and attached
at the shoulder or buckled under the chin. Lacernae were made from bright colored fabrics
and decorated with embroidery or fringe. Simple coats called paenulae were worn when
traveling. Paenulae were made from a circular piece of fabric with a hole cut in the
center for the head. Some were made with hoods. Most paenulae were made from animals
Women carried fans and parasols made
from peacock feathers, wood, or stretched linen.
Both men and women wore sandals around
the house. The women's were brightly colored. They were sometimes decorated with pearls.
When going outside both the men and women wore boots.
Boys wore knee-length tunics. They were
white with a red border. When the boy reached manhood his tunic changed to all white.
Girls wore a simple tunic that was belted at the waist. When going outside a second tunic
was worn over the first.
Children wore a locket called a bulla.
It contained an amulet to protect the child against harm. Girls wore the bulla until their
wedding day. Boys wore the bulla until they became citizens at the age of 16 or 17.
The only jewelry worn by men were rings.
Manners prohibited wearing more than one ring at a time. Women wore ornate necklaces,
pins, earrings, bracelets, and friendship rings. Pearls were popular. Women also wore
headdresses or jeweled crowns in their hair.
Women liked to wear makeup when going in
public. Slaves applied it for them. The style was to have very white skin. White creams
made from powdered chalk or lead were used to make the skin appear white. Eyeliner was
used to darkened the eyebrows. Cheeks and lips were colored with a red iron ore called
Hairstyles and beards varied over time.
In early Roman times, the men wore long hair and full beards. Later clean shaven faces and
short hair was stylish. In the first century A. D. hair was styled, and beards became
In the early Roman times, the women
simply parted their hair in the middle and pulled it back in a bun. When women were given
more rights, and could go out in public in the second century A. D., they began to spend
more time grooming their hair. Women often dyed their hair. Golden-red was the favorite
color. Some women wore false hairpieces to make their hair appear longer and thicker.
Styles varied between pinning it up with jeweled hairpins or wearing it down in ringlets.
Wooden hairsticks or wooden combs were used to style and comb the hair. Some combs were
made of bronze, ivory, shell, or animal horn.