Ancient Rome Clothing

Wealth and greatness of ancient Roman culture was reflected in the clothing of its people. There are two main stages in the development of Ancient Rome clothing and Roman costume: the republican and imperial. The clothing of the ancient Romans of the republican stage is characterized by rigor and functionality, while the imperial, on the contrary, emphasizes the belonging of the owner of the clothing to a particular class. The imperial stage represents a greater variety and splendor of robes.

Costume of the ancient Romans was not very diverse. The basic items of clothing were the same even in different classes of the population. Both the poor and the rich wore almost the same thing. The main difference was in the materials and additional decorations. The clothes of men and women were also similar, but there were several distinctive features.

Men's clothing in Ancient Rome

The main item of clothing of men in Ancient Rome was a tunic. In those days, it was considered underwear, over which the main one was worn. A tunic is an item worn over the head.

There were three main types of this attire:

  • Colobium
  • Talaris
  • Dalmatian

The colobium tunic was distinguished by short sleeves and a belt in the kit. Talaris, on the contrary, was with long sleeves. This type of tunic was worn by people of high position. Dalmatics is considered the clothing of the first Roman Christians. It is a tunic with long wide sleeves, unfolded like a cross.

What other clothes did the ancient Romans wear?

Toga - It was the main piece of outerwear. This is a large long cape worn over the tunic. The size of this garment was truly impressive: about 6 m by 1.8 m. Toga was a robe that represented national identity and pride of the Romans. They often called themselves "people dressed in togas." Only true Romans who were clean before the law could wear toga. Foreigners, slaves, and criminals did not have the right to wear it.

Poludamentum - Only emperors and noble people could wear this kind of raincoat. It was draped over a noble person's back and fastened with a special buckle on the right shoulder.

Lacerna - A cloak covering the back and shoulders. It was put on for special occasions. It was mounted in the front in the middle. Lacerna was made from expensive and beautiful materials and was available only to the highest nobility

Penula - It was considered a cloak of the lower class. It was made of wool or leather, very often complemented by a hood. Mostly travelers and shepherds used the foam. For the nobility, a foam box of more expensive materials was provided.

Starting from the 3rd century AD, Romans began wearing pants. They were not very popular and were worn only by soldiers.

Women's Clothing in Ancient Rome

Women's clothing of Ancient Rome was quite similar to men's. Women wore tunics under the main clothes. There were both sleeveless and robes with sleeves. Noble women put on their stola atop. This was a clothing very similar to a tunic, however, featuring various decorations and ruffles. Stola was an integral piece of clothing for women who were married. Appearance in public places without a stola was considered bad manners.

Another item of outerwear was a women's raincoat - palla. On the body, it was fixed with the help of fasteners in the shoulders, which were also called agraphs. Some varieties of this cloak provided for covering head.

The ancient Roman style of clothing provided for the use of bright colors: red, lilac, and yellow. The color of clothes was given a special meaning. In particular, red, being the personification of power, accompanied all emperors and rulers. Also, red robes were worn by triumphant commanders. The association of red with power is not accidental. At that time, dyeing the fabric in purple was a laborious and difficult process. Accordingly, a wardrobe of similar colors became very expensive. White color was festive, and white clothes were worn only in rare cases.


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