Humanities › History & Culture The Basics of Ancient Roman Clothing Information on the basics of ancient Roman clothing Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Rome Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Mythology & Religion American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 08, 2017 Ancient Roman clothing started out as homespun wool garments, but over time, garments were produced by craftspeople and wool was supplemented with linen, cotton, and silk. Romans wore shoes or walked barefoot. Articles of apparel were for more than just keeping warm in the Mediterranean climate. They identified social status. Accessories were important, too, some of them were functional, and even magical -- like the protective amulet is known as the bulla which boys gave up when they reached manhood, others decorative. Facts About Greek and Roman Clothing Ionian Chiton Illustration. British Museum's "Guide to the Exhibition Illustrating Greek and Roman Life," (1908). Roman clothing was essentially similar to Greek clothing, although Romans adopted or scorned Greek clothing with a purpose. Find out more about the basics underlying Roman, as well as Greek, clothing. Roman Sandals and Other Footwear Caliga. NYPL Digital Library Red leather shoes? Must be an aristocrat. Black leather with moon shape decoration? Probably a senator. Hobnails on the sole? A soldier. Barefoot? Could be almost anyone, but a good guess would be an enslaved person. A Quick Look at Clothing for Women Image ID: 1642506 Galla Placidia imperatrice, regente d'Occident, 430. D'ap[res] l'ivorie de La Cathed[rale] de Monza. (430 A.D.). NYPL Digital Gallery While Roman women once wore togas, during the Republic the mark of the respectable matron was the stola and when outside, the palla. A prostitute wasn't allowed to wear the stola. The stola was a very successful garment, lasting for many centuries. Roman Underwear Ancient Roman Women Exercising in Bikinis. Roman Mosaic From Villa Romana del Casale outside the town of Piazza Armerina, in Central Sicily. Mosaic may have been made in the 4th century A.D. by North African artists. CC Photo Flickr User liketearsintherain Underwear wasn't mandatory, but if your privates were likely to be exposed, Roman modesty dictated covering. Roman Cloaks and Outerwear Roman Soldiers; Standard-bearer; Horn-blower; Chieftain; Slinger; Lictor; General; Triumpher; Magistrate; Officer. (1882). NYPL Digital Library Romans spent a lot of me outdoors, so they needed apparel that protected them from the elements. To this end, they wore a variety of capes, cloaks, and ponchos. It is hard to determine which is which from a monochrome relief sculpture or even from a colorful mosaic since they were so similar. Fullo A Fullery. CC Argenberg at Flickr.com Where would one be without the fuller? He cleaned the clothing, made the rough wool wearable against bare skin, chalked the candidate's robe so he could stand out from the crowd and paid a tax on urine for the needy Emperor Vespasian. Tunica Image ID: 817552 Roman plebeian dress. (1845-1847). NYPL Digital Gallery The tunica or tunic was the basic garment, to be worn under more official garments and by the poor without topping. It could be belted and short or extend to the feet. Palla Woman Wearing the Palla. PD "A Companion to Latin Studies," edited by Sir John Edwin Sandys The palla was a woman's garment; the male version was the pallium, which was considered Greek. The palla covered the respectable matron when she went outside. It is often described as a cloak. Toga Toga-clad Roman. Clipart.com The toga was the Roman garment par excellence. It seems to have changed its size and shape over the millennia. Although mostly associated with men, women could wear it, as well.