Thursday, April 15, 2010

Roman Fashion

In Roman times, appearances were very important. They still are today. The fashions were often determined by what the emperor and his wife wore. Many people tried hard to keep up with the latest trends. They still do today.

For men, the most important garment was a tunic. Underneath, men wore a loincloth. That was their version of underwear. Over the tunic, men would sometimes wear togas. Togas are probably the most famous piece of Roman clothing. It was only worn by Roman citizens. It was so uncomfortable that it was usually only worn on special occasions. I once wore a toga for a Halloween costume. It wasn't that uncomfortable. Then again, I wore it years ago, so maybe I don't remember right. Some men also wore cloaks.

Women wore the same type of underwear as men. On top of those they wore a long robe called a stola. They would also wear a palla, a large shawl. During the time of the Roman empire, women wore brightly colored stolas and pallas. These were made from Chinese silk or Indian cotton. Silk was worth its weight in gold at the time.

Hairstyles were not very important for men during most of the reign of the Roman empire. Men were usually clean-shaven, with short hair. During earlier Roman times,
hair was not important to Roman women either. After the time of the Roman Republic,
elaborate hairstyles were invented. They would curl their hair with heated tongs, then arrange it into a pile. What a waste of time.

Roman styles were very different than ours. But the reason for them was the same: people wanting to look good.

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