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Clothing & Hair Styles Illustration

Clothing &
Hair Styles

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The very early Romans wore a garment called a toga.  A toga was made of about 9 yards of one piece of cloth that was wound and draped across the body in a very special way so the the open end was across your left arm.  But putting on a toga took time.  It was not a very practical garment and it really didn't keep you warm.  The Romans gave them up very quickly except as ceremonial or party clothes.

In place of the toga, the Romans started wearing tunics.  A tunic looks like a long tee shirt.  Summer tunics were made of linen and winter tunics were made of wool.  During the colder months, they also wore something that looked like trousers.  The Romans also invented socks, which they wore during colder times.

Fashion for Roman Men: Roman men of good taste would wear a single ring as a fashion accessory.  To flout good taste, men wore rings on every finger and even arm bracelets.  They never wore wrist bracelets since that reminded people of the chains of slaves, and no free Roman wanted to be mistaken for a slave.  Hair styles changed with the times.  At times long hair was the thing with beards and mustaches.  At other times being clean shaven with short hair was in style.  Sometimes men even curled and braided their hair.

Fashion for Roman Women: Women enjoyed gazing at themselves in mirrors of highly polished metal (not glass).  The ancient Roman women loved ornate necklaces, pins, earrings, bracelets and friendship rings.  Pearls were favorites.

Women often dyed their hair, usually golden-red.  They used false hairpieces to make their hair thicker or longer.  Sometimes, Roman women wore their hair up, in carefully arranged styles, held with jeweled hairpins.  Sometimes they wore it down, curled in ringlets.

Parasols were used, or women might carry fans made of peacock feathers, wood, or stretched linen.

Women's street shoes were made of leather, like a man's.  In the house, most Romans (men and women) wore sandals.  Women's sandals were brightly colored.  Some were even decorated with pearls.

Roman Boys: Boys wore a tunic down to their knees.  It was white, with a crimson border.  Once a boy became a man, he put aside his childish clothes, and wore an all-white tunic.

A boy became a citizen at age 16 or 17.  The year was selected by choosing the date which came closest to March 17th.

Coming of age, becoming a citizen, was quite a celebration.  On a boy's sixteenth or seventeenth birthday, the boy dressed himself in a white tunic, which his father adjusted.  The day ended with a dinner party, given by the father, in honor of the new Roman citizen.

Roman Girls: Girls wore a simple tunic with a belt at the waist.  When they went outside, they wore a second tunic that reached their feet.

Bulla: Children wore a special locket around their neck, given to them at birth, called a bulla.  It contained an amulet as a protection against evil and was worn on a chain, cord, or strap.

Girls wore their bulla until the eve of their wedding day, when their bulla was set aside with other childhood things, like her toys.

Boys wore their bulla until they day they became a citizen.  Boys' bullas were put aside and carefully saved.  A boy's bulla could be worn by the owner again if he won special honors.  For example, if he became a successful general, and won the honor of triumph, he would wear his bulla in ceremonial parades, to protect him from the evil jealously of men or gods.

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Roman Dress


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