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Togas, Tunics and Sandals

The Romans did not have the kind of underclothes we are familiar with - pants, vests and socks. The only undergarment worn by both sexes was a tunic, knee-length for men, ankle-length for girls and women. In the early days of the Republic men just wore a loin-cloth under their toga.

The toga, which seems to have been Etruscan in origin, was the only garment worn by the ancient Romans and was a mark of citizenship. Those worn by magistrates and boys had a purple band round the edge. This garment, called the toga praetexta, was worn by boys up to the age of sixteen, when they took on the plain white toga of manhood. During the Empire people began to find the toga inconvenient, and gave it up except for special ceremonial occasions, or at the Senate. In it's place they wore the pallium, a light-weight cloak draped over the tunic. The tunic itself became the outer garment, and was put on over an undertunic, often called a camisia (from which the words "chemise" and "camisole" come). The tunic might have sewn sleeves attached to it. As a result of foreign influences, particularly from Gaul, some people began to adopt narrow breeches, a heavy cloak called a paenula, made of thick natural wool or leather, and the caracalla, a cloak with a hood attached.

Women also wore a long tunic, the stola, over an under-tunic tied in at the waist. When they went out they also put on a draped mantle, like a shawl, the palla. Unlike men, women could wear clothes dyed in bright colours.

Romans hardly ever wore hats, but women carried fans, and sometimes sunshades.

How to put a toga on
Starting off as a simple wrap, the toga got bigger and bigger until it had a 6 metre diameter. Of course, it was impossible to put it on by yourself, and you had to have someone to help you!

Diagram to show how a toga was put on. (1) The top half was folded over; (2) one end placed over the left shoulder and arm (3) then the other end was wrapped round the body and carried back over the left shoulder and (4) wrapped round the right hip. The final details of the drapery were left to the individual taste. The piece of cloth remaining (called the sinus) could be used to cover the head, priests wore it like this for sacrifices. Togas were often cut in a semi-circle, but they could vary (5,6,7)


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Holidays - Halloween - Cetera