chariot, horses, carriage-1151742.jpg

Roman Clothes & Fashion

The clothes used by Romans although were simple in appearance, they had an elegant look. Stitching was kept to minimum and accessories like buttons were not used at all. Roman clothes in most instances were made from wool. Materials such as silk and cotton were also used. The practice of using sulfur to wash clothes was followed. Let’s get more information about Roman clothing through the following paragraphs.

Ancient Roman Clothing

The Roman clothing and fashion is characterized by a variety of dresses which have an elegant look. The Toga is an important costume which holds great significance and was used in ancient Italy for special occasions. Tunic was a standard dress for men, while women used tunica and stola.


It was one of the ancient Roman clothes considered as standard for outdoor use. The difference between tunics used for men and women was that, the one used by women had a longer length. Men used tunics with a length reaching the knee. There was another difference between the tunics wore by men and women. The latter wore tunica which had longer sleeves. There was a practice of wearing 2-3 tunics (one over the other) during cold weather. The innermost/first tunic was known as subucula, while the next/second was termed as supparus. There were types of tunics which represented different ranks/orders assigned to the person wearing them.


The Toga was a long dress with an approximate width of 3 m and 6 m length. The length however, varied on the basis of person (height and physique) wearing it. Made of wool, the Toga was wrapped around body; this dress was devoid of any features like pockets. The Toga was meant only for Roman citizens; Slaves and foreigners were not allowed to wear the Toga. The richness of fabric used in a Toga was used in displaying a person’s status. The Tarentum and Apulia wool were used in the Toga by the rich people. The off-white dress with purple border for Consuls and Senators was referred to as Toga praetexta. Politicians used an artificially whitened Toga. The Toga pulla was used during mourning and this dress had a dark shade.

Roman Clothing for Women and Children

The clothes for women included a tunica and stola. Stola was used over the tunica. Length of the tunica reaches down to knees. Height of stola extends from neck to the ankles. The stola is fastened to shoulders by means of clasps. A shawl used by women and wrapped around arms & shoulders is known as palla. Jewelry, make-up and other adornments were also used by Roman women. The Roman clothes being used by children were amulets called bulla. Girls used to wear this dress till their marriage. Boys would make use of this dress till the age of 16, after which tunic and other dresses were used.

Gladiator Clothing

The clothing element for gladiators mainly served the purpose of protection rather than style/social status. Still, the clothes/protective guards were no short of the style quotient. Apart from the canvas loin cloth, hardly any clothes were used to cover the body. Fighting with bare chest was considered symbolic for displaying masculinity. The sword belt used by gladiators was known as balteusManicae served the purpose of wrist and arm padding; these wraps were made from cloth and leather. Metal guard used in protecting the shoulder was known as galerus. A band of leather or other material was used as leg padding and it was referred to as fascia.

The different types of Roman clothes are discussed in short, in the article above. Ancient Roman clothing for men and women is discussed separately. The protective ancient Roman armor used by gladiators were also presented for your reference. Hope this article proved useful to you.

Scroll to Top