Ancient Greek Clothing - What did people wear in ancient Greece?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Ancient Greek Clothing

Greek baby in a diaper
Greek baby, from
Hellenistic Egypt

April 2017 - Like Egyptian or Mesopotamian babies, Greek babies often wore nothing at all, but sometimes, as in this picture, they wore cloth diapers. If it was cold, of course, they would be more wrapped up. Children also often wore only cloth wrapped around their middles like wrap skirts or shorts.

man in a tunic covering only one shoulder

Greek men mostly wore a tunic, a sort of knee-length t-shirt made of wool or linen, tied with a belt at the waist. Men used the fold of cloth over their belt as a pocket. Often, as in this statuette, they wore their tunic only over one shoulder, as a himation.

Over the tunic men wore a wool cloak if it was cold out. They could also use their cloak as a blanket if they needed to (for example if they were off somewhere fighting a war). Men's legs were bare, and they wore leather sandals when they weren't barefoot. But many men went barefoot their whole lives.

boy wearing hat, cape, and boots
Boy in Macedonian hat, cape, and
boots (ca. 300 BC)
seated woman holding her baby
Aphrodite and Eros

Greek women, like women in Iran or India at this time, generally wore one large piece of wool or linen, wrapped around them and pinned in various ways to make it stay. The ways of pinning it changed over time. One way was to fold the cloth in half, and put it so that the fold in the cloth came under your right armpit and down your right side. Then pull up on the front and the back of the cloth so they meet over your right shoulder and pin the front and the back together with a big safety pin. Then pull more of the front up over your left shoulder, and pin it to the back in the same way. Finally you will notice that your dress is still open all along your left side: tie a belt around your dress at the waist to keep your dress closed. These dresses came down to their ankles, even for younger girls.

When it was cold, women also had long wool cloaks/blankets to keep them warm.

woman with a shawl

Even when it wasn't cold, most Greek women who weren't slaves wore a shawl or a veil over their dress whenever they left the house. Some women wore their veil loose, and some used it to cover their hair, or their face. Women who were enslaved had to wear their hair cut short, while free women had long, complicated hairstyles.

But for running, hunting, or working, Greek women could also wear short tunics like the ones men wore, as this Spartan girl does to run.

Learn by doing: dress up like a person from ancient Greece
More about linen cloth
More about wool cloth

Bibliography and further reading about ancient Greek clothing:

Today, men and women wear modern clothing in the form of fraternity and sorority Greek clothing. These organizations, typically at colleges and universities, wear Greek clothing for philanthropic events, social events, and recruitment events. The pieces of clothing usually will encompass the fraternity or sorority symbol or mascot, with the organization's colors. Greek shirts are the main items that show sorority/fraternity pride across college campuses nationwide.

More about Spinning
Dressing up like the Ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 21 September, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT