Ancient Roman Clothing - Ancient Rome answers questions
Upgrade /Log in
Options /Log out
Early Europe
Central Asia
Islamic Empire
Native Americans
S./Central America
American History

Ancient Roman Clothing

Ara Pacis

Roman men and women, like other Indo-Europeans, originally seem to have worn a large piece of wool, wrapped around themselves. After they met people from Greece and Egypt, around 200 BC, they began to wear linen tunics (like T-shirts) under their wool robes, which was more comfortable.

Roman sandal

On their feet, both men and women wore leather sandals, or leather boots in cold weather.

Hair Combs
Roman hair combs and hairsticks

In their hair, women wore wooden hairsticks or wooden combs, which they could also use to comb their hair.

For fancy occasions Roman men always continued to wear their wool robes over their tunics. They called these wool robes togas, and there were a lot of rules about how exactly a man should wear his toga, and who could have a stripe on his toga, and so forth, which helped to show who was rich and powerful and who was poor.

Women often wore more than one linen tunic, and a wool scarf or veil over their tunics, which they could pull over their heads if it was raining or cold.

Roman people wearing hoods

When the Roman Empire controlled provinces all over Europe and the Mediterranean, the people in these different places continued to dress in their local ways, just putting on tunics and togas for special occasions. In Europe, in France and England and Germany, many people wore warm hooded cloaks, like the ones shown here.

Roman costumes, Roman food, and activities
More about Roman use of makeup

Bibliography and further reading about Etruscan and Roman clothing:

Greek and Roman Fashions, by Tom Tierney (2001). Coloring book for kids.

Clothes and Crafts in Roman Times, by Philip Steele (2000). Easy reading.

Costumes of the Greeks and Romans, by Thomas Hope (19th century, reprinted 1986). More advanced illustrations, for teachers and professional costumers.

Etruscan Dress, by Larissa Bonfante

The World of Roman Costume, edited by J.L. Sebesta and L. Bonfante (1994). A more culturally oriented study of not only what the Romans wore, but why they wore it. By specialists, but accessible to adults.

also check out:

Child 4 Piece Roman Armor Set

Roman God or Goddess Adult Costume

Deluxe Roman Emperor - Adult Caesar Costume

Mark Anthony Costume

Gladiator Soldier Costume

Roman Tribune Costume

Roman Makeup
Ancient Greek clothing
Ancient Rome home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support! (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

Now that the weather's nice, try some of these outdoor activities! How about bicycle polo, or archery for a Medieval Islam day? Or kite flying or making a compass for a day in Medieval China? How about making a shaduf for a day in Ancient Egypt? Holding an Ancient Greek Olympic Games or a medieval European tournament? Building a Native American wickiup?