Im going to start this blog off with a little comic relief. Here is a video some student at Rutgers University made about Greek and Roman fashion, and actually it's a pretty good representation of what their clothes actually looked like back then.
Now I would like to consider Greek and Roman women and how their dress was a little bit different than men.
The most common clothing that Ancient Roman women wore was what they call a "Stola". This type of garment would cover the length of the body all the way down to the feet, and often had a wool covering over it called the "palla". How women positioned it on their bodies was different becuase they had many layers underneath so each would tunic would fit their individual bodies differently. In most cases the stola was a long sleeved tunic worn underneath a short sleeved tunic. To complete the outfit women would also wear a cloak that buckled over their right should, this is also the main difference between a tunic that a woman would wear and a tunic that a man would wear. This garment had some limitations due to things like climate and costly materials, so it was mainly made out of wool. On occasion and mainly for more prosperous women they would have tunics made of linen for the summer time in order to stay cool. Many women would dye their tunics bright colors because the Romans loved bright colors and those colors often had symbolic meaning as I discussed in the previous blog.
Something that I would also like to discuss when talking about what the women would wear is also how they would wear their hair to go along with the proper tunic. Many women would not only just dye their tunics but like many women today they would also dye their hair. The most common color was a golden-red. They also used hairpieces made from animal hair or human hair to add more hair to their own in order to make their hair look thicker. Some styles they preferred were either up in a very intracate design around their head often adorned with jewled hair pieces, or hair down curled in ringlets and spirals.
Another thing to consider when looking at Greek and ROman women is their accessories that they added to their outfits. Some of them included many of the things we still accessorize with today.
The list also includes friendship rings, ornamental hairpins, earrings, and even hairnets of solid gold! Jewelry, especially bronze and gold, was popular among upper-class Roman women. Accessories were highly decorated and expensive. Fans made of peacock feathers were featured as part of the appearance of the Roman woman.
The Roman Bride
Already when just looking at images of the tunics that Greek and Roman women would wear we already see a similarity between them and modern day bridal gowns. The gown for a roman bride was basically a straight shaped decorated tunic with ribbons and jewlery. These particular tunics were woven all in one piece and had to be long enough to reach the ground when the bride put it on. The tunic would also have a belt that was to be tied around the waist in the "knot of Hercules" which symbolized the guardian of wedded life so it was very important that that be done. If the family had more money then she would wear a red colored veil that covered that tunic. Then the bride would have to go out and collect flowers to adorn her veil with before the ceremony took place.
Now I would like to show some examples of some modern day designers that are using what the women from ancient Greece and Rome wore.
This gown by Valentino is similar in some ways because it has the belt around the waist and is straight down to the floor and also woven in the round which means their are no zippers it is all one piece.