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Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Roman dress’

Above images are from Survey of Historic Costume, 5th edition, by Phyllis G. Tortora (Fairchild Books)

Did you know that women in Ancient Rome were not allowed to wear Togas? 

 

The Roman Toga (fabric draped and wrapped around the body) was a complex garment, a symbol of Roman citizenship made and worn a certain way to reflect different roles in Roman society.

Although initially for both men and women, by the 2nd century B.C. togas were restricted to male Roman citizens. An average male Roman citizen wore a linen tunic under a plain white Toga Virilis made of wool. Someone special like a high-ranking official wore the Toga Praetexta – a toga with a band of purple several inches wide along the edge of the fabric.

What you wore communicated who you were.

It was the same for women.

Free, married women sported a long, sleeveless dress with shoulder straps called a Stola. They wore the stola over a tunic. Topping off the outfit she might have worn a Palla, which was a draped shawl that wrapped around the body and was sometimes pulled over the head.

I’m learning all this and so much more in Fashion History, a class I’m taking this semester at City College of San Francisco taught by local costume designer Judith Jackson. This is a fast and furious course in western costume history from ancient times to present day. I have previously taken three classes in the Fashion Department at CCSF, including Fashion Icons of the 20th Century, Hot Topics in Fashion, and my favorite – Textiles Analysis also taught by Ms. Jackson who is an excellent instructor.

My fashion plate is very full with this class and every moment taking notes, reading, studying, writing is pure pleasure. Stay tuned in the coming months as I share other fashion history facts.

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