Clothing and Fashion
History >> Ancient Greece
Because the weather is hot in Greece, the Ancient Greeks wore light and loose clothing. Clothing and cloth was typically made in the home by the servants and the women of the family.
What materials did they use to make clothes?
A Woman's Chiton
by Pearson Scott Foresman
The two most popular materials were wool and linen. Wool was made from the fleeces of local sheep and linen from flax that came from Egypt. Linen was a light fabric that was great in the summers. Wool was warmer and good for the winters. In the later periods of Ancient Greece, the wealthy were able to buy clothes made of cotton and silk.
How did they make cloth?
Making cloth took a lot of work and was one of the major jobs of the wife of a Greek family. To make wool from sheep, they used a spindle to spin the fibers of wool into fine threads. Then they would weave the threads together using a wooden loom.
Typical Clothing for Women
The typical garment worn by women in Ancient Greece was a long tunic called the peplos. The peplos was a long piece of cloth that was fastened about the waist with a belt. Part of the peplos was folded down over the belt to make it appear as if it was two pieces of clothing. Sometimes a smaller tunic called a chiton was worn under the peplos.
Women sometimes wore a wrap over their peplos called a himation. It could be draped in different ways according to the current fashion.
Typical Clothing for Men
A Man's Himation
by Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig
Men generally wore a tunic called a chiton. The men's tunic could be shorter than the women's, especially if they were working outside. Men also wore a wrap called the himation. Sometimes the himation was worn without a chiton and was draped similar to a Roman toga. When hunting or going to war, the men sometimes wore a cloak called a chlamys.
Did they wear shoes?
A lot of the time, the Ancient Greeks went barefoot, especially when at home. When wearing footwear, they usually wore leather sandals.
Jewelry and Makeup
Wealthy Greeks wore jewelry made from precious metals like gold and silver. They wore rings, necklaces, and earrings. Women would sometimes have jewelry sown into the fabric of their clothing. The most popular type of jewelry was a decorated pin or fastener used to attach their wrap or cloak.
One of the most desired features of a Greek woman was to have pale skin. This showed that she wasn't poor or a slave that had to work outside. Women would use makeup to powder their skin and make it appear lighter. They also sometimes used lipstick.
The Ancient Greeks loved to style their hair. Men generally wore their hair short, but they parted their hair and used oils and perfumes in it. Women wore their hair long. This helped to separate them from slave women who had their hair cut short. Women wore complicated hairstyles with braids, curls, and decorations such as headbands and ribbons.
Interesting Facts About Clothing in Ancient Greece
- Most of the clothing was white, but they sometimes dyed their clothing using dyes made from plants and insects.
- Women's clothing always went down to the ankles as they were supposed to remain covered in public.
- They sometimes wore straw hats or veils (the women) to protect their heads from the sun.
- Cloth was seldom cut or sewn together to make clothes. Squares or rectangles of cloth were made the right size to fit the wearer and then draped and held together with a belt and pins.
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