Fashions of the Roman World

Essay by s_mel4aga March 2006

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In general, fashions from the Ancient Greek and Roman periods and before were simple, as clothing expressed practical function over stylistic form. Generally, women's garments were loose and flowing, never tight-fitting. Tunics often covered the wearer with layers of draped fabric, and were worn by both men and women.

The most basic garment for women of Ancient Greece was the Doric peplos, commonly worn through the beginning of the sixth century B.C. Made from a rectangle of woven wool, the Doric peplos measured about six feet in width and about eighteen inches more than the height of the wearer from shoulder to ankle. The fabric was wrapped around the wearer, with the excess material folded over the top and pinned on both shoulders. The extra fabric was allowed to fall freely, giving the impression of a short cape. Pins used for fastening the shoulders of the peplos were originally open pins with decorated heads, but they were later replaced by fibulae or brooches.

Fabrics were plain and for the most part, undecorated. This was the general rule in the Western world. In particular, during the archaic period, clothing was generally white or off-white, and commoners were forbidden to wear red in theaters or public places. By the fifth century, however, clothing began to feature a wider range of colors.

Today's woman does not have a specific style of clothing that she is expected to wear, nor are there only certain colors that she can wear in everyday clothing. As for those that work in business, there are dress-codes that require a professional attire to be worn to the office. Women in corporate America are not expected to come into work wearing mini-skirts and no stockings. There is a standard that businesses expect from their employees. Most of our clothing designs...