GreekAncient Greece

Greek clothing changed little over time. Long pieces of fabric were used to make the Greek clothes. The main item of clothing was a tunic, called a chiton. A chiton was made of a two sheets of light drapery and worn directly over the body. A belt, usually under the breast ("high-girded") or around the waist ("low-girded") helped contain it. Double-girded were also fashionable. The chiton was often worn in combination with the heavier himation, which had the role of a cloak. It was the outfit of Aphrodite because it was considered very feminine and sexy. Men also wore it. Dionysus is often drawn wearing it. Poets and male artists also wore it. The chiton was also worn by the Romans.

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Women would sometimes wear a shorter decorated tunic, a peplos, over their chiton. A peplos is essentially a tubular cloth, folded inside-out from the top about halfway down, so that what was the top of the tube is now at the waist and the bottom of the tube is about ankle-length. It is then gathered about the waist, and the open top (at the fold) pinned over the shoulders. The top of the tube (now inside-out) drapes over the waist providing the appearance of two pieces of clothing.

 

The Greeks wore light, loose clothes as the weather was hot for most of the year. In hot weather working men would often just wear a loincloth. In cooler weather, the Greeks wore cloaks and hats. Most Greeks walked barefoot, especially in the house. When they went out they sometimes wore light leather sandals, or leather boots.

 

Wealthy Greek women liked to wear lots of jewellery. Brooches and pins were important, as they were used to fasten the chitons. The women also wore necklaces, made of gold and silver, and had earrings and bracelets. Wealthy women would use cosmetics too - especially powdered lead, which gave them a pale complexion, and have slaves to put their hair into the latest styles.

 

From around 500 BC the fashion for a Greek man's hair was short hair, and a well trimmed beard. After about 350 BC men's hair was very short, and most men had no beard at all. Men grew beards until Alexander the Great created a vogue for shaving.