Like in today's society, clothing in Ancient Rome said a lot about a person. It gave an insight on their career and social status.
The 3 basic units of clothing in Ancient Rome were togas, stolas, and tunicas. Everybody wore tunicas, while togas were for men and stolas were for women.
The toga is the signature clothing garment associated with Rome, it is thought to have originated from the Etruscans, Rome's northern neighbors. The toga consisted of approximately 20ft of wool that was wrapped around the body, it was usually worn over a tunica. Because the toga was cumbersome to work in, it eventually became considered formal wear. Only Roman male citizens could wear togas, this was an easy way to distinguish slaves from the rich.
There were many different types of togas that each had a different purpose:
Toga virilis- plain white toga, worn by most Roman men and members of the Senate
Toga candida- "bright white"(bleached w chalk), worn by men running for offices
Toga praetexta- white toga with purple border, worn by boys and magisters
Toga pulla- dark toga, worn in times of mourning or to show protest
Toga picta- most elaborate toga, solid purple, embroidered with gold, worn by victorious generals and emperors
Free women wore a stola, which was a dress-like garment that was traditionally sleeveless. It was thought to have originated from the Ancient Greeks. They were usually made of linen, though an extremely rich women could be seen wearing a stola made of silk. Stolas came in many different colors with a wide variety of embellishments and embroideries. Stolas were indicators of marital status and wealth. Ancilla didn't wear stolas, but instead wore tunicas because they were more efficient for physical labor.
The tunica was worn by everyone, but Roman men and women wore togas or stolas over their tunicas. Slaves or people who did physical labor only wore a tunica because it was not very heavy and allowed for free movement.
In Ancient Rome shoes were made by a sutor, a leatherworker, there were 2 types of shoes: sandals and shoes. Sandals or soleae were typically made of leather, and consisted of a sole with interlacing straps. Sandals were more casual shoes, typically worn with a tunica, but not to be worn with a toga. Shoes in Ancient Rome were called calceus, they were made of soft leather and completely covered the foot. They are very similar to shoes today. Calcei were considered upper class shoes, senators wore black leather calceus with 4 straps. Patricians wore red calceus that were fastened with hooks. Soldiers wore caliga which were similar to soleae, but had iron hobnails fastened to the sole. This created traction, they were like ancient cleats.
Similar to Roman clothing, shoes were a way of determining social status, wealth, and career. Only the rich would wear shoes, leather was expensive. Generally the more elaborate and intricate the shoes, the richer the person.
Cleaning of Clothes
Romans didn't have Tide, instead they used urine to wash clothes. Slaves or lower class people washed clothes, they were called fullones. First, clothes were placed in small tubs filled with alkaline solutions containing urine. The fullo stood in the tub and stomped, scrubbed, and rung out the clothing. After the clothes had been treated with the chemicals, they were washed in fresh water to remove the dirt. After this some clothes were brushed or pressed. The clothes were then hung out to dry.
Roman soldiers wore pretty standardized uniforms, but there was no official uniform. Your uniform varied on which state factory you got it from, different provinces produced slightly different armor. The basic attire of a Roman soldier consisted of a red and off-white tunic, a balteus(a belt used to tuck clothing into and keep weapons holstered), and caligae(shoes). Soldiers in colder climates wore braccae, woolen trousers worn in place of a tunica. Commanders wore paludamentum, a cloak that fastened at the shoulder and was either red or white.