If you lived in ancient Greece back in the day, getting the clothes you wanted to wear would have been no easy feat. Ancient Greek apparel wasn’t as accessible as it is today where anyone can just walk into Target and find great deals. As a matter of fact, clothing of ancient Greece was quite expensive and only the rich families were able to afford it. Made from lightweight materials like wool and linen and dyed by natural plants, Greek clothing used wool imported from India. As a result, prices were marked high to compensate for the importing costs. Therefore, poor families pulled their resources together to construct their own clothing. This task was done primarily by female slaves or women of the households.
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The main garment for men and women of ancient Greece was the tunic, also known as the cliton. This was created by wrapping a piece of rectangular-shaped clothing around the body and fastening it with hooks or belts. The tunics were also decorated to identify the families and city-states where people were from.
Aside from expensive clothing prices due to imported material, another reason for these costs could be in part to the amount of material used in clothing construction. For example, women wore a rectangle of woven wool up until the 6th century, which was about 6 feet wide and 18 inches longer than the person wearing it. This made for quite a bit of extra fabric once wrapped around the body. The extra fabric was folded over at the top and fastened on both shoulders with the excess fabric free flowing, somewhat like a cape. Along with the tunic, women of ancient Greece were also sometimes seen in elaborately designed dresses and gowns.
For the mighty men of ancient Greece, they were tunics that reached to their ankles, resembling robes or even dresses. As time progressed, the length of these tunics became shorter, ending at the knees. Also, men began wearing these garments with extra fabric fastened to both shoulders, but eventually moved to having only one shoulder pinned.
In the 6th century, some tunic tune-ups took place as the garment underwent a few changes. The new century brought about the illumination of color to these pieces, as opposed to the standard white that had been the norm in the past. Tunic fabrics also shifted from wool to linen and silk and fabrics became wider, measuring up to as much as 10 feet wide. Another development was tunic sleeves for women, which were created by fastening the end of the fabric many times from the shoulders to the wrists. In addition, cloaks began to emerge as an accompanying piece to the tunic. These cloaks were called himation.
For shoes, ancient Greeks wore strapped sandals and leather boots. Boots for women were ankle high while boots for men were heavy and laced. And on a final note of interest, the credit goes to the Greeks for inventing the first real hat, which was worn during travels. This hat came complete with a chin strap to hold it on the head.
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