Ancient Greek Clothing

Have you ever wondered what type of clothing the Ancient Greeks wore?

Let’s explore what men and women wore in Ancient Greece, plus interesting facts about their shoes, hair, makeup, and jewelry.

Clothing Material

It was hot in Ancient Greece, so people wore light, loose clothing.

Clothes could be purchased in the agora, or marketplace, but those clothes were expensive.

Clothing was usually made in the home by women, servants, or slaves. They used a spindle to spin fibers into threads, then a loom to weave the threads together.

ancient-greek-clothing

Wool and linen were the most popular clothing materials for the Ancient Greeks. Linen was made from flax plants. Because linen was a lighter material, linen clothing was usually worn during the summer.

Wool was made from the fleece of sheep. This warmer, heavier material was worn in the winter.

As Ancient Greek society advanced, wealthy people are also able to afford clothing made of silk and cotton.

Clothes for Men

Men mostly wore a tunic called a chiton. This simple tunic was made from two pieces of cloth sewn together on the sides and connected at the shoulders, with holes for the head and arms.

Over the chiton, they wore a piece of fabric called a himation. It was worn like a toga. The himation could be draped in different ways according to what was in style.

To protect themselves from the sun, men also wore petasos, a wide-brimmed hat. These were most commonly worn while traveling.

In the military, men wore a chlamys, which was like a woolen cloak.

chlamys
Chlamys

Clothes for Women

Women in Ancient Greece could also wear a chiton covered with a himation. More commonly, they wore a longer tunic called a peplos, which was often covered with a himation too.

The peplos was a large piece of material. It was folded down to double at the waist, making it look more like two pieces of clothing than one. It was belted at the waist and pinned at the shoulder.

Women’s clothing usually went down to the ankles. Men’s clothing was shorter because they often worked outside.

Some women wore loose veils while in public. They also wore hats with high-peaked crowns.

Shoes

Most of the time, the Ancient Greeks went barefoot. However, they also wore leather sandals and sometimes leather boots. Leather boots were most often worn for horseback riding.

Many Ancient Greeks could go their entire lives without ever wearing shoes.

Hair

Ancient Greek men usually wore their hair short and parted. Both men and women put oil and perfumes in their hair.

hair-ancient-greek-women

Women had long hair. They loved to style their hair with curls, braids, and decorative ribbons and headbands. Women also wore ponytails or arranged their hair on top of their heads.

In the city-state of Sparta, women shaved their hair when they got married. They then kept their hair short throughout the marriage.

Makeup

Women in Ancient Greece enjoyed makeup. Makeup was made from materials found in nature, but it was often very expensive.

Ancient Greek women wanted to have fair skin. This separated them from slaves or from poor people who had to work outside.

Women used white lead and white chalk to make their skin appear lighter. Today, we know that these materials are toxic.

They used red iron oxide mixed with beeswax to make lipstick. Women also darkened their eyes with eyeliner made of charcoal and olive oil.

beeswax-lipstick

Natural pigments from plants and vegetables were used too. For example, women used beetroot dyes to make their cheeks and lips appear rosy.

Jewelry

Only wealthy Ancient Greeks wore a lot of jewelry. Gold and gems like emeralds, amethysts, and pearls were popular.

Favorite accessories included earrings, bracelets, necklaces, arm bands, and thigh bands. Some women had jewels sewn into the fabric of their clothing.

Jeweled pins used to fasten wraps or cloaks were another popular accessory.

Other Interesting Facts About Ancient Greek Clothing

  • Almost all Ancient Greek clothing was white. Only wealthy people could afford colorful clothing. Dye was made from plants.
  • Violet, green, and gray were the most common colors of dye. Wealthy Ancient Greeks could even have clothing dyed with stripes or floral patterns.
  • The Ancient Greeks often used belts and pins to hold fabric together instead of sewing it.
  • Charcoal and olive oil weren’t only used for eyeliner. Women also used them to make their eyebrows fashionably thick. At one point, the style was to connect their eyebrows to make one long eyebrow.
  • Bracelets, earrings, and necklaces were often buried with Ancient Greeks in their tombs.

Ancient Greece.