ever, Roman women's dresses were a little different from the men's
For example, they were often pale rose, or aqua.
The female equivalent of the male Subacula (under tunic), was the Intusium,
a sleeveless under-tunic. Women also wore a bust bodice called strophium (much
like a sari bodice).
The stola was worn by married women. It was a
full-length, tunic worn by the women from their wedding day onwards.
This was not a fashionable garment, more an everyday dress, which signified
that the woman was married. Being full in length, the stola
covered the feet, and had a lower border called the instita.
Fashion changes in female Roman dress came in the form of a change of coloured Stola,
and many a stola had a fancy border on the hem. Even Roman women loved to
ring the changes! There were also accessories
such as brooches.
As well as being fashion conscious, it seems that the Roman women were
practical and wore several layers of tunic in the colder weather. For
going out of doors a woman covered up with a long cloak and this made her
appear more modest. The cloak was a simple long length of cloth that could
be wrapped as she liked.
The costume plate shown above right illustrates a Romanised British lady in a
stola and cloak wrap and to the centre is a Romanised British woman. The lady has an ornate trim around her cloak wrap, wears a snake bangle
cuff piece of jewellery on her arm and holds bronze mirror or fan. Her
hairstyle is similar to those shown below.
Raid grandma's jewellery box for a large distinctive brooch to
use as a cloak clasp.
The illustrations on this page should give you a better understanding of the
costume and dress required for a drama production, carnival float or a fancy
dress costume. Note the many variations on drapery in this image
of Roman Empresses and Roman ladies above and below.
The fashionable draped costume of Roman ladies. Next look at the
Roman braided hairstyles and intricate headdresses below, to truly capture
the look of a Roman woman.
476AD saw the end of the Western Roman Empire.
At that time the fashionable Roman dress of 'New Rome' had adopted oriental
elements which culminated in Byzantine styles as shown in the image of
Empress Theodora in 547AD below. Read about
for the era here.
Celtic costume from the period 600BC to 100 AD and before the Roman British
fashion era is illustrated on the Celtic Costume page.
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.
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