Toga (Patrician Class)

  • Historical Clothing
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Perhaps the most recognized piece of Ancient Roman Culture, The Toga was considered the National Dress from The Kingdom Era to Imperial Rome. Derived from earlier Greek versions, there were (7) known forms of Toga Patterns worn. A Toga was used as a way to visually establish one’s “Class” within Roman Culture. Originally a work garment made of coarse material, The Toga was a one-piece garment which covered the entirety of the body. Variations  made had “sweeps” or longer extensions of material, which could be thrown over the arm and shoulder – to provide for a type of makeshift “Cape” (for warmth or protection against the elements). Finer materials were reserved for The Ruling or Senatorial Classes. These Togas were often embellished with vertical stripes of Purple or Red. Both colors were reserved for Nobility and Royalty within The Roma Culture for it’s duration. Normally all White in color, The Toga also symbolized one’s status as a “Freeman” or “Citizen”. Slaves were forbidden to wear Togas. Often Heavy Cloaks or “Laenas” were used for Winter and in cold climates. These Cloaks were woolen and may or may not feature an attached Hood. They were fastened to The Toga via a Brooch. Many of these attachments were highly embellished ornaments and too, established “status” for The Wearer.
Variations of The Toga were created to fit various Occupations. Military styles were often much shorter and designed to afford The Wearer with better mobility with regards to range of motion (arms and legs). While the standard Soldier did not wear them, Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers did. They did however, retain a full length version for ceremonial functions. Often, as was accepted practice within Roman Culture, “worthy” Nobile Sons were associated with older and perhaps more politically established Families. This practice of “Patronage” required them to wear the “colors” of The House in which they were “loaned” to. These colors were often reflected in The Toga design. Women were known to wear Togas, but this practice was strictly frowned upon by Roman Upper Society. The “Stola” was more acceptable to their stature in Society. These garments covered a women (who unless they were a {Prostitute), was considered the appropriate manner of dress for a Roman woman of even the lesser Classes. Trousers were seldom worn under The Toga, with their use regulated to Slaves and The Military Classes. A type of leather or cloth undergarment (loincloth) was used. By the 3rd Century AD, The Toga as a National Dress (as was The Empire itself), was in decline. The adoption of related but different garments (including now Trousers), were the norm. The variation of The Toga remained within The Clergy of both Orthodox and Western Churches, and does still in part – today.