Greek Costume

Ancient Greek people created their own clothing and costumes, and one piece of homespun fabric may be used for a garment, shroud, or blanket. Fabrics were likely painted on Greek vases and antique sculptures, and they were likely vividly coloured and frequently ornamented with intricate patterns. A tunic (either a peplos or a chiton) and a cloak were the two main articles of clothing for both men and women (himation). To make the overfold (apoptygma) reach the waist, a huge rectangle of heavy fabric, most often wool, was folded over along the upper edge. It was wrapped around the torso and pinned or broached shut at the shoulders. Each side of the garment had an opening for an armhole, and the open side was either left that way or pinned or stitched to make a seam. A belt or girdle may not be used to fasten the peplos around the waist. A considerably lighter fabric, typically imported linen, was used to make the chiton. It was made of a very long, extremely wide rectangle of fabric that was hemmed at the bottom, pinned or stitched at the shoulders, and typically girded at the waist. The chiton was frequently wide enough to accommodate sleeves that were secured with pins or buttons along the upper arms. Both the peplos and the chiton were floor-length clothing that could typically be pulled over the belt to form a pouch called a kolpos.

A lady might have worn a strophion—a soft band that wraps around the midsection of the body—under either garment. In ancient Greece, men typically wore chitons that were knee-length or shorter and were identical to those worn by women. For exercise, horseback riding, or hard labour, a short chiton tied to the left shoulder was worn. Both men and women wore cloaks (himations), which were essentially rectangular pieces of heavy woollen or linen fabric. It was hung like a stole, either symmetrically over both shoulders or diagonally over one shoulder. Women will occasionally cover their peplos or chiton with an epiblem (shawl). For riding, young men frequently donned a short cloak (chlamys). Greek ladies occasionally wore a flat-brimmed hat with a high peaked crown, and occasionally Greek males wore a broad-brimmed hat (petasos). Both men and women wore boots, slippers, sandals, and other comfortable footwear, though they typically wore bare feet at home.

History of Greek Costume

Greek costume evolved from the Minoan Civilization of Crete (2000–1450 BCE) through the Mycenaean Civilization (1700–1100 BCE), the Archaic Period (8th century to c. 480 BCE), and is best known for the Classical Period (c. 480–323 BCE). Later times’ more understated clothing styles encouraged other cultures to embrace and widely employ Greek clothing, which they did. In general, the majority of what is known about ancient Greek costume only reflects the higher class because this group was most frequently portrayed in artworks, which have preserved the types of clothing worn. Women were more fully clothed throughout the Minoan Period, with the exception of the bare breasts, while upper-class men of the court appeared to have worn mostly loincloths, a robe, sandals, and perhaps a headdress. The Minoans had an impact on Mycenaean fashion, but during the Archaic and Classical periods, clothing became more straightforward.

Types of Greek Costume

There were many styles of Greek costume; the following are some of them. From the Archaic through the Classical eras, most clothing types remained consistent in the Greek era.

  • Strophion − Strophion was a fabric band used by women as a bra.

  • Perizoma − Perizoma is a loincloth used as undergarments by both sexes.

  • Doric and Ionic − Doric and Ionic tunics, known as chitons, are worn by both sexes.

  • Chlamys − Chlamys is an outerwear item that is typically used by males as a short cape or cloak.

  • Peplos − A peplos is a top worn primarily by women over or in place of a chiton.

  • Epiblema − Epiblema is a shawl that both men and women wear over a chiton or peplos.

  • Himation − Himation is a bigger outer garment used by both sexes, like a long cape or cloak.

These were all uncut, unsewn pieces of wool or linen cloth that were worn on a person in various configurations to achieve various effects. The basic clothing consisted of squares, cylinders, or rectangles of material that were wrapped or draped around a person before being secured in place with pins, buttons, or brooches. One could use a single piece of fabric numerous times to make different clothes because of how simple it was to manipulate the cloth into a garment that could then be placed in various designs. The creation of easy-to-wear, comfortable clothes that were noticed and valued by adjacent civilizations involved enhancing or detracting from the fundamental clothing with more garments, new jewellery, and other accessories. Through the Hellenistic and Roman eras, this paradigm of dress persisted, influencing men’s and women’s trends in the Middle Ages and up until the present.

Costumes, Brooches, and Shoes

In Greek, Wool or linen were used to make clothing and costumes. In contrast to spinning wool, which was commonly performed by women in ancient Greece and was used to manufacture clothing for all classes and age groups, linen was more expensive and only available to the elite class. Only the wealthy could afford clothing that was dyed, ornamented with designs, and weighted at the bottom to help it drape across the body and hold firmly. Even if simply on the edges, the upper class’ clothing was vividly colored. The Bronze Age Collapse is the only point in time when the current notion that blue was unheard of in the Mediterranean holds true. Blue has been used for a very long time in Egyptian and Minoan art; however, it is not clear that blue pigment was being made during the Archaic Period. Despite purple’s continued popularity and the frequent use of many other colours, neither Greek art nor literature make any mention of wearing blue clothing.


Even today’s fashion is influenced by the costumes and fashion of the ancient Greeks. The hourglass figure, which has come to be associated with feminine beauty, was first recognised and accentuated by the Greeks through women’s clothing. Women’s evening gowns frequently follow Greek patterns. The ancient Greeks, who felt that men should dress like they were superior to women and should emphasise their height, strength, and power, also established the first standards for male fashion. Whatever the case, Greek costumes were immediately intriguing to other cultures because of how simple they were to use and how gender-neutral they were. Greek costume was easily adaptable to many climatic conditions and cultural norms, and the fundamental shapes of these garments are being used as models in contemporary fashion more than 2,000 years after they were first developed.

Updated on: 20-Dec-2022


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