What People Wore In Ancient Rome Wight Togas


When talking about ancient Rome, one of the first things that come to mind is togas. Wearing a toga in Rome was a sign of social status and the toga was an iconic symbol of Roman civilization. While it may seem like togas were worn by all citizens of ancient Rome, this is far from true. People of different positions and backgrounds had to wear different types of clothing depending on their rank and status. This article will explore the different types of clothing worn by different classes in ancient Rome and how togas were used as a symbol of power and prestige.

Social Status

Before discussing what types of clothing people wore in ancient Rome, it’s important to understand the Roman social hierarchy. At the top of the social ladder were rich politicians and landowners; the wealth and influence of these people set standards for what was fashionable in the era. The second tier of the Roman social hierarchy consisted of the middle class; merchants, artisans, and craftsmen. It’s important to note that the majority of Roman citizens were poorer and did not have the same access to clothing as those of higher classes.

Clothing of the Elite

The Roman elite, including rich politicians and landowners, favored togas. Togas were heavy wool garments, often decorated with elaborate designs. They were mostly worn by the upper-class citizens, but could also be worn by people of the lower classes if they had the money to afford one. Togas were not just a symbol of social status; they were also a sign of political power. Emperors, senators, and high-ranking officials of the state often elected to wear togas as a sign of their authority.

Clothing of the Middle Class

In contrast to the togas favored by the elite, the middle class favored a more practical wardrobe. Men often wore woolen tunics and trousers, while women wore linen or cotton garments. These were less expensive than togas and much easier to clean and maintain. People of this class also favored jewelry and fabrics from around the Mediterranean, a sign of their wealth and status in society.

Clothing of the Working Classes

The working class wore much simpler clothing. They were often restricted by their poverty and could only afford basic items of clothing such as tunics and sandals. Their clothing was often plain and made from rough materials such as rough wool or leather. It was mostly undecorated and much less elaborate than the clothing worn by the higher classes.

Clothing of Slaves

Slaves were not allowed to wear togas, as this was a sign of freedom. Instead, they wore clothing that was plain and undecorated. Slaves were usually given the most basic and rough items of clothing, such as tunics and sandals. It was important that the clothing of slaves was not extravagant or ornate, as this would be seen as a sign of rebellion against the master. All free Romans were required to wear certain types of clothing depending on their social class, but slaves were not given these same privileges.

Rituals and Celebrations

Togas were not just for everyday wear. They were also a popular choice for ceremonial occasions such as weddings and festivals. On these occasions, people would adorn themselves with expensive and extravagant togas. These were often decorated with colorful fabrics and precious stones, making them even more impressive.

Cultural Significance

Togas were more than a fashion statement; they were also a symbol of power and status. In a society where appearance was so important, wearing a toga was a sign that you belonged to the highest echelons of society. It was a sign of wealth and nobility and was synonymous with being a member of the influential Roman classes.


In ancient Rome, togas were a sign of power, prestige, and wealth for the upper classes. Wearing a toga was a way to show one’s social rank and also to signify special occasions such as weddings and festivals. However, not everyone was able to wear them and the lower classes had to make do with simpler clothing. Togas were also a symbol of Roman civilization and have continued to be a part of modern-day Roman culture.

Role in Roman Law

The wearing of togas by Roman citizens was strictly regulated by Roman law. Women were forbidden from wearing togas unless they were attending a special occasion, while slaves and non-Roman citizens were not allowed to wear them at all. Furthermore, Roman citizens who failed to wear a toga in public risked severe penalties such as fines and imprisonment. This demonstrates the importance that the toga held in Roman culture and society at that time.


Towards the end of the Roman Empire, the toga began to decline in popularity. This was in part due to the spread of Christianity and its insistence on a simpler lifestyle. As a result, the toga was replaced by more functional garments such as trousers and tunics. However, togas were still worn for ceremonial occasions and special events, particularly by the upper classes.

Modern Usage

Today, togas are still worn in parts of modern-day Rome for special occasions such as weddings and religious festivals. Togas are also used in plays, films and television shows to portray ancient Rome and its culture. It is a reminder of the influence of the Roman Empire and a symbol of its enduring legacy.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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