Civilian Clothing, Men's

In general, civilian clothing and accoutrements must adhere to the same standards as for military gear. Fabric should be 100% linen or wool, or cotton or silk in some cases. Any exposed stitching should be done by hand. The following descriptions are very rudimentary, and you are strongly urged to do some research, especially on decoration and jewelry, before making your clothing.

Basic men's clothing is very simple, consisting of the tunic(s) and footwear.

The civilian tunic is identical to the military one, but can be any reasonable color. The most common style seems to have been sleeveless with a slit neck opening. Senators wore a white tunic with two broad (3" wide) verticle purple stripes (clavi) running from shoulder (at the end of the neck slit) to hem. Equestrians were permitted to wear narrow (1") purple clavi. These stripes are also seen on tunics of common people or even slaves, in colors other than purple on white. The tunic is worn with a narrow cloth or leather belt so that it just covers the knee.

The chiton is the Greek tunic, made like the woman's peplos with an overhanging fold of cloth which reaches almost to the waist.

Cloaks include the paenula, laena, lacerna, sagum, and the Greek himation. The latter two are rectangular, and the paenula is semicircular or oval (see the page on military cloaks), but it is impossible to say how the various types differed from one another. The lacerna seems to have been semi-circular and pinned at the right shoulder, and laena often referred to a circular or semi-circular cloak worn by a priest, and clasped in back. But references are confusing and contradictory, and terms might have been somewhat interchangable. (Do you wear a coat or a jacket with your shirt and tie?) The cucullus is hooded and made like the paenula, but reached only to the chest or waist. It was popular with lower-class workers and slaves.

The subligaculum is a loincloth worn as underwear. It can be a simple breechclout, a strip of cloth approximately 6" to 12" wide passing under the crotch and hung over a belt at front and back, or it could be a rectangle with ties at the corners. The latter style may also be called a perizoma. Gladiators are seen wearing something like trunks or shorts with an apron-like effect at the front. How common any form of underwear might have been is unknown.

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