Types of Ancient Greek Clothes for Men & Women

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Types of Ancient Greek Clothes for Men & Women
This Greek vase shows a woman in a long, loose dress. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

While no clothing has survived from ancient Greece, depictions of clothing in paintings, mosaics and statuary give us some idea of what typical ancient Greek men and women looked like. Textual sources tell us the names of the different types of clothes worn by the ancient Greeks. Although clothing changed over time, the basic garments and materials remained similar.

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A common item of clothing for both men and women was the chiton, a sewn tunic that could either be sleeveless or have short sleeves. The chiton could be made of linen or wool and could vary in length from above the knee to the ankle. Although both men and women could wear ankle-length chitons, the long chiton was typically worn by women and the short by men. Some chitons could be even longer, dragging on the ground.


The peplos, worn by women, was a tube of cloth worn with the top folded down to drape over the upper body. It was fastened at the shoulders with pins or brooches. It might also be pinned under the arm to create an armhole. The open side of the garment might be left open; alternatively, it might be sewn or pinned to form a seam. In Athens, a sacred peplos was woven every year for a statue of the goddess Athena.

Himation and Chlamys

The himation was a rectangular cloak made of woollen cloth. It was usually worn over the chiton. The himation could also sometimes be worn without the chiton. In this case, it was sometimes called an achiton. The chlamys was a shorter woollen cloak worn by men. It could be worn over other clothing or by itself. When worn by itself, it was associated with messengers or other people who needed to move quickly. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is depicted wearing a chlamys.

Accessories and Footwear

Both men and women wore leather boots or sandals. Belts could be worn often quite high up the torso. Belts could be wide or narrow. The wide belt was called a zoster, while the narrower belt was called a zone. Men sometimes wore a broadbrimmed hat called a petasus. Hats were much rarer for women; they tended to have flat brims and high peaked crowns. In cold weather, women might wear a heavier woollen shawl called an epiblema.

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