Clothing

In ancient Rome, the cloth and the dress distinguished one class of people from the other class. The tunic worn by plebeians (common people) like shepherds and slaves was made from coarse and dark material, whereas the tunic worn by patricians was of linen or white wool. A magistrate would wear the tunica angusticlavi; senators wore tunics with purple stripes (clavi), called tunica laticlavi. Military tunics were shorter than the ones worn by civilians. The many types of togas were also named. Boys, up until the festival of Liberalia, wore the toga praetexta, which was a toga with a crimson or purple border, also worn by magistrates in office. The toga virilis, (or toga pura) or man's toga was worn by men over the age of 16 to signify their citizenship in Rome. The toga picta was worn by triumphant generals and had embroidery of their skill on the battlefield. The toga pulla was worn when in mourning. Even footwear indicated a person’s social status. Patricians wore red and orange sandals, senators had brown footwear, consuls had white shoes, and soldiers wore heavy boots. Women wore closed shoes of colors such as white, yellow, or green. The bulla was a locket-like amulet worn by children. When about to marry, the woman would donate her bulla(sometimes called partha) to the household gods, along with her toys, to signify maturity and womanhood.[citation needed] Men typically wore a toga, and women wore a stola. The woman's stola was a dress worn over a tunic, and was usually brightly colored. A fibula (or brooch) would be used as ornamentation or to hold the stol

in place. A palla, or shawl, was often worn with the stola. Wool, the most commonly used fibre, was most likely the first material to be spun. The sheep of Tarentum were renowned for the quality of their wool, although the Romans never ceased trying to optimise the quality of wool through cross-breeding. The production of linen and hemp was very similar to that of wool and was described by Pliny the Elder. After the harvest, the material would be immersed (most probably in water), it would be skinned and then aired. Once dry, the fibers would be pressed mechanically (with a mallet) and then smoothed. Following this, the materials were woven. Linen and hemp both are tough and durable materials. [edit]Silk and cotton Silk and cotton were imported, from China and India respectively. Silk was rare and expensive; a luxury afforded only to the rich. Due to the cost of imported clothing, quality garments were also woven from nettle. Wild silk, that is, cocoons collected from the wild after the insect had eaten its way out, also was known. Wild silk, being of smaller lengths, had to be spun. A rare luxury cloth with a beautiful golden sheen, known as sea silk, was made from the long silky filaments or byssus produced by Pinna nobilis, a large Mediterranean seashell. These different fibres had to be prepared in different ways. According to Forbes, their wool contained around 50% fatty impurities, flax and hemp were about 25% impure, silk was between 19 and 25% impure, while cotton (the most pure of all the source fibers) contained only 6% impurities.