How to Create a Lady of Ancient Rome Costume

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The ancient Romans ' at least the wealthy ones ' dressed with a near-timeless elegance. In fact, you might already own many of the parts for this costume. You can put it together quickly, and then all you need is your favorite gladiator (Russell Crowe?) for an escort.

Things You'll Need

  • Ancient Roman Costume
  • Costume Jewelry
  • Women's Sandals
  • Fabrics
  • Curling Irons
  • Makeup Kits
  • Start with a basic draped gown. One Roman style consisted of a huge rectangle that enveloped the body and was held together at each shoulder with a brooch, then tied with a ribbon or sash around the waist.

  • Use another large rectangle of fabric as a shawl or wrap over the gown.

  • Don a pair of very dangly earrings. Slightly irregular, antique-looking beads help with the effect.

  • Find rings - all metal or simple with large stones - and wear them on many fingers. The wealthy ancient Romans competed with each other to see who could display the most extravagant fashions and jewels.

  • Put on delicate sandals with thin soles.

  • If your hair is long, put it up loosely, leaving tendrils around the face and neck. Roman ladies often had elaborate braids and curls; if you have a talented hairdressing friend, ask him or her to create a complicated hairdo for you.

  • If your hair is short, consider using a gold or silver braid to wind through it or wrap as a headband.

  • Don't forget makeup ' Roman ladies certainly used it (although they didn't have our modern-day array of brands and fancy packaging).

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't feel up to hemming large pieces of fabric, any long, fairly plain dress will work if it drapes gracefully and leaves the arms mostly bare.
  • Remember that the ancients had no synthetic fabrics and no prints. Cotton, linen and light wool are good choices if you're going for authenticity.
  • Find a book or Web site about ancient Rome for hair and jewelry ideas. The ancients left many statues and mosaics for us to study ' and for us to glean great costume ideas.
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