Homemade Roman Costumes

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The iconic togas, olive leaf crowns and numerous accessories of ancient Roman attire lend themselves to numerous festive occasions, including theme parties, toga parties, costume balls and Halloween celebrations. You can put together a homemade Roman costume with a trip to the craft store and a few household elements. Before putting your costume together, decide your place in Roman society --- such as emperor, soldier or even goddess --- and accessorize accordingly.

Toga

  • Put on shorts and a T-shirt. Roman citizens often wore shirts under their togas; choose a simple T-shirt that matches the color of your toga fabric. Guys may want to go shirtless under the toga.

  • Place one corner of fabric (4 yards long) or bed sheet in front of your left shoulder by turning your head and tucking the fabric under your chin.

  • Drape the fabric across your chest, holding it under your right arm.

  • Wrap the fabric around your back. You might need an extra hand for this step.

  • Tuck the fabric under your left arm and wrap it once again around the front of your chest.

  • Bring the other corner of the fabric across your chest, under your arm and around your back.

  • Bring the corner up over your back.

  • Secure the two ends of the fabric together with a decorative brooch or a safety pin. Alternatively, you can tie them in a knot.

  • Have friend carefully trim the bottom of your toga to length with a pair of fabric scissors. For men, the toga should reach just below the knees. For women and Roman royalty, the toga may reach the ankles.

Soldier

  • Don a long, loose-fitting red T-shirt. The shirt will serve as the base of the costume and should be as long as a tunic. Try looking in a big and tall store for this T-shirt.

  • Craft a leather skirt out of faux leather. Measure the leather to the horizontal length of a matching leather belt. Vertically, cut it so it hangs just above your knees, matching the length of your tunic. Glue the faux leather to the inside of the belt with a hot glue gun to make a skirt. Allow the glue to dry. Wear the belt backward to hide the buckle. Cut the resulting skirt so it hangs in strips.

  • Wear a long, thick leather belt as a diagonal strap across your chest to form a baldric, buckling it in the back. Thick, rugged belts make the best baldrics.

Accessories

  • Hot glue fake plastic leaves around a green, black or gold hair band to create a laurel crown if you're dressing as Roman royalty. Allow the hot glue to dry completely before donning your crown.

  • Don a pair of natural-colored or leather sandals. Women can sport intricate metallic sandals for an elegant touch while soldiers may want to accent their sandals with strips of brown leather or cloth to simulate the look of laced Roman sandals. If you'll be sporting your costume indoors, consider going barefoot.

  • Add fake plastic or real jewelry --- such as necklaces, large earrings, rings, bangles or bracelets --- for women's costumes. Men can accent their look with leather bracers or thick bracelets. Soldiers can pick up plastic swords, shields, chest plates or helmets at the local costume shop.

  • Add color to your Roman soldier or dignitary costume by tying a simple fabric cape out of excess fabric. Red capes suit soldiers, while royalty may sport purple.

Tips & Warnings

  • Common Roman toga colors include white, red, purple or saffron. Gold, white, purple and red borders are a nice touch for toga fabric.
  • Take a look at historical images of Roman clothing to get inspired for your homemade outfit.

References

  • Photo Credit Göttin image by Angelika Bentin from Fotolia.com laurel leaf isolated image by Albo from Fotolia.com
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