In ancient Rome, togas were no laughing matter. They were the fashion must-have for all male citizens, but men hated them: they were heavy, made your left arm as useful as a T. Rex’s, and required a team of highly trained slaves to put on and take off. Also, they were made of wool, which was great for preventing dreaded slippage, but not so great for Mediterranean summers in the pre-antiperspirant era.
On the plus side, togas make you look dignified and imperial, especially when you’re strolling about a Roman estate—the Getty Villa, say. That’s why we’re encouraging students to wear their own home-brewed versions for College Night at the Villa each year. And you don’t have to suffer for fashion: in the video above, education specialist Shelby Brown gives you some tidbits on the history of the toga and shows you (at 2:38) how to wrap yourself comfortably and on the cheap using a twin or full-size sheet.
For advanced toga study, including historical variants, controversies, and primary sources, check out this essay from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities; and to round out your ensemble with the appropriate undergarments, footwear, and jewelry, see this article on Roman dress.
Thanks to our impressive toga model Guy Wheatley.