Children's Clothing


Children's clothes were shaped as if for little men and women. From a relatively early age, children were taught how to dress like their elders by matching colors tastefully and wearing outfits that were appropriate to particular occasions. Written documents, chiefly letters, show how fathers taught their sons. The Roman-period letter quoted below, "From Cornelius to his sweetest son Hierax" who was boarding away from home in order to attend a good school, provides a telling example of this tradition:


"...Take care not to offend any of the persons at home, and give your undivided attention to your books, devoting yourself to learning, and then they will bring you profit. Receive by Onnophris the white tunics which are to be worn with the purple cloaks [i.e. shawls], the others you should wear with the myrtle-colored ones. I shall send you by Anoubas both the money and the monthly supplies and the other pair of scarlet cloaks."

Letter, 2nd c. CE (P.O. 531)

Children's tunics and shawls had similarly shaped ornamental patches and stripes as well. The visual motifs employed on children's clothing could follow the same kinds of patterns used on adults' clothing, or they could be particularly appropriate for youthful innocence. Spring-blooming flowers and baby animals, for example, are frequently found on late antique children's clothes.



Back to 'Reconstructing Personal Style'

Ahead to next section-'Women's Clothing'