7. Julius Caesar was laughed at for dressing in a ‘feminine’ toga, but soon, other Romans were following his example
As head of the government of Rome, Julius Caesar was the most powerful man in the whole world in his day. What’s more, he’s also widely-regarded as one of the most important figures of all time. Which makes it even stranger to think that many of his contemporaries believed he would amount to nothing, not least because of the way he dressed. For years, he was mocked for his effeminate dress. In the end, however, Julius Caesar had the last laugh. Not only did he become a truly great man, he also became an ancient style icon.
In Rome of 100BC, men’s fashion was simple: togas were to be tight-fitting and relatively plain. As a young man, Julius Caesar preferred to wear his clothes in a looser style. Like the other dandies of his time, he would wear long, flowing togas, with the more conservative members of society bemoaning the “loosely belted” youngsters. According to some sources, he also took care to make it look like he didn’t care: he would present himself as someone who was too important and busy to worry about fashion, though the truth is, his toga was fastened with much thought and precision.
Caesar’s contemporaries presented him as a vain man. He would regularly wear a crown so as to hide his baldness, plus he also allegedly wore high-top boots so as to hide some unsightly veins on his calves. In later years, when Caesar was the most important man in Rome, he moved away from the loose-fitting togas of his youth and instead took to wearing the ‘toga picta’. This was an elaborately-embroidered garment that would have ensured he stood out from the crowd. It’s believed that many Roman nobles copied him and started wearing this style of toga too, much to the annoyance of the more traditional and conservative members of the Senate.