This is the second part of the article on ancient Greek dress
Ancient Greeks had an affinity for earrings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, and rings, made of metal and semiprecious stones. Precious metals were also used, but gold became popular only in the 6th century BC.
Jewelry evolved over time. During the Archaic period, jewelry pieces were simple and mainly functional. Such were the pins or brooches used to fasten the himation or the chiton, or the seal rings used to seal letters and important documents. By Hellenistic times goldsmiths had mastered their craft and jewelry featured an exquisite design and composition.
The sandals were the common footwear for both men and women. The Greek sandal featured several straps, which stretched between the toes to the ankle in various fashions. They were minimal, light, and left the foot almost bare. Although high heels are considered to be a 16thcentury invention, already in ancient Greece women tried to make themselves taller by attaching cork sole to the leather sole. For travel or warfare, men wore fitted shoes – ankle-high or mid-calf length -and boots that either laced up or stayed on the foot with the help of a criss-cross thong at the toe.
Hats and head-dresses
Headgear came in different shapes and styles. There were several variations of a cone-shaped hat. The bonnet was another known style. The pilos was a brimless skull cap made from felt or wool. Women wore scarves, wrapped around the head. The saccus featured a tassel at the back as well as nets or snoods to hold the hair back. The petasos was made of woven straw. It featured a brim that could be turned up or down, and could also be fastened at the neck by a ribbon.
Hair styles for men and women were initially similar. In the early ages men wore their hair fussy with curls forming a crown around the forehead or braids wound around the head. But styles eventually were simplified and long hair became acceptable only for the elderly male, young men or boys.
Hair styles were known by names: the kepos was unkempt, the Hectorean style involved cutting and combing the hair backward into curls, and the Theseid featured strands of hair worn short at the forehead while the rest hung down longer at the back of the neck.
Young girls let their hair fall freely. Older women wore their hair long and let it fall loose over the shoulders. They could also wear their hair parted in the middle, waved, and scraped back so as to expose the ears. Sometimes, three or four strands, or spiral curls, were sectioned from the rest of the hair and styled so they hung down over the forehead while the rest of the hair hung down loosely at the back. Bands, ribbons, diadems, or strings of pearls added sophistication to hairdos.
Beauty and grooming
Make-up was used by most women. It consisted in applying a white base color to the face, rouge to the cheekbones, and painting one’s lips. The base color was often made of lead, which could have fatal consequences, while the rouge was made from vermilion or vegetables. Women would also use eye make-up, which involved Egyptian kohl and shadows in different colors. Eyebrows were groomed and, painted black.
Perfumes were very popular, especially the essences of violet, mint, myrrh, marjoram, and thyme. The Greeks often applied different scents to different body areas.
Women conditioned their skin on a daily basis, used depilatories to remove body hair, and used different concoctions on both their face and body.
Good physical shape was important for both sexes, although only men were allowed in the palestra – a complex devoted to exercise.