A tunic worn by the Greek
s in the Archaic period
, a time around the 5th century B.C.
when Greek fashion was beginning to develop its own style. The chiton was standard dress for both men and women; the women and older men wore it to the ankles while the young men's garment was considerably shorter, resting at the knees. Both variants were woven to fit the individual and would have measured twice the distance from elbow to elbow across.
The chiton was a rectangular-shaped, home-woven linen or cotton sheet, folded and pinned by fibulae - decorated pins, similar to but larger than the modern safety pin. It may have featured pleats and/or decorated borders, and would have been dyed red, blue, purple, (vaguely) white or saffron. The chiton was worn either alone or under another chiton or himation.
A commonly worn garment was the doric chiton, a dress very similar to the tighter peplos of earlier times. The top half of the sheet would be folded down to the centre, creating an overfold referred to as the apotygma, and wrapped around the body so that an opening would be formed at the side. It was then pinned together here and at the shoulders, though men would leave one shoulder bare while working. Spartan women were known to leave a large part of the open side unpinned; this fashion earned them a nickname meaning "showing her bare thigh". A girdle of woven material or leather would be passed around the waist either under or on top of the apotygma.
Another variant was the ionic chiton, a finely woven, lightweight, possibly translucent dress worn by sophisticated women. Its length was the same as that of the doric, but it was wider and thus looser. It lacked an apotygma and was fastened with many fibulae along the top edge, forming sleeves when a girdle was tied round the waist. If the woman wished for more freedom around the arm area, the girdle could be passed over the shoulders, crossed over the back and tied at the front, pulling the sleeves up and thus freeing the arms. The length of the chiton could be adjusted by pulling some of the sheet over the girdle in a kolpos fold, which may have been girdled as well.