Toga tutorial

With Melville’s first toga party in over six years pending (Saturday August 1 from 6pm, entry $5, or $40 if not wearing a toga) we invited Gower Park fashionista Ron Hemline to background the art of looking cool at a toga party.

In the following article Hemline, addresses everything you’ve always wanted to know about toga parties but have been afraid to ask…

The concept behind the Melville toga party is not so much to reference the legendarily profligate and decadent parties held in Ancient Rome, but to celebrate the club’s recovery from the Covid lockdown with an assortment of drinks, music, games, and food.

To help club members bring their A game to Toga night on August 2, here are a few notes to prime your creativity.

Toga parties have become a fun ritual these days as a way for people to dress up, expose skin, and drink because, well, that’s what you do at a Toga party!

In these straitened post-Covid times it is also an easy theme, because all that is required is a bed sheet in order to participate.

While the ancient toga was worn over a linen tunic, attendees at Melville toga parties usually settle for wearing a strategically-draped bedsheet, while in the case of female attendees, jewellery like bracelets and necklaces is also common.

Sandals – normally considered uncool – suddenly become fashionable especially if you have gladiator sandals that lace up. They are the ultimate toga vibe.

And the laurel wreath is also a great headwear accessory. Ancient Greeks wore these wreaths to symbolise victory and glory. While the authentic versions of these headpieces were made from the leaves and branches of the laurel tree or olive tree, you can make your own rendition with a few basic craft supplies. Grab some ivy vine and some gold cord from Spotlight and get the glue out and you can have your very own emperor crown to fiddle with while Rome burns. Gold detail is never out of place. You may even want to sport an eye mask for a touch of intrigue.

One of the most common toga party questions is what should you wear under a toga?

In ancient Rome some people wore the subligaculum underneath around the loins. For example, men wore this garment under the tunica (shirt) or the toga, and women sometimes wore it under the stola. Though commonly women didn’t wear anything under a toga around the loins, so underwear is optional.

Today it’s best to just go with your own level of comfort – it’s not like you are trying for a Best Dressed Togo Award. (Oh, hang on, yes, there will be a best outfit award.)

In essence, not all togas are created equally. At Gower Park you are likely to find females who have taken the time to sew theirs together versus blokes from the Nobs who will have stripped the bedsheets and somehow still have their boxers hanging out (which it should be noted would be offensive to the entire Roman empire).

The great thing about a toga party is that it is relatively inexpensive in the greater realm of costume parties.

Most club members are pretty tight and prefer to wear togas which they have improvised out of the linen cupboard when nobody was looking, though you can still purchase commercially-produced togas if you are after something more tailored towards a revealing and form-fitting look.

Are coloured togas acceptable? Well, yes, but traditionally the darker toga was worn by mourners at funerals. However it is worth remembering that some of those dancing on the tables at the last Melville toga party were wearign colourful togas.

And if the first team have lost to Waitakere in the home match that afternoon, a black toga might be an acceptable option.

Finally, let’s have a good turnout. The Guinness World Record for the largest toga party took place in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Organised by the University of Queensland Union and the Queensland University of Technology Student Guild took place on February 24th 2012, with 3,700 participants.

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