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The kyten (also spelled chiton) was a garment worn in Ancient Greece by both men and women. A kyten was made from a single piece of fabric, wrapped or pinned at one side to form a tubular shape that surrounded the body. They were typically homemade from rectangular pieces of linen, silk or wool and secured with buttons or pins (called fibulae), and belts.

Though it went through a few variations based on the region and century the basic idea remained the same.

Doric Kyten


There were two base forms of kyten; the Doric kyten and the Ionic kyten. The Doric style was sleeveless and was pinned or buttoned at the shoulders and sewn up one side. The Ionic kyten was much wider and was fastened with a series of pins or buttons that ran from the shoulder to the wrist, and was gathered and belted at the waist.

Ionic Kyten.


The best place to get supplies for your kyten is your local second hand store. They often have pretty decent selections of drapes or sheeting that can easily be turned into a kyten and really cool costume brooches that can be used to pin them.

Depending on the length of fabric that you get and what style you prefer, you can pin your fabric into either the Doric or Ionian styles, or if you like you can try another style known as a peplos. The main difference between the peplos and the Doric and Ionian kytens is that  the top of the fabric is folded over 12” – 18” before it is pinned and belted. Another thing to note is that the peplos is fastened with decorative straight pins and the kytens are fastened with fibula.

Silver fibula. 4th – 5th century BCE. Met Museum.

Once you have your kyten pinned in place you can belt it at the waist with a girdle. No, I’m not talking about the early 20th century undergarment. A girdle was a narrow strip of leather, embroidered cloth, or cord that was used the belt the kyten and was often wrapped around the chest and shoulders to control the fullness of the kyten. Depending on the length of the cording you use you can also use it to adjust the length of your kyten by tugging up the fabric to your preferred length and wrapping the girdle around the waist again to secure it. Some fancier variations of the girdle included metal links or plates stitched to the main belt. Soldiers often wore a wide metal or leather version of this about the waist called a zostir.

Tying a Zostir

After you’ve completed your kyten, you can also add a cloak or over-layer.

You could add a diplax, which is a square piece of fabric pinned at one shoulder. This garment was often worn by travelers or young males, but the goddess Artemis is sometimes shown to be wearing one as well.

Diana of Gabies. Louvre Museum.

You could also try a himation, which is made of a larger rectangle and wrapped around the shoulders like a cloak. Another variation of this would be the chamlys, which is a shorter version of the himation that is pinned at the shoulder that was often worn by hunters and soldiers.

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