How Did Jews Dress in Ancient Times?

Did you know that the way Jews dressed in ancient times varied greatly depending on their location, occupation, and social status? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of Jewish fashion from biblical times to the end of the Second Temple period.

Clothing in Biblical Times

In biblical times, clothing was primarily made of wool or linen. Men wore tunics that reached their knees and were belted at the waist.

Women wore long dresses with sleeves that covered their elbows. Both men and women wore sandals made of leather.

Head Coverings

Jewish men typically covered their heads with a turban or a cloth called a tallit. The tallit is worn during prayer and has fringes called tzitzit on its corners. Women covered their heads with veils or shawls.


Jewelry was also a significant part of Jewish fashion in ancient times. Women wore necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made of gold or silver. Men also wore jewelry such as earrings and rings.

Clothing During the Second Temple Period

During the Second Temple period, which lasted from 515 BCE to 70 CE, Jewish clothing became more diverse due to increased interaction with other cultures. Wealthy Jews dressed in fine linen and silk garments decorated with embroidery and jewels.

Pharisees vs. Sadducees

The Pharisees were a sect of Judaism known for their strict adherence to Jewish law. They dressed modestly in simple clothing to show their devotion to God. The Sadducees were a wealthier sect who dressed in expensive clothing to display their status.

The High Priest’s Garments

The High Priest was responsible for performing sacrifices in the Temple, so his garments were significant in Jewish culture. His robe was made of blue fabric with pomegranates and bells attached to the hem. He also wore a breastplate with twelve precious stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.


Jewish fashion in ancient times was diverse and reflected the social, economic, and religious status of the wearer. From simple tunics to elaborate robes, clothing played an essential role in Jewish culture. Understanding how Jews dressed in ancient times can provide valuable insight into their way of life and traditions.