Lesson #19: How to Look Great at a Toga Party

by Rachel on August 30, 2010

Toga parties are the quintessential Greek party, during which each sorostitute can demonstrate her own unique style while still dressing to match the overall theme.

I’ve gone to a couple toga parties, and that picture is from my last one, at Lambda Chi my senior year at Michigan State. I figured that toga parties end when college does, but fortunately, I was wrong! A few weeks ago, Eric told me about one happening in Houston at Mainstage. The whole idea was to wear a toga representing your alma mater.

Uh, I was all over that! Eric and I made plans for his Kansas State toga and my MSU toga and then hit up JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby for everything we’d need to make them a reality.

While I couldn’t tell you exactly how to construct a toga (it’s different every time), I can give you some tips!

  • Don’t use a bed sheet. I made my first toga out of a bed sheet, and it’s not easy. It’s doable, but not easy. You’re better off hitting a fabric store for a cut of fabric. Basic solids like this are cheap and show some personality. I used two yards for my toga and three yards for Eric’s.
  • Get a ton of safety pins. That’s the best way to keep it on.
  • Get yourself completely ready. Don’t start assembling your toga until your hair and makeup is mostly done. If it’s a little precariously fastened, you might have trouble blow drying in it.
  • Get a partner. You can do it alone, but usually it helps to have someone there to pin it in the back for you.
  • Visualize how you want it to look — the best thing to do is imagine a basic dress shape (halter, strapless, etc.) and then try to imitate it.
  • Once you’ve chosen a shape, start wrapping yourself in it, pinning along the way. For the strapless yellow toga above, I just wrapped the fabric around me sort of like a towel, and then pinned it shut in the front, all the way down. For my one-shoulder toga on Saturday, I started by tucking one corner into my bra band, then brought it over my shoulder, and started wrapping.
  • Don’t worry about the length when you’re making it. It will probably be too long at first; you can just cut off the bottom and pin it up to hem it as the final step.
  • Wear it like you’d wear a dress. It should fit pretty snugly and it should show off your best features. Too-baggy togas never look good — and they can leave you in danger of falling out.
  • Use a lot of accessories. Belts are great for cinching it, because you want it to have a nice waist. For the party on Saturday, I just used white rope to make a belt.
  • Pick a style for your accessories — this makes it more fun! The yellow toga was my total fashionista toga, but you can see how the other girls represented their personalities with their togas. I loved the lavender one with the pearl necklace. Even if everyone is in white togas, try to show some personality!
  • If you don’t know what else do to, go Greek! I love lots of traditional gold accents. For this party, we went to Hobby Lobby on a mission for the perfect supplies. I made a headband with gold leaves and made Eric a wreath for his head from silver leaves and two pipe cleaners. Just hot glue everything like your life depends on it.

See? Sometimes, fratting can continue, even after college! But lucky for me, this time I didn’t end up doing a Walk of Shame in a pretty-much-impossible-to-reassemble ball of fabric. Best of both worlds, if you ask me.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren @ Team Giles August 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I love it! You could make a paper bag look fantastic


2 Kendra August 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I love your headband!

I hope that someday I get an excuse to partake in a toga party since I went to a school with no greek system.


3 Becca August 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I was so excited for my first (and unfortunately only so far) toga party! I got some super fab, shiny, pink fabric and some silver rope from Joanne’s… and learned the difference between 3 feet and 3 yards… yikes! I definitely owned that toga though!


4 Becca August 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Scratch that, I bought 5 feet, not 3 feet. It wasn’t That scandalous…


5 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

What a perfect tutorial! I’m in a sorority and always avoided going to toga parties for the reason that I never knew how to do it. I have the perfect accessories for one too :)


6 Mel August 30, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Yay cute toga! One of my favorite college memories was a toga themed date party where I was dancing so much that my purple halter toga fell off/ slipped to the floor right in the middle of the dancefloor! my date used his toga “batman style” to cloak me while I put it back on. My guy friend and I always joke about it because our tipsy selves reacted so quickly, almost no one noticed! hah…should have used some safety pins!


7 Meghan B. August 31, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I’ve always loved your website but I love it more now that you’re dating a K-Stater. I judge people by their Alma Maters…I own it. ;)


8 Rachel August 31, 2010 at 3:16 pm

haha…I’m sending your comment to Eric, he’ll pee himself. (Probably purple.)


9 Rachel October 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

Haha, I was just going to make the same comment. I went to K-State as well and realized that I totally judge people by their Alma Maters too. So you both just got extra points in my book!


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