10 Job Titles That Have Been Around for 2,000 Years

Tailors must have been very busy creating the garments for this Roman wedding from antiquity. © Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis

Many of us living today have no experience with a professional tailor, as we purchase mass-produced clothing or, possibly, sew our own. Yet tailors are everywhere, as they have been for ages. Tailors design, cut, fit and sew clothing.

Tailors can be found in the earliest societies. In ancient Rome, for example, tailors belonged to trade guilds, which means tailoring must have been a substantial industry. Slaves were also trained as tailors. While the garments worn back then were rather simple — think togas and tunics — the way you dressed indicated your status, thus skilled tailors were valuable [source: Roman Empire]. One ancient drawing showed a tailor selling goods from sample cards. Tailors also cleaned and pressed togas for customers — a common task in a dirty city where people wore white flowing robes.

Today, tailors (also called dressmakers, custom sewers and seamstresses) might have their own business, or work in a retail shop or boutique, for a clothing manufacturer or for fashion designers and patternmakers. Although no specific degree is required, professional tailors must be skilled in sewing, patternmaking and fashion design.

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