Highlights of Medieval Fashion

In the Medieval period (11th-13th centuries), a wide range of fashions were seen.  From soft and widespread and brought about clear boundaries between upper class nobility and lower class peasants.  The styles established during this time also gave rise to fashions of later eras.

Medieval Shirts: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/men-s-clothing-shirts-and-tunics.html

For the commoner in the Medieval period, clothing crafted from wool or linen was the norm.  For the nobility, tailored garments were the way to go, often with silk and richly ornamented decoration.  There was really no question as to which class one belonged.  The more complex and the more expensive the attire, the higher the social status.  Longer jackets were also a representation of nobility.

Medieval Armor: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/armor-medieval-armor.html

Another factor in Medieval fashion was religion.  Religious orders wore woolen garments that were similar to the Roman clothing style that had come before.  Clothing color was defining of religious affiliation.  Black was indicative of the Benedictines while undyed wool or white was representative of the Cistercians.  In addition, symbols seen on garments helped to categorize religious orders.

Noble’s Medieval Shirt:

Noble's Medieval Shirt

The tunic was a central article of clothing during the Middle Ages and was worn by both men and women.  These pieces were wool and at the start of the period, tunics reached to the waist and by the end of the 13th century, they had extended in length.  Tunics worn by women were called kirtles and were layered with a shorter kirtle over the longer one to keep appearance modest.  Another aspect of women’s style was their hair.  There was a clear differentiation between married women who wore their hair in a bun with a tight cap in contrast to unmarried women who let their hair hang loose or in braids, sometimes with a veil.

Long Medieval Tunic:

Long Medieval Tunic

A distinguishing element of Medieval fashion was that of the knights and barbarians.  Knights sported sleeveless surcoats with a coat of arms.  And of course, in battle, these fighters wore full suits of armor.  Leather was sometimes worn by knights too, especially those of nobility.  During this time, barbarian nomads were also roaming about and they were spotted wearing clothing of wool, fur, and occasionally raw animal hide.

Indeed, the Medieval period had many looks and an eclectic assortment of styles.  To see our collection of clothing from the Middle Ages, stop on by:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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