Medieval Fashions

Tom Tierney

Wimple The 5th Century

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC.

Mineóla, New York

INTRODUCTION

The medieval era, or Middle Ages, is defined by historians as the period in western European history between the fall of Rome in the fifth century and the rise of the Renaissance in the mid-fifteenth century. The fifth through the eighth centuries have been called the Dark Ages. Fashions during this time, overall, continued to reflect the influences of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures.

The illustrations in this book begin with the Franco-Norman era of the Middle Ages when feudal society became well established. With the rise of the feudal system in the late 800s, style and extravagance of dress became a reflection of one's position in society. By the late 1400s, the cost of clothing and the lengths of items such as hoods, trains and shoes became regulated by sumptuary laws which remained in effect until the early sixteenth century.

Among the earliest articles of clothing from this time was a tunic with long sleeves called a bliaud. It was worn knee length by men and floor length by women. By the eleventh century, men wore the bliaud lengthened to the ankle. But at the end of the thirteenth century, the bliaud, then called a tunic, was worn by young men a mere few inches below the waist, which some people considered outrageously short.

The bliaud covered a chainse, or under-tunic, usually colored saffron yellow. Originally made of heavy wool, linen or hemp, the chainse eventually evolved into a piece of lingerie made of sheer, washable fabric. Another garment worn by men and women was the mantle, a luxuriant cloak fastened in front by a large brooch, buckle, or pin.

Increased trade with the Orient and Far East brought new dyes to Europe which were used to produce fabrics in brilliant shades of scarlet, green, blue and purple. While materials tended to be rich and heavy, embroidered or fur trimmed, at this point, delicate linens, embroideries, velvets, and sheer gauzes became available.

In the thirteenth century, the French weaver Batiste Chambray invented a closely woven, sheer fabric called batiste which inspired the creation of the surcoat. Based on the sleeveless, cloth covering worn over armor by knights to fend off the glare of the sun, the surcoat was adopted by both men and women as a replacement for the bliaud.

The woman's surcoat was now open at the sides to reveal a fitted dress with long buttoned sleeves called a cote-hardie. This style was vehemently frowned upon by the church as being too revealing. Men wore the cote-

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Copyright © 1998 by Tom Tierney

All rights reserved under Pan American and International Copyright Conventions.

Published in Canada by General Publishing Company, Ltd., 30 Lesmill Road, Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario.

Bibliographical Note

Medieval Fashions Coloring Book is a new work, first published by Dover Publications, Inc., in 1998.

dover ^Piffonai ^Archive series

This book belongs to the Dover Pictorial Archive Series. You may use the designs and illustrations for graphics and crafts applications, free and without special permission, provided that you include no more than ten in the same publication or project. (For permission for additional use, please write to Permissions Department, Dover Publications, Inc., 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, New York, 11501.)

However, republication or reproduction of any illustration by any other graphic service, whether it be in a book or in any other design resource, is strictly prohibited.

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Manufactured in the United States of America Dover Publications, Inc., 31 East 2nd Street, Mineola, N.Y. 11501

hardie too, cut shorter. Both men and women wore jeweled hip girdles, or belts.

In the fourteenth century, parti-colored clothes became the rage, first with men and then with women. Garments were divided into halves or quarters; each section was sewn from a contrasting color. Shoes and stockings were different colors as well.

By the fifteenth century, the surcoat began to disappear. Women wore a belted dress called la robe which had a long sleeved, fitted bodice joined to a full skirt. Men wore jackets that covered a quilted garment with or without sleeves called a pourpoint. Originally worn under armor, the pourpoint evolved into a vest.

For outerwear, women wore flowing capes which were lined with fur in winter. A popular men's cloak was the houppelande. A trailing robe with long bishop's sleeves, the houppelande was fastened in folds at the waist by a jeweled belt.

Sleeves became important, particularly on the surcoat and the houppelande. While some sleeves hung over the hand, others were dramatically longer, with openings at the elbows for arms to extend through. Another style of long sleeves was called the dogaline. The sleeve openings, the size of large circles, were folded back and fastened to the shoulders, revealing a rich fabric or fur lining.

Dagged edges, a petal-like scalloping, were popular decoration for all parts of clothing from hats to houppelandes; only stockings escaped this kind of embellishment. Small silver bells, favored ornaments for men and women, appeared on belts, girdles, baldrics (a belt or sash slung across the body from the shoulder to the opposite hip), hats and the toes of shoes.

Head coverings for men included skullcaps, helmets, peaked bonnets, and hats with rolled brims. Crusaders sometimes wore straw hats over their metal helmets to deflect the sun. By the eleventh century, soft fabric caps with peaked tops were in general use. Men also wore toques or bag caps. Full and round, they were gathered onto head-bands. Sugarloaf shaped hats made of felt were worn with and without brims. Feathers as hat ornaments first appeared in the medieval era; the peacock plume was most popular.

By the twelfth century, the chaperon, a hooded cape, became the most common headgear for men. While the hood remained in fashion through the sixteenth century with only nobles allowed to wear long hoods, during the fourteenth century, the peak of the hood lengthened into a liripipe. A streamer of gauze or ribbon which sometimes reached the floor, liripipes were also restricted to use by nobility. Over the years liripipes grew to such outrageous lengths that some men wrapped them around their wrists. Stuffed turbans, called roundlets were trimmed with liripipes too.

During the Middle Ages, the Christian church required that women cover their heads. The predominant head covering for women was a square, oblong, or round piece of fabric called a couvre-chef, also called a wimple or a headrail. In earlier centuries, the basic headrail was wrapped around a woman's neck and shoulders, held in place by a circlet or crown. Beginning in the twelfth century, the wimple became a longer length of fabric, usually white linen, which was drawn up under a woman's chin and fastened on top of her head. Over the wimple, women wore a separate couvre-chef which was held in place by a crown or circlet. Variations of these headdresses survived in many religious orders until the twentieth century. In the twelfth century, blonde hair was fashionable. Some women sat for hours on enclosed terraces waiting for the sun to bleach their tresses; others used false hair and cosmetics. During the thirteenth century women began to wear small, crownlike toques, a head-band and chin-band, all in white linen. In the fourteenth century the caul came into fashion. This style concealed a woman's hair in a silken case covered with a heavy net of jeweled silver or gold cord. Hair coverings varied widely, from a simple snoodlike net to cylindrical cauls worn on either side of the face, to a padded horn or heart-shaped headdress fastened over the caul. Women often wore sheer veils on top of the entire combination. They plucked the visible hair at the napes of their necks, at their temples and thinned their eyebrows.

In the fourteenth century, the hennin, or steeple headdress, was introduced by Isabella of Bavaria. A tall cone, it had a black velvet band across the top of the forehead. Always draped with a floating or wired veil, the height of the hennin became so extravagant that the authorities imposed regulations here too. The higher the hennin, the more exalted a person's place in society.

The chin-band came into style during the fifteenth century. A folded white linen wrapped under a woman's chin, fastening to a band around her forehead. In another style of head covering, a stiffened head-band was shaped into a low toque or crown-like headdress.

Men and women wore similar soft leather or fabric shoes with elongated toes. These low cut shoes buttoned or tied at the ankle. Soft and pliable, they were made of velvet or gold cloth and decorated with embroidery, strips of gold, and gems. One men's style, the poulaine, had pointed toes which became so long that they had to be stuffed to hold their shapes. Eventually the exaggerated toes were held up by fine chains attached to the knees. Also called a poulaine was a clog or patten made of wood, which was worn to protect the soft soles of shoes.

Men wore fitted and sewn stockings or tights. Made of bias cut material, they were decorated with jeweled garters. Stockings, held up at the waist with a belt or tie, were cross-gartered on the lower leg with bands of fabric or soft leather.

Heavy chains and jeweled belts were popular accessories among wealthy people who used them to carry pouches, purses, and daggers set with precious stones.

Medieval Pourpoint Dress

Ninth-century Nobility

Left: The Frankish noblewoman wears a mantle over a Norman noblewoman is wearing a mantle, bliaud, and mail girdle with mail sleeves over a bliaud. Right: The chainse.

Ninth-century Minstrel and Frankish Lady Left: The man is wearing a bliaud over cross-gartered mantle over her bliaud. Her plaited braids are decorated tights. Right: The lady wears an embroidery-edged with metal tips and a couvre-chef.

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  • Ameera
    Why did they use mantle pins?
    9 years ago
  • mantissa
    What is a cut & tied sleeve called?
    9 years ago
  • angelika
    What were the medieval headbands called that the women wore?
    9 years ago
  • ari-pekka inberg
    What are pointy medeval style sleeves called?
    9 years ago
  • marina
    What century were circlets and waist chain belts used in?
    9 years ago
  • victoria
    What fabrics and colors were the head dresses called wimples made from?
    9 years ago
  • Joe
    What is a medieval head covering called?
    9 years ago
  • Hyiab
    What were the dresses called that the women wore during the renaissance and medieval times?
    9 years ago
  • Posco
    What is the dress called that is medieval with the long sleeves?
    9 years ago

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