From the Skin Out...
Or
Oh, my God, its 1404 and I have nothing to wear!

When Adam first walked in the Garden of Eden, he did so without a stitch of clothing, blissfully unaware that this was, in fact, wrong. Because nobody had told him so, that's why. Ignorance is indeed bliss, no?



When he first covered himself, the Lord knew something was up, and waxed wrathful, and asked some very pointed questions about certain fruit, and certain knowledge, and the like, the answers to which led in the end to the swift and summary eviction of both Adam and Eve from the garden in no uncertain terms. Angel's with fiery swords are not the most subtle creatures of the Lord, after all. It's the fiery sword that does it, I'm sure.



Ever since that, through all the rise of civilization, man has clothed himself. Sometimes simply, and sometimes with great abandon.

Herein I will be covering what one should be using for covering in our period. I'm trying to operate from sources from either in or reasonably near our period, which are all cited in the bibliography, with dates where I can provide them.

At the moment this is in the nature of an ongoing project. There will be more images and information as time goes on, right now it's a little sketchy in places, but I hope to be adding stuff fairly regularly. If you have any questions drop me a line at sproctor@pobox.com.

Men's Wear
Underwear | Hose | Shirt | Tunics | Cottes | Over tunics | Surcottes | Houpellandes | Head Coverings | Accessories


Women's Wear
Underwear | Hose | Chemise | Cottes | Surcottes | Houpellandes | Head Coverings | Accessories


For the gentlemenů

Underwear:

Made of linen, and I've never seen then in any other color than white. I personally tend to use a light colored natural linen for these, as I don't see the point in wasting good bleached linen for the purpose. There's one reference to a pair of long braies that have gold embroidery on them but it's Christ that's wearing them, so it may have been more allegorical than practical. Boxers or Briefs? See below...

Long Braies:

These are a mid thigh length 'boxer' style of drawers, done at the waist with a drawstring, and are the most commonly seen types of braies for the period. They may worn when one is going to be wearing chausses (see below) and may have a tie/loop/slit at the hip to attach the chausses to. The enormous baggy braies that one sees in earlier illuminations are out of fashion by our time period, and are only seen in illuminations in reference to historical persons/situations.


Short Braies:

These are more a 'briefs' style of drawers, again done with a drawstring or ties at the waist. They are most commonly seen on people at work in some fashion or another, so there's a possibility that these are not a sperate style, but actually a rolled up pair of the longer braies. The jury is still out, but on the whole I'd say unless you're wearing full hose to stick with the longer braies.


Images
Theoretical pattern for long braies


Hose:

Either of linen or of wool, solid color or parti, almost any color available. Both styles may have leather 'soles' making it unnecessary to actually wear shoes, at least indoors. I can't, at this time, find a good period source which shows how these are worn, so some of the following is conjecture. For parti coloring the most common style seen is one leg in each color, splitting the leg or quartering them seems to be a later period style.

Chausses (split hose):

Split hose, either with a stirrup or feet, like very long socks. I've seen these done two ways, one where the back comes to just below the butt, and the front to the hip level, or where the inseam comes to crotch level and the outseam to hip level. Both have ties that fasten either to the braies, or to a belt worn for that purpose (apparently called a braesgirdle by the English...). These are usually worn with a garment that is at least knee length. They can be rolled down to the knee in very warm weather, thought this seems to be a working man's style, and not a habit of the nobles. They may also be worn over a pair of hose for warmth in cold weather.


Images


Hose:

Joined footed hose, with a fixed waistband, or they can attach directly to the purpoint, though this style, which will be come normal, is a bit avant garde at the moment. These have a solid back, and a opening and codpiece flap (and just a flap, not a whole huge codpiece thing, that's much later) at the front. These are usually worn with shorter garments, and can be worn under a pair of chausses for additional warmth in very cold weather.


Images


Shirt:

Linen, and again, I've never seen any color other than white. This is a basic shirt, straight body, straight sleeves, not the later ruffled or gathered shirt. Usually about mid thigh length, though it can be shorter, open at the cuff with no drawstring or button with the opening should be large enough to get your hand through. It's seen most often with a triangle style neck opening ending anywhere from the middle to the bottom of the breastbone, and can have fairly deep slits up the side.

Images


Primary Garments:

These have a bit of a wider range of fabric choices that the under pieces that we've been discussing so far. The basic choices of linen and wool still apply, of course, but silk may also be used at this point, in moderation and with consideration to your station. The construction tends to be a bit more intricate, and closures are sometimes added to gain a more fitted look. These may either be worn by themselves or form the basis of a more complete suit of clothes with the addition of secondary garments.

Tunics:

The basic garment of the medieval period, they are seen until well into the 1600's. This is a good place to start for a basic kit garment, as it's fairly loose fitting, no buttons or buttonholes required, and thus is fairly easy to construct in a period fashion. If can be as short as mid thigh, and as long as mid calf, though it usually rides just above to just below the knee. This may be worn as a stand alone garment, under another tunic or houpellande, or over a cote.


Images


Cotes:

The other base garment of our period, these can be either the standard type or the grand aissiette style, as both were in use in the period, though the grand aissiette is fading out, and less commonly seen. This is a fitted garment, with tight sleeves and a collar. It buttons up the front (from collar to hem) and at the sleeves (from cuff to elbow at least, sometimes a bit further), the number and closeness of the buttons being variable, but usually fairly high. This may be worn either as a stand alone garment (though this seems to be a little old fashioned by our time period...) or under another cotehardie or a houpellande.


Images


Secondary Garments:

Garments worn over other garments, either for style or for warmth. These often display the highest degree of extravagance, in both fabric choice and cut. Fabric choices here are limited only by what is period. Linen, wool, silk, in plain weaves, velvets, jaquards and brocades. Whatever the purse will bear.

Over Tunics:

Over tunics are not all that common, as far as I can tell, and seems to be a style worn more by the working class than anyone else in our period. I've found a few of them as large sleeve over garments in the Livre de la Chasse, being worn by huntsmen, and there are some instances of it elsewhere, but it's not widespread practice. None the less it does happen, and it's not a bad way to keep your cote clean.


Images


Surcotes:

Usually seen as a garment with a fitted body and extravagant sleeves, either buttoned up the front, or laced, which seems to be quite popular for the period. Grand Assiette sleeve styles are also quite commonly seen.


Images


Houpellandes:

The most common over garment for men in the period. I've divided the images I have into 'full' houpellandes (floor length, fullest sort of body, large sleeves) and 'small' houpellandes (calf and knee length, smaller sleeves)


Full Houpellande Images
Small Houpellande Images


Head Coverings:



For the most part during the period a man did not do without some sort of covering for his head. Whether he actually wore it on his head or not is another story, but an outfit is not complete without some sort of head covering.

Coifs:

These were nearly ubiquitous in the 1360-1380 period, and even earlier. By our time they seem to be out of constant fashion, but they are still seen worn from time to time, especially, it seems, but scholars and old men, and other 'conservative' types.


Images


Hoods:

By far the most common headgear seen in our period, worn by itself or in conjunction with some other hat. For men it's the over the head variety, with a liripipe. These are frequently seen worn thrown over the shoulder with the liripipe tucked into the belt to hold it on. It is also seen worn with the head covering part of the hood rolled up and worn on top of the head as a sort of proto-chaperone.


Images


Hats:

These range from arrangements of rolled up hoods to structured hats, some of which can be rather odd. Hats are frequently worn in combination with hoods.


Images


Accessories:

All those little bits that really make an outfit.

Belt:

Usually leather, frequently seen with metal fittings, buckle and tip. Usually worn longer that necessary, with the tail either left hanging or looped back up through the belt. Also sometimes seen is a metal plaque style belt, worn on the hips. This is covered in greater detail in the 'Jewelry' section


Images


Purse:

Leather or cloth, ranging from the simple to to the heavily decorated. There are two or three common shapes seen frequently through the period.


Images


Shoes:

Leather. Ranging from simple slipper type shoes with to elaborate cut-work pieces with straps and buckles. The toes are always pointed, ranging from fairly short (2-3 inches beyond the end of the actual foot) to extremely long (6-8 inches beyond the end of the actual foot).


Images


Boots:

Leather. These come in two lengths, one a sort of half way up the calf length, which is quite commonly seen, and one all the way up the leg, which is usually only seen on huntsmen and riding travelers. Toes on the short boots may be round or have a slight point, toes on the tall boots should be slightly pointed, but not more than slightly.


Images


Pattens:

Wooden soles, worn to protect the shoes (and the feet). I can't find a single image of them being used in the period. There are however extant examples of them, dating from the period.


Images

Jewelry

Judging by the images I've gone through, the men of the period wore very little in the way of jewelry. Kings wore crowns, of course, but only the kings. The most frequently seen pieces are collar chains, and plaque belts, sometimes with bells hanging off of them. Occasionally seen is a cold or jeweled broach on a hat. Despite the lack of images we know that rings were frequently worn by those that could afford them.


Images


For the Ladies...

Underwear:

This is actually a bit of a mystery. I am assured by several ladies that there MUST have been some sort of breast support garment and underpants under the chemise. I am equally assured that there needn't have been any at all. I can find no documentary evidence in my researches of the period that argues for, though I have found some that argues against. There is also some thought that the fitting of the cote provided breast support, though again I can't say for sure. On the whole, I'd say it's probably more period overall to go without.

Hose:

Wool or linen, as far as I can tell they were gartered at the knee, and didn't rise above that. There is some evidence that they may not have been worn at all times. Given the attitudes of the time, images of hose (and shoes, as a point) are perilous hard to come by, so forgive the paucity of images...


Images


Chemise:

Linen, white. A simple chemise, in many ways the same as a man's shirt, only longer. Unlike the later Italian chemise, once the cote is on this layer is not seen at all, either at cuff or collar. Gores may be inserted in the sides, starting above the hips, for more fullness in the hip area.


Images


Primary Garments:

Linen and wool are still the basics. Silks, velvets and brocades if you're persona can afford it are acceptable. Any period color or combinations thereof are acceptable. These may either be worn by themselves or form the basis of a more complete suit of clothes with the addition of secondary garments.

Cotes:

The cote is the single most common article of clothing for women of the period, and indeed constitutes the only primary garment for women. It can be worn by itself as a stand alone garment, or combined with surcotes or houpellandes for a more formal outfit.


Images


Overgarments:

Garments worn over other garments, either for style or for warmth. These often display the highest degree of extravagance, in both fabric choice and cut. Fabric choices here are limited only by what is period. Linen, wool, silk, in plain weaves, velvets, jaquards and brocades. Whatever the purse will bear.

Surcotes:

Defined for the purposes of this article as any cote style garment worn over another cote. These usually have more extravagant sleeve treatments than the base cote, and are the most commonly seen overgarment for women in the period.
Images


Houpellandes:

For women these are not so common as for men. You see them frequently, but not so frequently as the surcote. They are worm belted high, generally just below the bust.


Images


Head Coverings:

A woman's hair is wicked, leads a man to distraction and sin. Therefore it is always to be covered, or very tightly arranged...

Veils

Ranging from simple veils to somewhat structured headpieces, these are the most common headcoverings seen in the period.
Images

Hats

There are a few examples of highly structured hats in the period, and a good many examples of padded roll type hats, which seemed quite popular. Hoods drop in popularity for the early part of the period, but become more commonly seen on women towards the end of it.
Images

Hair Styles

Usually a woman's hair is covered, by either a hat or a veil. Infrequently on sees a woman with her hair up in some tight arrangement, usually while working on something. Women wearing crowns (invariably queens) are also frequently seen with their hair arranged, as opposed to fully covered.
Images


Accessories:



Belt:

Leather, with metal fittings, buckle or tip. Occasionally seen in metal plaques, with or without fancy carving/casting and jeweling. This seems to be an uncommon item of clothing for women, who seem to go without it frequently when wearing cotes or surcotes. Wide versions are worn with houpellandes, buckled either in back or front.
Images


Purse:

Another thing that apparently women didn't use/wear a great deal. I've seen a couple of peasant women with the hip purse style pictured, but nothing else.
Images


Shoes:

OK, so I'm sure women wore them, as I can't imagine they were running around barefoot all the time, but given the fact that women's fashion for the period is a minimum of floor length, finding an image of them is difficult. Leather. Ranging from simple slipper type shoes with to elaborate cut-work pieces with straps and buckles. The toes are always pointed slightly.
Images


Pattens

Wooden soles, worn to protect the shoes (and the feet). I can't find a single image of them being used in manuscripts of the period.
Images




Bibliography:

Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365

Stella Mary Newton. Boydell Press, 1980. ISBN: 0 85115 125 6

Textiles and Clothing : Medieval Finds from Excavations in London, c.1150-c.1450

Elisabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard, Kay Staniland. Boydell Press, 2002. ISBN: 0 85115 840 4

Dress Accessories C.1150-C.1450: Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 3

Geoff Egan, Frances Pritchard, Justine Bayley, Mike Heyworth. Boydell Press, 2002. ISBN: 0 85115 839 0

Shoes and Pattens

Museum of London, Margrethe De Neergaard, Susan Mitford (Illustrator), Francis Grew. Boydell Press, 2002. ISBN: 0 85115 838 2

Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500

Sarah Thursfield. Quite Specific Media Group Ltd, 2002 ISBN: 0896762394

Cut My Cote

Dorothy K. Burnham. Royal Ontario Museum 1973. ISBN: 0888540469

Dress in the Middle Ages

Francoise Piponnier and Perrine Maine. Yale University Press, 1997. ISBN: 0-300-08691-1

The Performance of Self: Ritual, Clothing, and Identity During the Hundred Years War

Susan Crane. University of Pennsylvania Press, June 2002. ISBN: 081221806X

Images

Le Tres Riches Heures of Jean Duc de Berry:

Commentary by Jean Longnon & Raymond Cazelles. Published by George Brazillier Books, date unknown.

Images are available online at: http://christusrex.org/www2/berry/

Le Petite Heures of Jean Duc de Berry:

La Livre de la Chasse of Gaston Pheobus, Comte de Foix

(BNF Ms. Fr. 616): Published in facsimile as Das Jagbuch des Mittelalters. Commentary by Wilhelm Schlag and Marcel Thomas Akademische, 1994. This copy is one of four that were completed in Avignon in 1410.

Images are available online at: www.bnf.fr/enluminures/manuscrits/aman10.htm

La Livre de la Chasse of Gaston Pheobus, Comte de Foix

(Pierpoint Morgan Library): Images published as 'A Medieval Calendar' 2001. This is anotheof the ones completed in Avignon in 1410.

The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting in the Time of Jean, Duke of Berry:

Commentary by Marcel Thomas. George Braziller Books, 1979. Images used from this book include images from:

On the Properties of Things, Bartholomaeus Anglicus (Bartholomew the Englishman)

France, Le Mans 15th Century.

images are available on line at http://www.bnf.fr/enluminures/manuscrits/aman7.htm

La Belles Heures of Jean Duc de Berry:

Commentary by Millard Meiss and Elizabeth H. Beatson, published by George Braziller books, 1974. The Belles Heures first appears in an inventory note of the Duke de Berry's possessions in 1408-1409.

Des Cleres et Nobles Femmes, Boccaccio.

Commentary by Brigitte Buettner, published by College Art Association/University of Washington Press, 1996. This copy of Des Cleres et Nobles Femmes was presented to Philippe the Bold, Duc de Bourgogne in 1403.

The Bedford Hours

Commentary by Janet Backhouse, published by New Amsterdam Books, 1990. This book was completed by 1423, as a part of the celebration of the marriage of John, Duke of Bedford and Regent of France, and Anne de Bourgogne, Sister of Philippe, Duc de Bourgogne.

Grandes Chroniques de France

From a copy completed in 1380 (BNF Fr 2813).

Images available online at http://www.bnf.fr/enluminures/manuscrits/aman5.htm

Grandes Chroniques de France

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 73).

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100014

Bible Historiale, by Guiard de Moulins

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 3)

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100022

Bible Historiale, by Guiard de Moulins

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 9)

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100028

Bible Historiale, by Guiard de Moulins

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 10)

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100029

Tristen de Leonois

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 100)

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100081

Tristen de Leonois

From a copy completed in the early 1400's (BNF Fr 101)

Images available online at http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=08100082

Roman de la Rose

From the Ludwig XV 7 MS., completed in Paris, 1405

Roman de la Rose

From the MS. Douce 332 MS. c. 1380-1400



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