What Was Medieval Clothing Like?

The Middle Ages saw a great shift in clothing styles, from the simple garments of the early medieval period to the more elaborate and luxurious clothing of the late medieval period. In the 5th century, basic garments such as robes, hose, skirts, dresses, belts, overcoats, girdles, capes, hoods and bonnets were worn. The wealthiest people wore fabrics such as silk and fine linen, while the lower classes wore wool and thicker linen. Skirts became increasingly popular during this period and eventually replaced petticoats.

Headdresses in various forms were also an important element of fashion. Women wore long robes or robes with fitted cuts to the body, long skirts and long flared sleeves. Capes went from being square or triangular wool garments fastened with pins or clasps chained on one shoulder to garments that wrapped around the head and reached below the knee. Luxurious details such as embroidery, stitched gold, silver or copper wire trims, tiered fabrics in narrow colors and leather trims were added to capes.

If real fur was not available, skilled Anglo-Saxon housewives could create a loop fabric on their looms that resembled leather or fleece. Hoods were either individual objects or an integral part of the cape. Men wore knee-length robes for almost every activity and those from the upper classes wore long robes with hoses and cloaks or capes. At the end of the Middle Ages, a garment called a shin was introduced in England which was made of a linen cloth that covered the throat and was fastened under the veil.

The most flamboyant clothing of this period was the revealing double sand hose from Italy. Men were also allowed to wear pants for the first time in this period. Wool was the main material used for all medieval garments but those of higher social status had access to silk for decorative purposes. People strived to be fashionable in their environment during this period, especially women, and terms such as “outdated” began to be used to describe people who wore clothing from another era.

Medieval costumes were mainly divided into those worn by royalty, nobility, clergy and peasantry. SPES offers high-quality medieval clothing that is in line with original historic men's fashion as well as professional customer service.

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