Women's clothing in the Middle Ages was a reflection of their social status and lifestyle. Working-class women wore ankle-length tunics with a belt at the waist, while those of higher classes wore velvets, leathers, silks, taffeta, cotton and lace. Tunics were the most popular garment of the time, and could be made from expensive fabrics and skillfully crafted for a high-class fashion. Women also wore veils, Schapels or medieval pillbox hats to complete their look.
To stay warm and protected from the elements, capes were a popular part of medieval fashion. When it comes to materials used to make clothing, people from the lower classes used wool, linen and sheepskin while those from the upper classes had access to more luxurious fabrics such as silk, velvet, silver and gold. Fur was also a popular choice for insulation and decoration. Rabbit, lambskin, beaver, fox, otter, squirrel, ermine and sabre were some of the most common furs used in medieval fashion.
Sophie Andrade recently graduated from the University of St Andrews with a master's degree in Medieval Studies. She explains that the medieval shape of silk and velvet cannot be compared to ours today (upholstery fabric is the best). The medieval period in England is usually classified as the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance, approximately between 410 and 1485 AD. Women's fashion in medieval times is important not only for academic study but also for anyone interested in the history of fashion.
It is important to distinguish between different social classes to have a clear idea of what women wore during this time. You can also find some modern shirts and dresses that have elements inspired by medieval clothing such as corset style evening dresses or loose-fitting tunics. Overall, women's clothing during medieval times was a reflection of their social status and lifestyle. Tunics were the most popular garment of the time and could be made from expensive fabrics for a high-class fashion.
Women also wore veils, Schapels or medieval pillbox hats to complete their look while capes were used for warmth and protection from the elements.
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