A Look at Clothing in the 1300s

In the 1300s, clothing was largely determined by one's status, profession, and region. Commonly, a robe, tunic, or skirt was worn over a shirt or jacket. These garments were usually made of wool. Men could also wear a cape or hood.

Servants and workers wore skirts of varying lengths, sometimes even reaching the knee or calf. Women wore a robe (kåbe) with a belt just below their breasts. This robe was often quite voluminous with pleats and large sleeves. Colors were important, and more expensive dyes such as red and purple were reserved for royalty.

The lower classes had few items of clothing and often went barefoot, while the middle classes wore more layers that could have leather or silk ornaments. Most people in the Middle Ages wore woolen clothes, with underwear made of linen. Brighter colors, better materials, and a longer jacket were signs of greater wealth. The clothes of the aristocracy and wealthy merchants were often made and changed according to the dictates of fashion.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, men from the wealthy classes wore pants and a jacket, often with pleats or skirts, or a tunic with an overcoat.Women wore loose-fitting dresses and elaborate hats that ranged from headdresses with hearts or butterflies to tall hats with bell towers and Italian turbans. La houppelande was a garment similar to a robe from the late 14th century. Illuminations, xylographs, and other period works of art illustrate medieval people in bed in different outfits; some are naked, but others wear simple robes or shirts, others with sleeves.Dyes were common, so even lower-class peasants often wore colorful clothes. Benedict stated that the monks' clothes should be simple but comfortable and that they were allowed to wear linen bonnet to keep their heads warm.Sumptuary laws restricted ordinary people in their spending, including the money they spent on clothes, which affected medieval fashion.

Attractive clothing became more available and affordable, and the emerging middle class began to emulate the styles of the elite.Limits were placed on things such as the amount of expensive imported materials like leathers and silks, and the lower classes could be punished for wearing certain styles of clothing or using certain materials. In addition, for everyone except for the upper classes, clothing was considered along with other personal effects to decide the amount of taxes they should pay.The big difference was in the materials used in the construction of clothing: luxurious fabrics such as velvet, damask and silk. The recovery was slow but from this difficult time new changes emerged in the economy, society and clothing.The innermost layer of a woman's clothing was a linen or wool shirt, shirt, or robe; some fitted the figure while others had loose-fitting garments.

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