What were coats made of in medieval times?

Wool, linen and silk continued to be used, as was leather, which peasants used for their robes and cloaks and left their hair turned out. Garments were also embroidered during this time. Capes in the Middle Ages were mainly made of wool. Wool was a good way to protect yourself from the cold and was generally available locally.

Although the rich and the poor wore woolen capes, the rich had a greater selection of fabrics, colors, and clothing styles. This was especially the case after 1200 AD, when trade flourished thanks to increased stability between European cities. Around 1250, tunics for men and women were cut with a wide upper sleeve. Most men, except the elderly, preferred short robes.

Usually, the capes were fastened with a rope on the shoulder. A variety of loose-fitting overcoats were also popular, and these had sleeves with two openings, allowing them to be hung loosely, like the college gowns based on them and which are still seen today. Women's braids are wrapped in a bun in each ear, sometimes covered with a net, and the flat headband is held in place by a veil or “bar” drawn very close to the chin. Probably the most popular fur in Europe in the 14th and early 15th centuries came from the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).

It is a different species than the Eastern gray squirrel (or “city squirrel”, as I like to call it; Sciurus carolinensis). At the end of the 14th century, intrepid merchants, such as those in the Hanseatic League, had a booming business importing red squirrel skins to England and the continent from Scandinavia and Russia. This Baltic squirrel was prized for its lush but short fur, which formed an exceptionally thin lining for all types of clothing. Of greater value was the part of the belly, which became delicately white as snow during the winter, the most desirable season, by far, for the fur trade.

Animal fur is always thicker and silkier at that time. Cotton wasn't particularly popular in medieval times because the plant had problems growing in cold climates. During the rest of the medieval period, men wore tight, modern clothing, such as the fitted tunic, which was cut into four sections sewn in the center of the back and on the sides and fastened with buttons in the center of the front. To ignore it is to voluntarily reject a considerable part of the knowledge about medieval historical clothing.

Noble women wore elegant dresses, especially at court and at social events such as the medieval tournament. The bright colors and rich decorations created striking medieval clothing, at least among the rich, although there was a surprising similarity in the clothing of the different social classes and genders. Illuminations, xylographs and other period works of art illustrate medieval people in bed in different outfits. The many types of synthetic and blended fabrics that people use today simply weren't available in medieval times.

Fur was an obvious way of improving insulation and providing decorative ornaments; the most common were rabbit, lambskin, beaver, fox, otter, squirrel, ermine and sabre (the latter three became a standard background design in medieval heraldry, such was their common use). The most popular materials for medieval cloaks were wool, silk (taffeta, damask and velvet, only for the rich), linen and leather. With a little luck, future historians will discover the treasure trove of facts about medieval clothing and share their riches with the rest of us. In early medieval Europe, fur was common, but thanks in part to the use of animal skins by barbarian cultures, it was considered too rude to be used in public.

Medieval Britain explores castles, cities and medieval life in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Throughout medieval times, but especially in the late Middle Ages, laws were passed to regulate what members of different social classes could and could not wear. Cotton doesn't grow well in colder climates, so its use in medieval garments was less common in Northern Europe than wool or linen. Because linen was more expensive than wool, it is considered to be the second most popular type of medieval fabric.

Part 1 — Medieval Fashion Part 2 — Tudor and Stuart Fashion Part 3 — Georgian Fashion Part 4 — Victorian Fashion up to the 1960s. .

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