What Was Clothing Like in Medieval Times?

Clothing in the Middle Ages was worn out of necessity, comfort, and exhibition. While most peasant women knitted their fabrics and then made their own clothes, wealthy women could afford tailors, furthers and embroiderers. The richest, like royalty, had all these artisans on staff, sometimes one for every adult in the house. Men wore long tights or tights made of wool or linen that reached or just above the knee and that were secured to the belt of their drawers.

Women's tights were shorter and were fastened with a garter that was worn below the knee. Some socks ended in a footboard, while those that completely covered the foot could have a leather sole added. The tights can also be padded to create a pronounced and modern point on the toes. Men wore tights (tights) and tunics.

The nobles wore tunics or jackets with tights, leggings and breeches. The rich also wore furs and jewelry. 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. The simplest forms of medieval clothing appeared in the early medieval period, in the 5th century.

As already mentioned, there was no such distinction between the general style of clothing of different classes, except in terms of cut and materials. Among the peasants, the women of the family generally sheared the wool of the sheep and the women of the family spun it to make the yarn of the cloth. This meant that clothes in medieval times itchy, were difficult to wash and dry, and were very hot in summer. This began when different experiments with different types of medieval clothing were used to dress a given individual.

There were some very significant changes in medieval clothing starting in 1100 during the period of Norman rule. Dyes were common, so even lower-class peasants often wore colorful clothes. The clothes of the aristocracy and wealthy merchants were often made and changed according to the dictates of fashion. Silk was also discovered in this early medieval period, however, it was a very expensive material to use and was only among the richest, for decorative purposes, mainly for decorating medieval clothing.

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). New types of medieval clothing would also protect them from hot, cold or humid weather making medieval people happier overall. King Edward III passed sumptuary laws to regulate dress of different classes of English people as well as promote English dress and preserve class distinctions through disguise, clothing and dress.

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