In the Middle Ages, clothing was essential to identify a person's place in the world. Medieval people were very good at reading the meaning of fashion, which is reflected in the painted pages of illuminated manuscripts. Most people in the Middle Ages wore woolen clothes, with underwear made of linen. Brighter colors, better materials, and a longer jacket used to be sighs of greater wealth.
The clothes of the aristocracy and wealthy merchants used to be 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. The women wore loose-fitting dresses and elaborate hats, which ranged from headdresses with hearts or butterflies to tall hats with bell towers and Italian turbans. Social status was of crucial importance during medieval times and could be exemplified through clothing.
As a result, the upper classes protected their clothing styles by law, so that the lower classes could not attempt to progress by dressing “above their position”. In the early Middle Ages, clothing used to be simple and, particularly in the case of lower-class people, it only performed basic utilitarian functions, such as modesty and protection from the elements. Among the peasants, the women of the family generally sheared the wool of the sheep and the women of the family spun it into the thread of the fabric. Limits were placed on things such as the amount of expensive imported materials, such as leathers and silks, and the lower classes could be punished for wearing certain styles of clothing or using certain materials.
The most expensive garments were usually characterized by their superior use of materials and cuts rather than by their design. These sumptuary laws distinguished social categories and made members of each class easily distinguished by their clothing. The clothing and fashion of the Middle Ages, including medieval dresses, like everything else, were dictated by the Pyramid of Power, which was the feudal system of the Middle Ages. Clothing was very expensive, and both men and women from the lower social classes continued to divide social classes by regulating the colors and styles that these diverse social classes were allowed to wear.
While clothing from the early Middle Ages was normally functional, even among the least wealthy, it became an indicator of status, wealth and occupation until the Renaissance, and its importance was reflected in events such as the “sumptuary laws” that prohibited the lower classes from dressing above their social position. These tights were cut with velvet, silk or wool fabric in four sections and extended from the foot to the upper part of the thigh, where they were fastened by stitches (laces with metal ends at the ends) to the lower edge of the tunic. They were referring to workers who were provided with work clothes by their employer as part of their salary. During the rest of the medieval period, men wore tight, modern clothing, such as the fitted tunic, which was cut into four sections that were sewn in the center of the back and on the sides and fastened with buttons in the central part of the front.
Benedict stated that the monks' clothes should be simple but comfortable and that they were allowed to wear linen headwear to keep their heads warm. For several peoples that lived in England, the Anglo-Saxons, the Anglo-Saxons, the Anglo-Danes, the Normans and the British, clothing in medieval times differed greatly for men and women, as well as for the different classes of the social hierarchy. The import of luxurious fabrics increased during the period and their use expanded somewhat, but clothing remained very expensive. Medieval fashion during the Middle Ages was dominated and heavily influenced by the kings and queens of the time.
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