The early medieval period does not have as much variation in the female dress as the later periods, but it does have some beautiful garments. It is interesting to see the female dress go from simple cotes and mantles over the elaborerte wide sleeved bliaut in the 1100’s and back to simpler cotes and cyclas in the 1200’s.
My personal favourite is the 1200’s fashion. If I didn’t have any restriction on which period to create a dress for that is the style I would go for. It just seem so comfortable and lovely.
A number of different styles were worn throughout the century. Any of these styles could be topped by a padded roll, sometimes arranged in a heart-shape, or a veil, or both. Veils were supported by wire frames that exaggerated the shape and were variously draped from the back of the headdress or covered the forehead.
Nobel headgear became quite elaborate during the period – we have all see the “princess hats” which were actually worn for a period of time. Some are very high, other very wide and some gives really different head shapes. Married women would generally always wear something on their heads when out in public. Women are almost always shown to have their hair styled in some way even in pictures of them dressing or bathing. Both men and women would wear hoods with long tails called a liripipe (studshætte).
This is a post about my research about male underwear during the middle ages and renaissance. It is mostly a photo reference post. At the end there is a list of neat links.
Women wore a number of layers of clothing nearest the skin was the chemise or shift. She would also wear stocking. Some new sources show that at least some women wore clothing with sown breast support.
While the fashion of the nobles changed quite a lot between 1000 and 1550, the clothing of the common people, particularly the peasants, changed but slowly. There were however changes both the the male and female dress. This post is mostly peasants and workmen and other country dwellers. I think I will do a separate post on artisans, craftsmen, merchants and other city dwellers. My focus here is on Northern Europe.