This week I am focusing in on the use of short sleeves and loose sleeves on dresses in the medieval/early renaissance period, particularly in the 1400’s, give or take a few years. It seems like unlike earlier periods it became common to have short sleeves on the outer dress with a shift or an underdress beneath it. I am mostly looking at this using visual source material, such as paintings and drawings. I am mostly interested in Northen Europe. I am aware that short sleeves is a thing earlier in southern Europe.
At the marked this weekend it came to my attention that I know quite a bit about the shapes of medieval and renæssance clothing but much less about the medieval fabric colours- both how they were used and how they were made – so I decided to educate my self and share what I learned in the process. I decided to investigate both the fabrics used and the colours and dyes.
In this post I take a closer look at the medieval use of colours and dyes. I also look at who wore what colours and a bit about the symbolic use of colour.
Knowing about medieval fabric when sewing your own garment for reenactment make your clothing look more historically accurate and more real. In the medieval and renaissance period what fabric you wore as much as the shape and pattern of the dress would indicate your social standing. A medieval peasants would not wear the same clothing as the rich or the nobles.
At the marked this weekend a very sweet woman complimented my new dress and the beautiful mustard yellow colour. She when went on to say that not all markeds would allow it as it yellow was a sign of a woman being a prostitude. I was of course not trilled to hear this but I was also sceptical. Was yellow dresses really a sign of prostitution?
It has come time to look at what the men of the city were wearing in the medieval period. As usual I am interested in the period between 1000 and 1550. I will look both at workmen’s clothing, merchant and artisans’ clothing in the period. The post is structured into these three categories and the pictures is arranged chronologically. This is a work in progress and I will note the date here when it was last edited.
Last edited: 17/5 2017
An overview of medieval female fashion from 1000 to 1300 (11th and 12th century) with lots of images from the source material as well as a short description of each type of garment. This post is focused on the upper classes.
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.
Early in the 1400’s, the (liripipe) hood remained a common component of dress for all classes, although it was frequently worn around the neck as a cowl or twisted into the fantastical shapes of the chaperon. Hats of various styles—tall-crowned with small brims or no brims at all, hats with brims turned up on one side for variations of the coif, or low-crowned with wider brims pulled to a point in front—began to compete with the draped chaperon, especially in Italy. A brimless scarlet cap became nearly universal for young Florentines in particular, and was widely worn by older men and those in other cities.1