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.
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
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.
What did medieval commoners wear?
An overview of medieval fashion for common people in the 11th to 16th century.
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.