The Medieval Costumes In The Early Middle Ages

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Medieval Costumes The medieval era, which is also known as the Middle Ages, is defined as the time period between the fall of Rome in fifth century and the rise of Renaissance in the mid-fifteenth century by historians.With the establishment of the feudal society in Franco-Norman period of the Early Middle Ages (late 800s), the style and extravagance of the clothes started to reflect one’s position in the society (Tierney 4 par. 1-2). The feudal system was established for economic reasons and caused the distinction of people among social classes such as nobles, knights, peasants and serfs (McDowall 24 par. 1-2). The lower one’s social class was, the poorer he and his family became. Thus, economic conditions and social classes of people had…show more content…
Most of the artistic depictions of medieval era showed men’s clothes rather than women’s, and their clothes symbolised their social hierarchy. Men’s clothes often consisted of decorated necklines, gipons, and cottehardies which were worn underneath their gipons (Fogg 43 par. 2). The figure on the left shows an example of a noble man’s clothing (Elgin 25 fig. 1). According to Elgin, what knights wore depended on whether they were seriously at war, performing at a tournament, or at home. Ballads describe that the knight wore long sleeve shirt with braies of fine linen as underwear, a knee length silk tunic over it, and various items of his metal armor such as chainmails on top. Chainmails were tiny metal pieces that connected the parts of the armour. He wore a helmet on his head, however, the helmet often covered his entire face. To be recognized when he was in a tournament or in a field, he wore a silk surcoat with identifying marks as an outerwear. There were various types of identifying marks such as the badge or insignia of the knight’s order, the livery of the knight’s overlord and the knight’s family crest. The identifying marks appeared on not only the knight’s surcoat, but also on his shield and the flags attached on his horse. (34-37) Some parts of the knight’s clothes can be seen on the left. (Elgin 35 fig.…show more content…
Even though they did not have as rich materials as nobles, they used substitute materials such as fur and wool (for silk) to make their clothes. The clothes they wore usually depended on their job. For example, travelers wore cloaks, hoods and boots to keep themselves warm. Also, these clothes made it easier for them to move around on their foot or on their horse. Men’s cloaks and hoods were often seperate. They wore their hood on their shoulders, and a hat on their head. However, women’s clothes were not seperate as men’s was. Their cloaks were hooded. (Elgin 41-42) An example of a traveler’s clothing is shown on the left. (Elgin 41 fig.

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