Medieval Times Clothing – Color, Styles Set the Nobility Apart
Medieval times clothing styles varied from class to class throughout the period.
The nobles’ attire was generally more elaborate with imported fabrics a possibility while peasants’ clothing tended to be homespun of wool, somewhat devoid of color and quite plain and purposeful.
Early medieval clothing styles tended to be more loose fitting with tighter tunics for men coming into vogue toward the end of the 13th century.
Medieval times clothing for peasants in the earlier middle ages was very simple. Most people wore linen undergarments – nobility or not. Colors, especially the brighter, richer ones, were reserved for nobility as were longer jackets.
Nobility’s clothing and that belonging to wealthy merchants became more elaborate as time went on. For example, aristocratic men wore hose and a jacket. Medieval clothing for wealthy males also often included a tunic with a surcoat. Sleeve designs for wealthy males were also more elaborate than for the working classes when it came to medieval clothing.
For the wealthy women, medieval times clothing included some of the most elaborate gown designs imaginable toward the middle to end of the period. In earlier times, however, medieval clothing for women, even the wealthy, consisted of long, tunic like gowns and head covers. Colors here were what really distinguished a peasant from a noblewoman when it came to medieval times clothing.
The aristocratic women’s medieval clothing later in the period included flowing gowns and incredible headwear. For those who could afford it, import materials such as silks were used in the making of these gowns. Medieval times clothing for women also consisted of interesting sleeve designs, handiwork and more.
Peasant women’s medieval clothing was slightly less impressive. With a lack of money to pay for tailors, peasants had to spin their own wool and make their own clothes. Finished fabric for medieval times clothing whether handmade or imported were very precious considering the amount of work involved.
It is said that when it came to medieval clothing, the more elaborate colors were reserved strictly for nobility. For example, purple was a royal color, period. Considering the scant availability of dyes, however, it’s not surprising elaborate colors were not sported by the peasant class.
The elaborate styles that became popular among the noble class gave rise to the tailor profession for making medieval times clothing. Nobility could also be distinguished by its well-fitted clothing styles, while peasants overall wore ill-fitted, and quite often handed down attire.
For those interested in finding replica medieval clothing, there are plenty of locations to do so. From area costume shops to re-enactment costume stores on the Internet, there are plenty of talented artisans who make elaborate replica garb reminiscent of medieval times clothing. A wide selection of such wear both for men and women can be founding during Renaissance festivals around the country.
For more information, check out the Medieval Clothing page.