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Medieval Dressing Traditions
Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:07 am
I'm writing this novel and I really need help with the clothing aspects.
It is set in the medieval time period, and though it is a fantasy world I still want the clothing to be pretty historically accurate for the time.
So I have a few questions. First of all, when did women start using skirts and bodices?
I know that in early medieval times women would usually wear a kirtle and an over gown with a belt, but my story is taking place in the more modern period of the middle ages.
Also who/when did women wear head coverings? Was that only necessary for married women? What century did dressing become more casual?
I know that how women dressed also depended on their class, so for reference my character dresses a little better than peasants would.
As you can see I know nearly nothing of traditional dressing for the middle ages, so I would really appreciate any help and input. Thanks! XD
Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:34 am
This is a pretty in-depth video about women's dress in the 14th century (so fairly towards the end of the middle ages) that I think actually covers a lot of your questions. This one's based on England, so some elements would vary a bit depending on where your story is set (or what part of the real world your fantasy world is based on, I guess)
The production company behind this have done a few videos for museums, so I believe they're a pretty reliable, well-researched resource.
Here's another video that could be useful. Europe-centric again, I believe, but covers a longer time-period. The person behind this channel is apparently a professor in fashion history, so should be reasonably reliable. It's a bit more in-depth than the other.
is another YouTube channel that does a lot of historical costuming, including a couple of medieval based videos. Historical costuming blogs overall could be a good starting point for research, because a lot of the really good historical costumers do a lot of research in order to make their costumes as spot-on as possible.
Looking at paintings from the era could also be a good starting point for an idea of what the clothing looked like for the eras.
Hopefully some of this was helpful!
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Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:18 pm
Yes I've seen the first video already and though it did help, it wasn't quite what I needed. Thank you though for suggesting the latter video. It should prove quite useful.
Thank you very much for your help. XD
Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:44 pm
The Middle Ages was not really one singular "era", so to speak. It spanned a period of about one thousand years. Therefore, it should be stated that there were different periods throughout the Middle Ages, and the styles and cultural aesthetics varied greatly.
I am very knowledgeable on this period in history, and I would personally be delighted to have a conversation with you should you need any help. However, context is important.
Therefore, the next thing that should be asked is what "year" it is set. I know it is more of a fantasy-style, but it is very critical that you keep it consistent, so to speak. What do you imagine your world's society to be like? Are you going for a more Dark Ages feel; a Gothic/Feudal/High Medieval setting; or perhaps a more Late Medieval/Romantic/proto-Rennaisance vibe? Because that is VERY important. Each period was very distinct.
Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:00 pm
Well my story will be taking place in the mid 1400s, which I've learned is quite the time for style. The thing is though, I'm going to be mostly avoiding the rich society in my story, and thanks to Trisarahtops' video suggestion, I know enough about the clothing of the wealthy that I need to for my story.
But what the video failed to really include is how the common would dress.
And though the first video above did prove useful and allowed me some insight, it didn't answer several of my questions.
I'm wondering about all the varieties of things common folk would wear? Aswell as what those a little wealthier would wear.
Also did the women wear head coverings has the richer did? Was it necessary to wear them out of modesty or was it strictly for fashion? And how important did fashion become between early 1400s and late 1400s?
But just in general I am also curious about how people dressed prior to the 1400s. This subject really fascinates me however I can't seem to find any in depth resources on it.
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