The Evolution of Western European Women's Clothing in SCA Period: Part 1

Antiquity to the 13th century

1)

3 archetypal methods of making clothing:

2)

3)

Draped – used in a shape relatively unaltered from the shape created on the loom and draped on and/or around the body. Loom Shaped (Geometrical) – constructed of loom shaped rectangles and simple geometrical cuts and sewn to create loosely body-shaped garments. Cut & Sewn – the fabric is intricately cut and shaped to the body by being cut into pattern pieces and then sewn together.

What’s the difference between “clothing” and “fashion”?

• Clothing – Coverings for the human body.
– Amount and type of clothing worn depends on the physical needs, social position and geographic location of the wearer.

• Fashion – A system in which change is the most desirable commodity.
– Clothing is not fashion, but it is the means through which fashion is created and expressed.

When clothing styles change quickly, the changes are driven by fashion rather than necessity.

When clothing styles change very slowly, the changes are driven by necessity rather than fashion.

In order to have “Fashion”, society must bring together 4 elements:

1)

Change is Valued Positive value must be placed on change & “newness”; the “old” becomes devalued. Choice and Complexity Range of choices available: multiple types of garments, increased numbers of garments, expanded combinations of garments, & a wider range of colors, decorations, fabrics, etc. Commercialization Growth of a commercial society; moving cloth & clothing production out the home, increased trade, faster travel, expanded access to a wider variety of goods, & improved economies. Results in a rise in luxury consumption. Circulation Rise in luxury spending & increased choices for all levels of society so styles trickle down into the middle and lower classes. Circulation drives the elite to seek new & different styles to maintain social & fashion superiority.

2)

3)

4)

Rome 116 AD
The fullest extent of the Roman Empire

Present day countries were either part of the Empire or fell under Imperial influence:
Albania Algeria Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belgium Bosnia-Herzegovin Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Egypt Macedonia France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iraq Israel Italy Jordania Kuwait Lebanon Lichtenstein Luxembourg Lybia Malta Monaco Morocco Netherlands Palestine Portugal Romania San Marino Saudi Arabia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sudan Switzerland Syria Tunisia Turkey United Kingdom Vatican City Yugoslavia

Roman Weaving Technology

• Clothes woven individually on vertical looms • Transition to horizontal looms began in the later 3rd century • Vertical looms were not limited to the span of the weaver’s arms - fabric can be much wider • Fabric woven to the shape of the garments as much as possible (neck openings & sleeves on T- tunics, curved edges of togas) • Clothing is rarely cut and sewn to shape

Clothing of the Early Roman Empire
Fibers:
• • • • • • • Wool Linen Hemp Cotton Silk Ramie - cloth made from nettles “Sea Silk” - a rare luxury cloth with a golden sheen made from the long silky filaments, or byssus, produced by the Pinna nobilis mollusk

Garments:
• Underwear – (Subucula )sleeved or unsleeved straight garment. Sleeves would be either woven to shape or sewn on. Gown – (Tunica) unshaped; could be made with solid shoulders or “gap shouldered” and fastened with brooches/fibula or other means. Overgown – (Stola) sleeveless overgown worn over the Tunica by married women. Several different shoulder treatments. Outer Garment – (Palla)long wrapped garment roughly equivalent to the toga worn by men. Hair & Headdress – Hair is put up in various ways, ranging from simple to very complex. Very high status women might wear a diadem or coronet. The head was normally veiled with the Palla when in public. Accessories – Cloth or cord belt called a Singulum; earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches.

Clothing worn in Romanized Areas:

• • • •

Characteristic element of women’s dress in the areas absorbed into the Roman Empire - sleeveless dress suspended from the shoulder by brooches of some kind Called a “Peplos Dress” due to its similarity to the ancient Greek Peplos One of the most basic forms of a draped garment Dates to at least the Iron Age throughout Europe Peplos dresses appear to have been worn by themselves in warm weather, or over a long-sleeved tunic in colder weather or formal occaisons Peplos dresses evolved into various forms of sleeveless overgown (ie, norse apron dress) Difficult to determine when the Peplos Dress evolved into a status garment worn primarily by married women, or if that held true for all the Romanized cultures

The Disintigration of Rome
The Roman Empire in 450 AD

• Attila the Hun’s empire has driven Rome back. • The Roman Empire has been split into two halves the Western Empire & the Eastern Empire. • Britain has been abandoned to the Saxons and the Netherlands have been abandoned to the Norse. • The Burgundians, & the Visigoths are separate but allied kingdoms. • The Ostrogoths have taken control of part of the Balkans, & the Vandals took Africa but failed to maintain control.

Major Changes:

• A new form of tunica adopted from Dalmatia in the late 2nd century – the Dalmatic. • The Roman Empire is now Christian, which changes the attitude towards women’s dress and modesty. • Respectable women now expose no skin above the wrist or ankle & are almost completely obscured when out in public.

The Dark Ages
(Migration Period)

Europe in the 5th Century

• Rome has fallen to the German Odoacer who rules the Italian peninsula as an independent kingdom allied to the Eastern Empire. • The Visigoths ended their alliance with Rome and took over all of Hispania. • The Franks expanded their empire rapidly, coming to control all of the territory within the heavy black line by the 9th century.

The Merovingians
(Franks)

• •

Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk • Hemp • Some blends

• • •

Underwear layer –Probably a long, long-sleeved linen tunic. Gown Layer – Ankle or above-the-ground length tunic with short or long sleeves. Overgown Layer – Peplos. Outer Garment – Simple cloak. Hair & Headdress – Vitta (tablet woven band worn like a filet), possibly a veil pinned to the vitta at the temples. Accessories – Fabric leggings/stockings with tablet-woven cross garters, and tablet-woven belt with utilitarian items hung from it (knife, toiletry set, keys, etc).

Germans & Ostrogoths
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk

Garments: • • Underwear layer – Unknown. Probably a tunic. Gown Layer – Ankle or above-the-ground length tunic with short or long sleeves. Overgown Layer – Peplos. Outer Garment – Simple cloak. Hair & Headdress – Vitta (tablet woven band worn like a filet), possibly a veil pinned to the vitta at the temples. Accessories – Fabric leggings/stockings with tablet-woven cross garters, and tablet-woven belt with utilitarian items hung from it (knife, toiletry set, keys, etc).

• •

The Anglo -Saxons
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk (extremely expensive and only used by the very rich for trim and decoration)

Garments: • • • Underwear – Probably a linen underdress with long sleeves, sometimes pleated Gown – Ankle length gown with long, somewhat fitted sleeves sometimes trimmed with silk Overgown – Ankle length (or slightly shorter) gown with somewhat shorter and looser sleeves than those of the gown worn beneath. An overgown was not always worn. Outer Garment – ¾ circle mentel (mantle or cloak) reaching to mid-shin Hair & Headdress – A brightly colored, draped headrail similar to a wimple and secured with pins, a metal filet or a length of tablet-woven braid. Wealthy women sometimes also wore a hood over the wimple. Accessories – All free women (except very young girls) carried a Seax as a sign of their freedom. Earrings in the shape of a loop with one or more beads on it. A single large brooch in the center of the chest, and sometimes pin “suites” (two or more ornamental pins connected by chains) that may have been used to pin the edge of the veil to the gown.

• •

Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium)
Fibers: • Linen • Wool • Cotton • Silk • Cloth of gold & cloth of silver • Cloth embroidered with silk, gold and appliqued with jewels • Samite is introduced (a heavy silk satin) • Patterns for garments (not just veils/pallas) become common among the nobility – dots, stars, circles, etc. • A fashion developed for sewing small gold, silver, jeweled or enameled plaques all over the outermost layer of clothing.

Garments: Virtually identical to those worn in the late Western Roman Empire. Modesty was extremely important • Underwear Layer – Undergown still referred to frequently as a subucula. When worn it could be seen peeking out from under the Tunica at wrists, hem and neck. • Gown Layer – Long-sleeved floor length gown called a Tunica or a Chiton. Necklines on both the Tunica and Dalmatica/Stola layer continued to use the slit and Vneck styles, but a new rounded “scoop” neckline also appears at this time. • Overgown Layer – The overgown, called Dalmatica (or Dalmatic), is shorter and heavier than the Tunica/Chiton. It is also more ornate than earlier versions and the gown worn under it. Nearly always worn by men but seems to be optional for women, worn primarily on formal occasions. The hems often form a distinct curve. It is possible that this layer is actually the married woman’s Stola – text sources reference it but text descriptions that directly relate to surviving images are extremely rare. • Outer Garment – Women continue to wear the Palla and other rectangular veils and shawls, but for formal occasions they wore a version of the men’s Cope which had replaced the Toga. The Cope was a semi-circlular mantle that men wore secured with a brooch on the right shoulder and folded back across the body. Women, except the Empress, did not drape it like the men. Instead they either secured it on both shoulders or draped it sideways over the left shoulder. Copes were worn indoors and out and were decorative rather than functional. • Hair & Headdress – Upper-class women mostly wore their hair up in elaborate shapes. Curls were much admired. Outside of the court itself, women kept their hair covered with veils with out in public, especially if they were married.

Accessories – Women usually belted their garments with cloth or leather belts, or tasseled fabric sashes. Belts could be worn under the bust, at the natural waist, or on the high hips. Jewelry includes rings, earrings, armlets, brooches, girdles, coronets & crowns. The Superhumeral, which became an iconic part of Byzantine dress, appears now. Sometimes it’s part of the Pallium, but usually not. Worn by the Emperor, Empress and the members of the nobility, it was made of cloth of gold or silk, heavily embroidered and studded with jewels. It was usually divided into compartments by verticals lines on the collar. The edges were embellished with up to 3 rows of pearls in varying sizes and there were sometimes drop pearls hung from the edge at intervals. The large round collar covered the entire shoulder area and part of the upper chest. Notes – As in Roman times, purpura (royal purple) is reserve exclusively for the use of the royal family. Other colors used in various garments and contexts conveyed information about the social class and/or clerical or governmental rank of the wearer. The distinctive garments of the Emperor & Empress were the crown and the heavily jeweled Pallium (also sometimes called the Loros). Descended from the Imperial Toga , the Pallium was a stiff 6-8” heavily decorated and lined band of fabric worn around the neck and hanging down or wrapped around the body in various ways.

The Norse
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk (extremely expensive and only used by the very rich for trim and decoration)

Garments: • • Underwear – Long-sleeved linen undergown reaching to the ankles Gown – Long-sleeved woolen gown reaching to the ankles, with a high round or key-hole neckline. On cold weather it was possible that a second gown was worn underneath. Overgown – A wool or linen sleeveless overgown suspended by straps fastened with brooches called a “hangeroc” or Apron Dress. Early Apron dresses were probably made as simple pieces of un-shaped cloth, possibly worn in pairs, or a similar garment made with a closed side seam and gathered onto a band running around the chest. Outer Garment – Square or triangular shawls were worn around the shoulders. A less common item is a caftan, or loose coat made similarly to the gown but open down the entire center front. Hair & Headdress – During the preChristian era women appear to have gone bareheaded, though they probably covered their heads with scarves or caps similar to the men’s in cold weather. Converted Norse women began to wear scarves or simple caps. Accessories – Brooches, strings of beads

8th – 9th Centuries

The Norse Expansion

The Frankish Empire

The Merovingians
Fibers: • Linen • Wool • Silk • Hemp • Some blended fabrics

Garments: • Underwear Layer – Long-sleeved tunic. • Gown – Long-sleeved tunic reaching to the ankles and worn with belt. • Overgown – Long-sleeved caftan or coat closed at the chest with a brooch • Outer Garment – Cloak, shawl or half-round mantle. • Hair & Headdress – Married women wore the vitta (tabletwoven band worn as a filet) with a veil worn over the top and pinned to the temple with small brooches or decorative pins. Unmarried women may have worn the vitta without the veil, or may have worn their hair loose. • Accessories – Tablet-woven garters over cloth stockings and tablet-woven belt. Bow brooches area replaced by iron disk chatelaines.

Germans & Ostrogoths
Fibers: • Linen • Wool • Some silk • Some Hemp

Garments: • Underwear layer – Longsleeved tunic. • Gown Layer – Ankle or abovethe-ground length tunic with long, straight sleeves. • Overgown Layer – Caftan or coat with long straight sleeves. • Outer Garment – Cloak or half-round mantle. • Hair & Headdress – Vitta (tablet woven band worn like a filet), possibly a veil pinned to the vitta at the temples. • Accessories – Fabric leggings/stockings with tabletwoven cross garters, and leather or tablet-woven belt, sometimes double-wrapped. Brooches and other jewelry.

The Norse
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Some silk • Some cotton

Garments: • • Underwear – Long-sleeved linen undergown reaching to the ankles. Gown – Long-sleeved woolen gown reaching to the ankles, with a high round or key-hole neckline. On cold weather it was possible that a second gown was worn underneath. Overgown – A wool or linen sleeveless overgown suspended by straps fastened with brooches called a “hangeroc” or Apron Dress. Mid period Apron dresses show some basic attempts to fit them to the body. Outer Garment – Square or triangular shawls were worn around the shoulders. Caftans become more common. Hair & Headdress – Pagab women appear to have gone bareheaded, though they probably covered their heads with scarves or caps similar to the men’s in cold weather. Christian women wear scarves or simple caps. Accessories – Brooches, strings of beads

10th & 11th Centuries

The century of lead & iron… described as the darkest period of the middle ages

• The Norse become Normans • Foundation of Cluny, first federated monastic order • In 917 the Bulgarians destroyed the Byzantine army in the Battle of Anchialus, one of the bloodiest battles in the Middle Ages • Vladimir I, Prince of Kievan Rus, baptised a Christian in 988 • Reindeer and Bearsbecome extinct in Britain. Lions become extinct in Europe.

The Normans
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk • Hemp

Garments: Wealth was demonstrated through the use of large amounts of high-quality fabric and elaborate embroidery rather than a profusion of jewelry • Underwear Layer – Assumed long, longsleeved linen tunic with a high round neck • Gown Layer – Very full, ground length gown of linen or wool with long, narrow sleeves that are worn ruched up on the forearms. • Overgown Layer – A ground length, very full gown fitting somewhat close to the body, possibly brought in by means of side lacings. The sleeves are ¾ length and flair out at the end of the sleeve. Necklines can be scooped or key-hole shaped. • Outer Garment – Semi-circular, full length mantles fastened on the chest with a brooch • Hair & Headdress – Hair is entirely hidden. The hair is braided and twisted into a bun at the nape of the neck. A cap or filet is worn under the wimple which is secured to the cap/filet by pins. One style of wimple is made like a hood, the other is like a long scarf that is wrapped around the head and neck. • Accessories – Sewn cloth stockings with leg bindings worn over the stocking from knee to ankle.

The Anglo-Saxons
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk • Hemp

Garments: • Underwear Layer – Assumed ankle length, long-sleeved linen undergown • Gown Layer – Long linen or wool gown with long, form-fitting sleeves that are cut very long and pushed up on the arm to form ruching. The wrists have embroidered cuffs. • Overgown Layer – Slightly shorter wool gowns with very wide sleeves trimmed at the wrists and hem with wide bands of contrasting fabric and embroidery. Sometimes there are similar bands running down or across the front of the garment. • Outer Garment – ¾ circle cloaks fastened with a brooch in the center of the chest, or a new, poncho-style cloak with no visible openin. • Hair & Headdress – Veils worn over a cap, as in the previous era. Veils are sometimes ornamented with fringe or beads, or trimmed with braid or embroidery across the top of the head.

The Norse
Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Silk • Some Cotton

Garments: • Underwear – Long-sleeved linen undergown reaching to the ankles. Some areas have highly pleated linen undergowns that may have been imported from the Near East. • Gown – Long-sleeved woolen gown reaching to the ankles, with a high round or key-hole neckline. On cold weather it was possible that a second gown was worn underneath. • Overgown – The apron dresses are now fairly well fitted to the body and are relatively complex in construction but begin to lose popularity, disappearing by the end of the century. • Outer Garment – Square or triangular shawls and Caftans. • Hair & Headdress – Pagab women appear to have gone bareheaded, though they probably covered their heads with scarves or caps similar to the men’s in cold weather. Christian women wear scarves or simple caps. • Accessories – Brooches, strings of beads

The

12th

Century

Garments: A new fashion emerges in Europe which is most commonly referred to as the “Bliaut” though it was likely only called that in France. The common characteristics of the Bliaut-style are: a more fitted bodice that had been previously worn, a wider skirt than had been previously worn, and sleeves that are fitted in the upper arm and expand into long hanging cuffs. Contrary to popular costuming mythology, the bliautsstyle was not worn just in France and England – it was worn throughout western Europe and probably resulted from the transmission of the late 11th century Byzantine fashions into Western Europe. • Underwear Layer – In all places, a long-sleeved, ankle or floor length white linen undergown with a moderately high rounded neckline (possibly key-hole) was worn. Variously called Chemise (French), Smock (English), etc. Undergown Layer – In all places, a long-sleeved, close-necked, floor length colored undergown of linen, wool, silk, or possibly cotton the very rich, was worn under the outer, fashion gown, layer. The sleeves are close fitting at the forearm and wrist and in some places and times are made overly long and pushed up to form wrinkles on the forearm. The neckline is usually a close-fitting key-hole and the body must be fairly fitted in order to work with the fitted fashion gown worn over it, there is some speculation that this layer may also have been laced to the body in places and times with extremely fitted overgowns. Fashion Gown Layer – This is the layer with the long pendant sleeve cuffs and the visible lacings (when present). Generally worn belted. Hair & Headdress – Generally the bliauts-style is worn with the hair in two long braids at the sides of the head and a variety of veils. Some places and times also wear the style with wimples or the barette and filet. Accessories – Brooches, belts, rings, veils, possibly braid weights in some places, and crowns or coronets.

Fibers: • Wool (primary fabric for clothing of all classes) • Linen (increasingly used by all but the very poorest as undergarments) • Silk (used for entire garments only by the extremely wealthy and as trimming by those with less wealth) • Fur (used as an inner lining for warmth). Vair (the white belly and blue-gray fur of the gray squirrel) was especially popular.

• •

France
Two different styles of “bliauts”, both of which are imitated in Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, and England: Bliaut – c. 1100-1180 • Cut in one piece from hem to shoulder with sewn on sleeves and a number of gores let into the skirt to create the desired fullness. These gowns also generally achieve their tight fit through the use of lacings at the side seams. • The sleeves are fitted to the forearm and then flare into moderately wide cuffs that reveal the ruching of the sleeves worn underneath.

Bliaut Gironé – c. 1130-1160, but retained into the early 12th century as emblematic courtly costume for high ranking noblewomen. • • • Made in two pieces with a tight bodice (cors) and a separate, pleated or gathered on skirt (gironé). The selvages of the fabric are use for the waist edge and hem, with the skirt falling in tight vertical pleats that run parallel to each other. The sleeves are tightly fitted on the upper arm and flare abruptly at the forearm to an extremely wide hanging sleeve that reveals the ruching of the sleeve worn beneath. The Cors/Bodice tends to be made overly long and is cinched up to form wrinkles or pleats around the torso from hip to underbust with the same lacings that pull it close to the body. This bodice style is usually tightly fitted and is usually laced at the sides. The undergown usually has a high, key-hole neckline while the outer, fashion gown usually has either a deep V-neckline created by using a long vertical slit (like that used in Byzantine fashions from the 6th – 10th centuries) or a heavily ornamented key-hole neckline. Most women wearing this style wore a double wrapped belt (ceinture) with tassels or decorative metal tips on the ends. The style probably developed to take advantage of silks coming out of the East that had decorative borders woven into them that ran along the selvages. These gowns were made of light silk or very fine wool.

• •

French Bliauts

Polish Bliaut

Southern France

Spanish Bliaut

French Bliaut Giorne

French Bliaut

English Bliaut

Italian Bliauts

Swiss Bliauts

Austrian Bliaut

Swedish Bliaut

English Bliauts

Spanish Bliaut

German Bliaut

Italian Bliaut

Italian Bliaut

Tuscan Bliaut

German Bliauts

German Bliaut

English Bliaut

Late 12th century
A transitional style - fashion moves away from the tight fitting styles to looser, less fitted gowns that are often worn unbelted, but which retain the wide pendant cuffs of the bliauts-style. A sort of hybrid between the bliaut and the 13th century style.

The 13th Century
• The 13th century is the height of the Medieval Warm Period, where temperatures in Europe rose to a level not seen again until the 20th century. • Parti-colored garments using two contrasting fabrics or colors, one on each side of the body, are first seen. • Fashion changes begin to move faster, with distinct style differences visible between early and late 13th century fashions.

1200 - 1250
Garments: • Underwear – White linen shift with high round neck and long sleeves. Gown Layer – Floor length, or longer, linen or wool gown with long sleeves. The sleeves have a distinctive shape created by enlarging the arm scye and tapering the sleeve to a very fitted wrist. The Gown is fitted at the shoulders but is cut and expanded with long gores to create fullness from the neck through the body and into the skirt. The elegent puddle of fabric at a noblewoman’s feet was a way of displaying her wealth. Overgown Layer – Floor length, or longer, linen, wool or silk gown with long straight sleeves that end just above the wrist. The sleeves are cut very full at the arm scye like the gown below, but are not fitted at the wrist. The Gown can be constructed with the front seam of the arm scye left open, allowing the sleeves to be worn hanging behind the arm and looking, from the front, as if one is wearing a sleeveless cyclas. The elegent puddle of fabric at a noblewoman’s feet was a way of displaying her wealth. Outer Garment – Half-round and ¾ round mantles with a cord or strap across the chest are seen most commonly for nobles. For traveling, extremely cold weather, or occasions when the mantle is impractical, wool gowns made like those described above but lined with fur were available.

Hair & Headdress – There is some variety possible here, with the simpler headdresses seen primarily around the turn of the century being gradually replaced by the more structured styles. Queens at their coronation and unmarried ladies are often shown with their hair loose, though possibly covered by a veil or worn with the barbette and filet. Married noblewomen wore their hair up, generally in two bunches or buns at the back sides of the head which creates a distinct shaping to the head and frame for the face. The hairstyle was usually then covered by a net made of netted silk which could be almost any color, including gold or silver, and could even be richly embellished. A barbette and fillet (almost always white linen) were worn over the net, or the filet might be replaced with a crown or coronet. In some places, especially Germany, the linen filet might be worn inside the crown or coronet. German ladies are also known to have worn their hair down and loose, or braided back into a single braid running down their back, rather than in the twobun style favored by the English and French ladies. Accessories – Linen or wool hose, cut on the bias and reaching to the knee or just above. Ladies hose were supported by tablet-woven garters. Noble women did not wear belts at this time, though working women might. The only visible jewelry were rings and the large brooches used to close the neckline of the gown. Contemporary art does not show noblewomen wearing necklaces, though some extant pieces have been dated to this time. Notes – Stripes or bands of patterned silk/fabric, tablet woven trims, or embroidery are commonly used to embellish gowns and overgowns. In addition to placing these bands in familiar places (necklines, wrists/cuffs, and hems) bands can also be placed to form stripes throughout the body of the garment. Horizontal stripes are the most common, but vertical stripes can also be seen. Entire garments made of brocades and other patterned fabrics also begin to be seen. The focus is on the display of costly fabrics and embellishments while maintaining great modesty, rather than on showing off the figure.

1250 - 1300
The main changes occur in the overgowns: • The cyclas, the precursor to the sideless surcote, appears now. The cyclas is a sleeve-less surcoat that is made like the earlier overgown with hanging sleeves, but without any sleeves attached at all. The common theory is that the cyclas descended directly from the surcoat men wore over their armor, however it is more likely descended from the earlier hanging-sleeved overgown with some influence from the military garment. Like the earlier 13th century styles, for noblewomen the Cyclas is made longer than floor-length. The elegant puddle of fabric at a noblewoman’s feet was a way of displaying her wealth.

Other changes occur in cut and construction. There is a gradual shift from Loom Shaped/Geometrical construction to true cutting and fitting. • The 10-gore type construction can be found in late 13th century sculptures in Europe. • This is not intended to be a tightly fitted gown or a substitute for the kirtle or cotehardie, but rather a radical shift in the way clothing is made to fit the body.

Spain & the Iberian Peninsula
There is a shift taking place here from purely Islamic styles to more European styles of clothing. The clothing of Moorish Spain in the 13th century shares much in common with the styles worn elsewhere in Western Europe while retaining Islamic elements.

Fibers: • Linen • Cotton • Silk • wool

Garments: • Underwear Layer – Loosely cut with wide sleeves and a keyhole neckline, usually tied at the throat and made of thin, gauzy white linen or cotton. Men, women & children also wore loose pants cut long and fitting snuggly at the ankle. These pants were made of the same fabric as the smock, and could have a richly embellished drawstring. Text sources also indicate the women might have also worn leg wraps that cover the leg from knee to ankle. • Gown Layer – Loosely cut floor-length tunics with long, moderately wide sleeves and high, round necklines with no obvious closure at the neckline. The richer you were, the more generously you cut your robes. The tunics of the nobility were embellished with gold and pearls at the neckline and cuffs, as well as tiraz bands on the upper arms. The tiraz bands could have Arabic script or geometric designs. Extremely expensive tunics were made out of patterned silks and brocades. • Outer Garment Layer – There were two types of outer garment: the practical Burnus and the decorative Rida. The Burnus was a semi-circular cloak with a hood, generally made of wool. The Rida was a rectangular wrap of richly embellished silk directly descended from the Palla and usually worn in the same way. Although some authors classify long rectangular veils worn over the head and held before the face in outdoor scenes as “veils”, I believe that these are simply Pallas being used as they were since the early days of Rome. • Hair & Headdress – According to text sources, it was very common for Moorish women to veil their faces when out in public but images with veiled faces are very rare. One miniature from the Book of Games shows two women wearing tall turban-like hats of wrapped scarves with white face veils that look almost like modern surgical masks covering the mouth, nose and chin. Regular head veils are commonly shown, with black & white being the most common. They are usually fastened under the chin by a small pin and held in place on the top of the head by a fabric or tablet woven filet or another scarf. There is also some evidence for some women going with their hair uncovered and no hat or headdress, though I don’t know the reasons for it.

End of Part I

The Evolution of Western European Women's Clothing in SCA Period: Part 2

The 14th Through the 16th centuries

1)

3 archetypal methods of making clothing:

2)

3)

Draped – used in a shape relatively unaltered from the shape created on the loom and draped on and/or around the body. Loom Shaped (Geometrical) – constructed of loom shaped rectangles and simple geometrical cuts and sewn to create loosely body-shaped garments. Cut & Sewn – the fabric is intricately cut and shaped to the body by being cut into pattern pieces and then sewn together.

What’s the difference between “clothing” and “fashion”?

• Clothing – Coverings for the human body.
– Amount and type of clothing worn depends on the physical needs, social position and geographic location of the wearer.

• Fashion – A system in which change is the most desirable commodity.
– Clothing is not fashion, but it is the means through which fashion is created and expressed.

When clothing styles change quickly, the changes are driven by fashion rather than necessity.

When clothing styles change very slowly, the changes are driven by necessity rather than fashion.

In order to have “Fashion”, society must bring together 4 elements:

1)

Change is Valued Positive value must be placed on change & “newness”; the “old” becomes devalued. Choice and Complexity Range of choices available: multiple types of garments, increased numbers of garments, expanded combinations of garments, & a wider range of colors, decorations, fabrics, etc. Commercialization Growth of a commercial society; moving cloth & clothing production out the home, increased trade, faster travel, expanded access to a wider variety of goods, & improved economies. Results in a rise in luxury consumption. Circulation Rise in luxury spending & increased choices for all levels of society so styles trickle down into the middle and lower classes. Circulation drives the elite to seek new & different styles to maintain social & fashion superiority.

2)

3)

4)

The

14th

Century

Hundred Years’ War between England & France, and their allies, begins in 1337 1300-1350 • Women’s hemlines continue to

shrink back to floor-lenth, at least in front, though there could still sometimes be a train at the back. • Fashion begins to evolve and

change at a much faster pace than it had ever done previously but styles are still “pan-European” with only relatively minor variations between regions. • The so-called Little Ice Age begins in the early 14th century and an increasing desire for warmth and tolerance of multiple heavy layers begins.

Fibers & Fabrics: • Wool • Linen • Silk imported from the East of from the silk mills in Italy • Cotton imported from Egypt was used for padding, in quilting, and in serviceable cloth like buckram and fustian, but rarely as a fashion layer • Woodblock printing of fabrics becomes fairly common by the end of the century • Italian brocaded and damasked silks featured repeating patterns of roundels and animals in imitation of the Chinese and Ottoman silks. • Parti-colored garments become very popular. • Checkered and plaid fabrics are occasionally seen used for garments, such as the plaid cotehardie from the St. Vincent altarpiece in Catalonia. • Fur is primarily used for lining and trimming garments

Garments:
• Underwear Layer – Called the smock or shift, documentation exists for two styles: a sleeveless “tank-top” style made famous as the “bath house shift” and possibly worn during hot weather, and a long sleeved version normally worn. Both styles were at least mid-calf to ankle length and made of white linen. • Gown Layer – The Kirtle was an ankle or floor-length gown that laced up (usually down the center front or back) and had long early in the century, with short sleeves becoming common by the end of the century. The Kirtle was usually tightly fitted and acted as the supportive layer for the fashion gown worn over it. Later in the century it might be worn on its own, but only informally. For formal occasions it was always worn under nother fashion layer. • Overgown Layer – The Cotehardie is the fitted fashion layer worn over the kirtle. The cotehardie could lace up the front, button up the front (with buttons reaching to the hips or all the way to the floor), or more rarely it could lace up the back. The long sleeves were tightly fitted and usually buttoned from the elbow to the wrist with the cuff frequently extending down over the hand. Sometimes the wearer left the sleeves of the cotehardie unbuttoned, allowing them to hang down from the elbow and the sleeve of the kirtle worn underneath to be seen. Gradually the cotehardie developed sleeves that were deliberately cut to imitate this fashion, and eventually evolving into the tippet. The tippet was a cuff that attaches to the edge of the short cotehardie sleeve forming a band around the bicep and supporting a streamer – the last remains of the old hanging sleeve with its buttons. Tippets are typically depicted as being made of white and are probably made of linen to allow them to be washed and bleached. • Overgown Layer #2 – The Cyclas of the 13th century evolves in the early 14th century into the elaborate sideless surcoat. • Outer Garment Layer – When outdoors, women wore cloaks or mantles lined with fur, or later in the century, they wore a looser fitting fur-lined garment called the Houppelande that would evolve into an elaborate style of fashion gown in the early 15th century. • Accessories – Stockings coming up to or just over the knee, sewn from wool, sometimes linen, usually cut on the bias and supported by tied or buckled garters. Cotehardies were often worn with decorated belts made of tablet weaving with metal mounts or metal links.

The 15th Century
• Hundred Years’ War between England & France finally ends in 1453 • Immediately followed, in England, by the dynastic battle between two branches of the royal House of Plantagenet (Lancaster vs. York) which was fought sporadically between 1455 and 1485 and ended with the victor of Henry Tudor over Richard III and married Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York, to unite the houses and found the Tudor line. • For the first time since Dark Ages, fashion becomes more regionally oriented rather than pan-European with the rise of distinct fashions in Italy, Germany and Spain around the middle of the century

Fibers: • Wool • Linen • Hemp • Silk • Pomegranate & artichoke patterned silks, richly colored velvelts and wools and nearly transparent linen and silk were characteristic of the period • The fashion for slashing begins in mid-century in Italy and Germany

1400 - 1425
Transitional Cote-Houp Gowns & High-Collared Houppelande By this time the kirtle is generally short sleeved. When doing strenuous or dirty work, the sleeves of the smock are allowed to show but are usually rolled up to keep them clean. Generally false sleeves of rich fabric are worn pinned to the short sleeves of the kirtle to cover the smock sleeves. These false sleeves are what show underneath the fashion gown layer.

Transitional Cote-Houp Gowns: • Fitted like a Cotehardie through the body, but often with a hidden closure so probably back lacing • The Cotehardie hanging sleeve lengthens and broadens into the Houppelande sleeve OR • Narrow sleeved with a loose fitting, pleated body and high buttoned collar • Can be worn with or without a belt, but the belt is normally worn just under the bust when present High-Collared Houppelande: • High collar can be worn standing up or laying down on the shoulders • The undergown or smock also has a high collar and, when the collar is worn folded down onto the shoulders the undergown collar can be seen as a second layer on top of the gown collar • Wide, open sleeves or voluminous sleeves with a fairly narrow wrist – sleeves become progressively larger towards c.1415 then begin to shrink again • Pleated and belted under the bust

1425 - 1450
Collarless & Open-Collar Houppelandes
• • • • • • Relatively narrow, to almost non-existent, collars Neckline is usually open to the belt, but narrow so only a small triangle of the underdress shows Worn over a kirtle, sometimes the lacings at the center front of the kirtle show Necklines are sometimes filled in or covered with a white linen cloth worn around the neck and tucked into the bodice Sleeves are wide and loose fitting, but not bagged though they gradually become more and more fitted as you approach c.1450 Pleated and belted but the cut is progressively less full as you approach c.1450

Germany 1439

Italy 1440

Portugal 1445

Italy 1438

Flemish 1443

Flemish 1450

The ‘Burgundian” or V-neck Gown

1450 - 1475

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

• •

Worn over another dress layer (the Kirtle) Popular in France, England and the Lowlands Worn in multiple variations by multiple classes Often trimmed and/or lined with fur Wide neck opening sits at the point of the shoulder, with a collar several inches wide and has a high cut back neckline Front neckline and center front seam use the selvage so the neckline will not stretch and curves around the bust (continuous straight line) The front opening is laced or hooks closed, may extend down onto the abdomen, sometimes hidden by the wide belt A few examples of side laced gowns exist for both the overgown and kirtle layers The bodice and sleeves become very fitted by c.1470 The waist is just under the bust to high-ish waist The skirt is very full at the hem but is made as a circle skirt, rather than pleated or gathered onto the bodice Usually has fitted sleeves Usually trimmed with fur at the collar, cuffs and hem though these can be made of velvet or brocade The collar forms a V-shaped flap on the back that generally hangs down over the belt Back of the neck can be a V-shape or a deep scoop Can be worn with or without the wide belt Usually worn with a hennin of some style The front lacings of the kirtle are usually hidden by a Placket that is pinned over the kirtle and under the overgown. The Placket creates a look like a square necked undergown but the neckline of the kirtle retains the rounded shape from the 14th century Sometimes worn worn the neckline filled in with sheer, or more rarely, opaque, fabric Large jeweled collar-type necklaces are common

Italy 1480

England 1470

German 1470

Italy 1470

Italy 1485

Italy 1490

Italy 1490

Italy 1493

1475 - 1500

Shaped-Cut Neckline Gown & Transitional Tudor Gown • Transitioning a very straight V-neckline of the Burgundian gowns to a more rounded neckline that is wider and shallower • The collar meets at a higher point on the bust • Collar is probably cut separately & applied to the gown now • Approaching c.1500 the collar begins to disappear and the wide, shallow V-neckline come back onto the shoulders and begins to become a square neckline • Retains the center front opening • A style common in German areas but nowhere else looks very much like the V-necked “Burgundian Gown” but the sides of the bodice don’t meet – the gown is laced into place over the kirtle, which shows through the deep open V of the lacings. • In Italy, the low rounded neckline becomes a high, round neckline in front with a lover V-neck at the back by midcentury. Later it becomes a V-neckline in front that displayed the kirtle, called a Gamurra, in front. Sleeveless overgowns were popular & the gamurra sleeves were displayed. In the summer a lighter weight undergown, called a Cotta, was worn. A sideless overgown, like a long elaborate tabard, called a Giornea could also be worn with the Gamurra or Cotta. By the end of the century sleeves were made in sections that tied to each other and to the gown at the shoulder. These sleeves might also be slashed, allowing the chemise sleeves to puff through the slashes along the arm & at the shoulder and elbow. Sheer partlets, often heavily decorated were sometimes worn over the gown. • In Spain the Verdugada was a gown with a bell-shaped skirt stiffened with hoops made of reeds became popular. The skirt of the Verdugada displayed the lines of casings for the reeds, often highlighting them by using contrasting fabric or ribbons for the casings. Another distinctively Spanish style also appeared at this time – trumpet shaped sleeves that flair out from the shoulder to create a very wide wrist. These are sometimes slashed along the top of the sleeve.

Italy 1475

Commonalities:

The 16th Century
• Temperatures reach the low point of the Little Ice Age in the mid-16th century • The fashion in the first part of the century is dominated by the rivalry between Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France, with Charles V of Spain, Naples & Sicily as the rising power. Charles became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1530. • The regional variations in fashion that arose in the 15th century become more distinct in the 16th century. Germany, Scandinavia & the Low Countries developed a unique style, while Spain & Portugal developed a more restrained style, Italy followed Italian styles before developing a unique Italian style, and England & France continued to influence and compete with each other.

• Linen smocks/chemises worn as the underwear layer, often elaborately embroidered and banded wrists and necks ending with a linen and/or lace ruffle or frill that would eventually become the ruff. • Slashing gained in popularity and in formality • Lace slowly becomes a prominent feature of clothing • Guards (bands of contrasting fabric) are used to ornament skirts, sleeves and necklines • Outer fashion gowns continue to be worn over a kirtle that provides the supportive layer • Necklines are almost universally square

France

The high waist of the 15th century moves down to the natural waist and then continues to descend until it becomes a V-shaped point in front. Gowns opened down the center front at first and were somewhat loosely fitted through the body before flaring from the hips into a full skirt with a train that was often left open to reveal the skirt of the kirtle worn beneath. Bodices have a moderately low, square neckline which could be filled in with a Parlet in a variety of styles. Black velvet partlets lined with white and having a high flared collar were popularly worn over top of the gown. Some partlets were made in the same fabric as the gown and give the appearance of a high-necked gown. Sheer or opaque linen partlets might be worn over the smock or chemise and under the gown. Sleeves on the fashion gown become larger, with large turned back cuffs (often lined with fur) worn over elaborate false sleeves worn over the kirtle sleeves or chemise sleeves. As Spanish influence increased, gowns become more tightly fitted and bodices began to be cut separately and sewn to the skirt. These new, more fitted bodices laced at the side or side back seams, or used hooks & eyes in those locations. The Spanish Farthingale also became a feature of French dress as a result of increasing Spanish influence. By 1530 the farthingale was a standard part of court dress in both England and France. Kirtles had been made with decorative fronts and plain back but as decoration on the kirtle skirts became more elaborate, the kirtle began to be covered with a Forepart. By 1530 the earlier cuffed sleeves evolved into Trumpet Sleeves, which are tight on the upper arm and flare out below into very large turned back cuffs worn over very large, highly decorated false under-sleeves that often matched the forepart. These turned back sleeves disappeared around 1550 in favor of full Round Sleeves. Black velvet or silk hoods with veils at the back worn over linen undercaps were popular in France, England and the Low Countries. These hoods became more complex and evolved into the structured French Hood.

Germany

• • •

The high waist remains fairly high. The fashion gown generally has a closed skirt. The neckline of the bodice gradually gets lower and lower, with the bust area filled in with a decorate placard called a Brustfleck. Gradually the front neckline descends to the waistband of the skirt and the area below the Brustfleck is secured with lacings over the kirtle and/or a white placard worn over the Hemd (smock). This style combines the characteristics of the late 15th century laced gown and the early 16th century one in style. The sleeves of the German gowns rapidly develop elaborate puffing and slashing as well as being decorated with bands of contrasting fabric and rows of panes or strips of fabric over puffed linings. Partlets, called Gollers (collars), of various styles were often worn to cover the neck and shoulders. The most popular style was a round capelet of black velvet lined with silk or fur and a standing neckband. Skirts are trimmed with bands of contrasting fabric and could be tucked up into a belt to display an underskirt as they were closed all the way around. After Charles V became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, elements of Spanish dress were quickly adopted. German ladies favored a variety of hats, often adorned with large feathers, worn over highly decorated cauls to the hoods worn elsewhere. Unmarried girls in Germany continued to wear their hair loose.

England
• A style of hat unique to England was the English Hood, which was a wired headdress shaped like the gable of a house. Early English Hoods had long, embroidered lappets that hung down and framed the face and a loose veil that covered the hair in back of the hood. Later versions were worn over several layers of undercaps that completely hid the hair and allowed the veil and lappets to be pinned up in various configurations. The French Hood gradually replaced the English Hood in England as the style was more flattering and allowed some of the hair to show. Towards the 1540s hats worn over elaborate cauls also became popular as an alternative to the Hoods. In winter, fur hats in various shapes were also worn. One, called the Lettice Cap, is shaped like an English Hood made out of fur.

Spain & Italy
In the warmer climates, it was more common to leave the hair uncovered. Hair could be braided or wrapped with ribbons and pinned up or confined in a net. A variation on a Spanish style from the 15th century was still worn in the early part of the 16th century – the hair was pulled back from the face and braided down the back. The 16th century variation added a type of Hood called a Corazon over the hairstyle. The Corazon was shaped very much like the early French Hood in front, but instead of a veil in back, it formed a tube that the braid was placed inside. The tube, with the hair, could then be wrapped in ribbons or left plain.

Italy: • Generalizing 16th century

Italian clothing styles is nearly impossible because each Italian city-state had its own style that was unique to that time and place while sharing some common elements with other Italian and Spanish styles
Sleeves could take a wide variety of shapes, waistlines could be extremely high to quite low, skirts could be open or closed. Italian women use a variety of neckline shapes, including both rounded and squared.

Flemish Hood 1500 England 1502

Italy 1503

Germany 1502

Italy 1508

Germany 1507

Germany 1506

Spain 1505

Spain 1510

Germany 1514

Germany 1513

Italy 1514

Germany 1516

Italy 1516

England 1516
Spain 1518

Germany 1525

Italy 1527

Germany 1526

England 1527

Germany 1525-30

England 1527

Germany 1526

England 1533

Spain 1530

England 1535

Germany 1539

England 1536

Italy 1536

England 1540

Italy 1540

England 1544

Italy 1545

England 1545

Spain 1548

England 1546

Germany 1545

1550 - 1600
Fibers & Fabrics: • Wool and linen for the lower classes • Silks, velvets, satins, furs, lace, cotton and taffeta for the wealthy. • Increased availability of dyes means the rich have a wealth of colors to choose from

Generalities: • The later 16th century sees the introduction of the corset, more often called Stays, in period. The earlier version laces up the back and uses a stiff wooden busk at the center front to create a very flat line from bust to waist. A very late version, which closes with laces up the front but could sometimes be adjusted in size via additional lacings at the back. In England this late period Stays removes the wooden busk and replaces the straight angle with a shallow curve from the bust to the abdomen. • The job of the corset was not to squeeze the waist to a smaller size, but to support the bust and reshape the torso into an inverted cone-shape. • The bodices and sleeves of later 16th century gowns are actually meant to replicate the body shape of men – with broad shoulder and a narrow waist. Padding on the hips, combined with the reshaping of the torso makes the waist look proportionally smaller by means of contrast.

Spain

The increased wealth brought in from the New World brought about many new areas of conspicuous consumption in dress, such as the use of massive quantities of lace, embroidered and even jeweled fabrics, and the introduction of ruffs and collars. Spanish style was known in 16th century Europe for its elegance. The Spanish people typically wore black for daily wear, but donned bright colors for festive occasions. Even after Charles V divided his empire between his two sons in 1558, the Spanish continued to influence fashion for the rest of the century. Spanish clothing was severe and very rigid, with black being the predominant color. The Spanish farthingale settled into a formal contraption made of wire hoops supported on a specially shaped skirt giving the wearer a distinctive cone shape by 1545. Bodices and skirts appear to have been made separately and skirts were made without trains. Necklines in Spain are quite high, generally with tight standing collars topped with ruffs. Spanish sleeves gradually became extremely tight from the shoulder to the wrist with the hanging over-sleeves giving way to padded rolls over the shoulders. Linen ruffs rapidly grew from a narrow frill around the wrists and neck to broad cartwheel ruffs that required wire platforms to support them by the 1580’s.

France
• French Farthingale, which appeared first in France and later in England, was similar to the Spanish farthingale in that it was a structure of fabric and wires intended to provide a specific shape to the skirts. The French farthingale formed a cylindrical, or “drum shaped”, skirt. To soften the outer edge of the French Farthingale, the overskirt was pulled up and pinned to the edge of the structure underneath, forming first a small poof and later a more formal ruffle all around the edge. • A version of the French farthingale worn on informal occasions or by the lower classes was a large padded roll that added width to the skirts around the hips. • French bodices continued to be laced or hooked up the back sides as in earlier styles.

England
• English gowns continued to be primarily fastened with hooks and eyes down the center front, as in earlier fashions. • English partlets were generally made of embroidered linen and often had matching sleeves that would be worn over the smock sleeves. Sets were often given as gifts. • English sleeves tended toward the “demi-cannon” shape – wider at the shoulder and tapering to a fitted wrist. By the end of the century these sleeves were often so large they had to be supported internally using inner-sleeves stiffened with reeds called Farthingale Sleeves. • Long loose coats, with short sleeves or no sleeves at all, and worn over a full bodice and gown, also became very popular.

Germany

As the result of the Spanish influence, German fashions became a melding of the Spanish and German styles.

Italy
• Italian bodices retained the front-lacing of the previous period, with the ties laced in parallel rows. • Italian gowns featured a broad U-shape at the waist in contrast to the V-shape seen on nearly all the other regional styles.

Italy 1550-5

Italy 1557

Italy 1560

England 1562 Flemish 1560

Italy 1565

Italy 1565

England 1572

French 1571

Italy 1570

Spanish 1571

Spanish 1571

England 1575

England 1578 German 1579

French 1580 England 1580

Spanish 1584

England 1585

Spanish 1585

Italy 1590 England 1589

England 1592

Spanish 1593

The End

England 1592

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