The head-dress of women now began to show a preference to confine the hair with nets and to close in the face, which continued till the 15th century. The circlet and long plait or plaits and the flowing hair remained till the 14th century. In the 12th century we discover the hair gathered in nets at either side of the head, covering the ears. A low-crowned hat was bound over with a band of lawn or fine material passing underneath the chin, otherwise the plaits were looped up under a circlet which was also worn with the flowing hair.
|Fig. 6.—Tenth to thirteenth century.|
|Fig. 8.—Twelfth to fourteenth century.|
|Fig. 11.—Fourteenth century, 2nd half.|
|Norman and Saxon Fashions of the 12th Century|
|Fig. 10.—Fourteenth century, 1st half.|
This character was maintained till the early 14th century, when a style of high peaked hats came into evidence, one shape of which became the most imposing feature of historic costume in the 15th century. It was still but a simple form in the middle of the 14th century, for another shape first gained predominance. Early in this century also may be noted a curious shape like the cap of liberty, usually with a long tail at the back. This carried design to the eccentric forms of the pig-tailed hood, and then the rival of the high peaked hat took its place towards the end of the 14th century—a cushioned head-dress, which rose and divided in a hornlike structure. It started as in Fig. 25, and I have illustrated its progress; the veil draping was a great feature, giving plenty of scope for individual fancy. It was, as a rule, richly decorated with gold and jewels, and the hair was completely enclosed in a gold net and a tight-fitting cap to hold this erection. Large drop ear-rings were much worn, and a fine chain of gems encircled the neck or fell to the breast.
|Fig. 25.—Fifteenth century, 2nd half.|
With the 10th century came the first corselet from the waist to the hip, clasping a loose tunic with an under-dress taking a long pointed train. The manner of tucking the tunic under the corselet when it was worn over it, and so creating festoons, is worthy of notice as interesting in arrangement and design.
|Emilia in the garden in this illustration from|
Boccaccio, Emilia wears the formal
ermine-trimmed sideless surcoat that
identifies royalty in illuminated
manuscripts of this period, 1460.
The 13th century parti-colored and striped dresses foreshadowed the heraldic fashion, which must be studied for its proportion and treatment of decorative color-values in counterchange to get the true value of its noble effects.
A great feature now appears in the chasuble-shaped front or setting to a closely cut jacket. This ultimately becomes the decorative stomacher through the later periods, and it is very interesting to note its development.
In the 13th century this jacket was a fur construction of a long simple form opened at the sides to the hips for the sleeves to come through; it had a straight hem or was rounded at the front points, and a chasuble form of it was treated as in Fig. 13 or in conjunction with a short cape; it was chiefly a decoration of ermine. It grew into a complete jacket, and in the 14th century it was heavily ornamented with gems; and the simple front, from being a feature outside the jacket, was later often enclosed at the sides. The jacket itself is beautiful in form and proportion, and the curved band of design over the hips makes a nice foil to the curved front. This pattern is plainly derived from the effect of the rich girdle that was at first seen through the side openings and few jackets are without it, the usual shaping of the neck with most of these was square.
|Fig. 12.—Nos. 1 to 7, 14th century. Nos. 8 and 9, 15th century.|
In the first quarter of the 14th century the setting of the neck was of a round shape, and after 1350 a raised or curved form is favoured. Later still, and with the hornlike head-dress, a very deep V shape, open almost to the belt was the mode, often being filled in with velvet. At the same time some began to take up the fashions of a very high collar and a round-shaped body and sleeves with which a wide pointed belt is seen. Some robes were opened in front up to the height of the girdle, though many dresses were worn without girdles after the 12th century. Decorated pockets are sometimes seen in the later period, and an interesting hand-covering or falling cuff came with them.
|Fig. 13.—Nos. 1 to 3, 14th century. Nos. 4 to 9, 15th century|
The cloak as described in the 10th century still continued till the 12th, as well as the light wrap which may almost be placed with any period, though mostly a feature of the more classic styles.
Skirts and underskirts were worn with trains. They were mostly banded with wide borders of ornament up to the 13th century, the fullness being often gathered to the back and front.
The chasuble-shaped overdress was worn to the middle of the 14th century, sleeveless, and, laced or sewn tight to the figure from the arm to the hip, or completely down the sides, generally reached just below the knee.
The shoes were of much the same character as those of the male examples illustrated, though they hardly reached the same extravagance in length, owing, no doubt, to the feet of woman being hampered by her skirt; but I suspect they even braved high wooden clogs, as we know they did the tall chopins of the 16th century, to heighten their stature.
Elizabethan, 16th Century Dance Costumes.
- Medieval clothing and embroidery
- Digital Codex Manesse
- 14th Century at de Vieuxchamps
- The Cotehardie & Houppelande Homepage
- Translation of French C19th book on History of French fashion (all periods) from the University of Georgia. txt file
- Glossary of some medieval clothing terms
- La Cotte Simple – a site with detailed research information and instructions on the construction of 14th- and 15th-century European clothing, especially female dresses
- Late Medieval clothing and embroidery
- Late 15th century Italian (Venice) Velvet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- 15th Century Female Flemish Dress: A Portfolio of Images, by Hope Greenberg
- Women's Clothing in 15th Century Florence
- Burgundian wedding c1470, from the Getty
- Burgundian women's dress including Images of Burgundian hennins
- Men's clothing in 15th century Florence
- Glossary of some medieval clothing terms
- Article on Burgundian women's dress