England. Lower Class costumes of the Middle Ages.

costumes, Middle Ages, England, Lower Class, Robin Hood,  Sherwood forest,
Middle Ages. Lower Class. 1000 to 1300 A.D

Plate No. 23

Middle Ages. Lower Class. 1000 to 1300 A.D

The two men in this picture might very well be, from the manner in which they are dressed, members of Robin Hood’s band — that famous group or robbers and hunters who roamed Sherwood Forest in Nottingham, late in the 12th century.

Both figures are dressed practically alike. The man on the left is wearing a long, tight-sleeved tunic that comes to slightly below the knees. To make running or any other form of exercise easier, he has taken the botton; corners of the tunic and tucked them into his girdle on each side. If this is difficult to understand, the picture shows very clearly just how he has done it.

His leg coverings are typical of the Middle Ages. Tho pointed boot like garments of green cloth or felt are called hose (in French, chausses). They are cut and sewn to fit the leg tightly, almost like a long stocking. They are wider at the top to fit the thigh and terminate in front in a long point that ties to the breech string. Each leg is separate and is pulled on over the foot like a boot. The archer has not fastened his. Notice how they are cut about the top. When shoes or boots were not worn, the hose were made with thin leather soles.

Observe that the figure on the left is wearing a white undergarment that covers the tops of his legs. These are a later development of the braccae or breeches shown in Plate 22. About 1150 A.D. these breeches became short undergarments – almost like short white drawers. They still fastened with a draw-string (the breech string mentioned above) and were tucked into the tops of the hose. The man with the bow and arrow has then also but his short tunic has covered them. The man looking after the arrow has put on, over the bottoms of his hose, soft leather boots with rolled-down tops. On his head he is wearing what is called a coif. It is a close fitting linen cap that covers the entire head, hair, and ears and ties under the chin. His cloak appears circular, though it might be only a half-circle or rectangle. On the right-hand corner is fastened a metal ring through which the material of the opposite edge is pushed and knotted. This was the usual method of fastening the cloak during the 12th century.

Note:  Eleanor of Austria, also called Eleanor of Castile. Queen of France.

The archer is wearing two tunics — a short one with long tight sleeves and an over – one with wide, short, kimono-like sleeves. He is wearing hose, and attached to his girdle is a purse or wallet. These containers worn attached to the girdle or, for safety’s sake, to the breech-string under the tunic, were of all sizes and varieties and for all purposes. This one seems to be u large leather pouch.

He has covered his head and shoulders with a hood, the most common type of headgear for men at that time. It is a simple cowl, something like a loose-fitting coif attached to a short cape. It was cut usually in one piece and protected the entire head, neck, and shoulders.

Source: Museum Extension Project. History of Costume.

Illustration Galan, middle ages, b/w,


Leave a Reply

Auguste Racinet. The Costume History by Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

Racinet's Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style. Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted.

Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through to the end of the 19th century, the six volume work remains completely unique in its scope and detail. “Some books just scream out to be bought; this is one of them.” ― Vogue.com

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World Paperback – December 7, 2021
by Virginia Postrel (Author)

From Neanderthal string to 3D knitting, an “expansive” global history that highlights “how textiles truly changed the world” (Wall Street Journal)

Fashionpedia - The Visual Dictionary Of Fashion Design

Fashionpedia - The Visual Dictionary Of Fashion Design

FASHIONPEDIA is a visual fashion dictionary covering all the technical terms from style to material to production with illustrations and infographics. It encompasses rich, extensive information and yet is easy to read. Whether you are an industry insider or a fashion connoisseur, FASHIONPEDIA is all you will ever need to navigate the fashion scene.

Textilepedia. The Complete Fabric Guide.

The Textile Manual is an encyclopaedia of textile information, from material to yarn, from fabric structure to the finishing process. Encompassing practical tips for a range of textiles and detailed visuals, this ultra-accessible manual is the perfect companion for fashion aficionados and aspiring fashion designers.