MIDDLE AGES. MIDDLE CLASS
1000 A.D – 1300 A.D.
Plate No. 22
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The Woman in this picture is Wearing a costume somewhat like the woman’s outfit in Plate 21. She is not a noblewonan and is therefore dressed less richly. Her hair, though it cannot be seen because of the cloak, is probably parted in the middle and gathered in the back into a bag called crespine *). This type of headdress appeared in the 13th century.
She is wearing two tunics. The under one has long, fairly tight sleeves and is probably made of linen. Her over-tunic or Mantle has wide sleeves, is somewhat shorter, and has borders either appliquéd or embroidered. She has completed her ensemble with a large rectangular cloak worn over her head and shoulders much as the Roman women wore their pallas. Her shoes are simple cloth foot coverings.
The man is a typical Western European of the Middle Ages. It was common for men to go bareheaded or else to wear a simple fillet, such as the man shown here is wearing around his hair. “Bobbed” hair also was common. Some men wore it even shorter than did this man and clean-shaven faces were the rule. His tunic is a simple linen or homespun garment. It is short, since he seems to be a young man. It pulls on over the head, therefore it is cut large at the neck. The sleeves are in one piece with the body. The two linens running from the shoulders to the hem are a reminder of the Roman influence — the old clavi, discussed in Roman and Byzantine costume. The belt probably fastens on the side.
His legs are covered by trousers – a development of the Roman braccae. In French they were called braies. They are made of some soft material, cut loose, and fastened around the waist with a draw-string, like some of our pajama trousers to-day. The richer people had them fitted tight from the knee down. If they still did not fit well they would be bound by a series of cross-straps as they are shown here. Notice that they are split up the instep and buttoned — a rare manner of perfecting the fit over the instep and foot.
During this period, materials included leather, linen, wool, and various types of homespun. Silk and brocade were also used. Ratter gay colors and patterns, were known, as can be seen by studying all the plates of the Middle Ages series.
Source: History of Costume. Description of western costume plates: ancient & classical, 35,000 BC-400 AD. Museum Extension Project.