Medieval Clothing:

Some links, references, and keywords for searching

Online Art Collections

Bayeaux Tapestry - embroidered c.1080 - various reproductions are online

Maciejowski Bible
: commissioned by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France (1214 - 1270), crafted by Parisian artisans whose identities are unknown, transported to the Court of Naples, Italy, in about 1300 where descriptions of each of the scenes were added, later transported northward to Cracow, Poland.

Manesse Codex (1300-1320):

Age of King Charles V (1338-1380) - Bibiothèque Nationale de France

The British Library has the Luttrell Psalter (c. 1345), Lindesfarne Gospels (c. 700), and Sforza Hours (c. 1490-1520) ( you can also find parts of them at other sites) -

Web Gallery of Art (go to Search page and you can limit the search by period/country)

and I have a few collections here:

Tenth and Eleventh Century Clothing Images -
15th Century Flemish Women's Clothing -
Later medieval men's and women's work clothing images -
Tudor Images -

Clothing terms

Body layer, usually made of linen:
    Braies - men's baggy underwear, short or knee length depending on time/country
    Shift, shirt, chemise, camiccia - the name depends on the time/country
    Chausses/hose - secured at waistband for men, tied just below knee for women

Outer layers: generally men and women would wear a fitted garment and then another layer over that. For wealthy people, the outer layer could be quite elaborate. of course, there are many variations and combinations! Definitions of these terms are changing as we learn more about medieval clothing. When doing a web search on these terms be aware that many people use them loosely, without historical basis. Some terms are:

    Cote, cotehardie
    Tudor gown

Print References

Bad sources

Anything that is primarily a redrawing of an artwork. Just about all costume books in the Reference section (main floor) of the library fall into this category. Especially:
    Norris, Herbert
    Peacock, John

Good Sources

Arnold, J. (1973). A Handbook of Costume. London, Macmillan.

Arnold, J. (1985). Patterns of fashion: the Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women c1560-1620. New York, M/Drama Book.

Arnold, J. (1988). Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd. Leeds, Eng., Maney.

Birbari, E. (1975). Dress in Italian Painting, 1460-1500. London, J. Murray.

Burns, E. J. (2004). Medieval Fabrications: Dress, Textiles, Clothwork, and other Cultural Imaginings. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Crowfoot, E., F. Pritchard, et al. (1992). Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-c.1450. London, HMSO.

Frick, C. C. (2002). Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, and Fine Clothing. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hodges, L. F. (2000). Chaucer and Costume: the Secular Pilgrims in the General Prologue. Suffolk; Rochester, NY, D.S. Brewer.

Koslin, D. G. and J. E. Snyder (2002). Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress: Objects, Texts, Images. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Newton, S. M. (1980). Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: a Study of the Years 1340-1365. Woodbridge Totowa, N.J., Boydell Press; Rowman & Littlefield.

Newton, S. M. (1988). The Dress of the Venetians, 1495-1525. Aldershot, England; Brookfield, Vt., Scolar Press.

Owen-Crocker, G. R. (2004). Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. Woodbridge, Suffolk; Rochester, NY, Boydell Press.

Piponnier, F. and P. Mane (1997). Dress in the Middle Ages. New Haven Conn., Yale University Press.

Scott, M. (1980). Late Gothic Europe, 1400-1500. London Atlantic Highlands, N.J., Mills & Boon;
Humanities Press.

Compiled: Hope Greenberg
Created/Updated: 25 July 2005/3 August 2005