While women with a higher status dressed in flowing gowns and embellished sleeves between the 5th and 15th centuries, rich men also paid attention to the style of their clothing. In this article, you will learn some of the ways that the clothing of wealthy men and peasants differed during medieval times.
Medieval Men’s Clothing
The upper body of the medieval man was covered with a plain, light shirt made out of linen. The shirt was worn next to the skin as a method of preventing irritation. On their legs, they wore leggings with a tight fit , like trousers. A woven belt or strips of leather held their pants up to their waist. Tunics were popular for men during the 5th and 6th centuries. They were short and sleeveless and were clinched at the waist.
After the 7th century, noblemen wore a decorated gown called a houppelande. It was a heavy garment with large sleeves that were tight around the wrists. For accessories, leather belts with attached purses were in style. By the 11th century, the tunics were made much longer and reached to the calf.
As for peasants, the clothing was basic and created for practical wear. Because of this, decoration was limited or non-existent. The wardrobe of the poor typically consisted of short woolen tunics belted at the waist that were worn over coarse woolen trousers. Other articles of clothing associated with peasants include woolen jackets and medium length tunics tied together with rope.
The upper class of people during medieval times lived in castles or spacious manors. They were the aristocrats of the region and they dresses in more exotic fabrics and materials, such as silk and satin. The wool clothing worn by wealthy men was colorful and expensive. Wealthier individuals also wore hats and shoes, which were too expensive for peasants to purchase. Sometimes, the poor would make hats and shoes out of cloth. During these days, the wealthy also employed the help of seamstresses and tailors, who were hired to customize clothes to fit individual sizes.
The Clothing of Royalty
The clothing of royalty differed from the rest of the people, as they were the only people allowed to wear the color purple or dress in clothing made out of velvet.
Medieval Fashions by Country
The European fashions during the medieval times kept specific trends and cultural identities in the clothes they wore, even though the time saw a great deal of common standards in fashion and clothing. For example, the Italians liked to create grand displays with their clothing. Heaviness and massive appearances were commonplace for garments belonging to Germans. The fashions in France were unpredictable and ever changing.