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CLOTHES &
ACCESSORIES

ITEMS OF CLOTHING

COTES & TUNICS

KIRTLES

SURCOTES

HOUPPELANDES

15th CENTURY GOWNS

MATERNITY WEAR

CLOAKS & MANTLES

CORSETS

UNDERWEAR

SLEEPWEAR

Items of Medieval Women's Clothing

Many items of medieval clothing are known by more than name. The basic medieval dress may be known at different periods of time or different regions as different things. Thus, a tunic, kirtle, kyrtle, cote or gown may be essentially the same garment; or at other time periods, a completely different one.

Some information from archaeological sewing finds on existing garments from both before and after this time period have been included in this website, as the number of entire garments from within the 14th century is extremely limited to fragments and state robes or ecclesiastic garments which are not an accurate portrayal of general clothing, although excellent as a examples of medieval workmanship.

The following pages look at the different pieces of clothing and dress accessories which make up a medieval woman's outfit.

COTES & TUNICS
What the early medieval woman wore

KIRTLES
A look at the basic 14th century medieval dress

SURCOTES
The outer layers of clothing

HOUPPELANDES
The late medieval outer gown

15th CENTURY GOWNS
The Burgundian gown and late medieval gowns

MATERNITY WEAR
For the medieval mother-to-be

CLOAKS & MANTLES
The medieval cloak and mantle

CORSETS
What they were and what they weren't

UNDERWEAR
A lady's underclothes reveal'd
- CHEMISES - The chemise, shift or smock
- BREAST COVERINGS - Bras, support and structure
- UNDERPANTS - What did they wear 'down there'
- HOSE & GARTERS - Leg coverings and support

SLEEPWEAR
What to wear to bed

Although she is Italian and my main field of interest is English, I've chosen Margherita Datini, the wife of a wealthy merchant and a member of the upper classes, to serve as our model woman. She is pictured at right.

Her wardrobe is listed concisely in 1339. It included 2 gowns, 11 surcotes of differing cut and fullness, and a rich overgown of heavy silk which her husband Francesco Datini had imported from Romania. She had six cold weather mantles, also full-cut
.

This gives us an idea of the quantity of clothing a well-off townswoman might reasonably expect to own.

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