of Medieval Women's Clothing
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
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
What the early medieval woman wore
A look at the basic 14th century medieval dress
The outer layers of clothing
The late medieval outer gown
The Burgundian gown and late medieval gowns
For the medieval mother-to-be
The medieval cloak and mantle
What they were and what they weren't
A lady's underclothes reveal'd
- The chemise, shift or smock
COVERINGS - Bras, support and structure
- What did they wear 'down there'
& GARTERS - Leg coverings and support
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.