What to Wear
Clothing for the medieval stallholder man

Thanks to movies, many people do not have an accurate picture of medieval clothing. Those pirate shirts with blousy sleeves which lace up at the front in a V are all wrong. So are those leather armbands that come up to the elbow like gauntlets. Leather lace-up vests. Pirate boots... all wrong.

The Robin-hood hat, or cocked cap as it's properly known, is right though! Men also usually wore decorative hoods, straw or felt hats. Ideas can be seen on the HEADWEAR page. .

Working class merchant men
You are not a peasant but neither are you a noble, and you should dress accordingly. Sumptuary Laws strictly prohibited the wearing or selling of rich purple cloth to anyone other than nobles. Middle class people were permitted many colours but blue of all shades was very popular. Peasants wore unbleached or brown cloth, with blue for attending church or festivals.

Merchants often lived in the town and had access to brighter colours and nicer dress accessories- belts, jewellery, hoods. Everyday people, dress in blues, greens, browns and yellows of brightly coloured wools and linens. Red was the most popular colour for hose and hoods.

Shown at left, a pewter badge of a jouster, one of the most popular forms of jewellery for men. Pewter badges look great on clothes, hats or hoods.

Food and drink vendors
People involved with the production of food or beverages or the cooking and serving of food wore basic tunics, had their hair covered with a hat or coif or veil if a woman and as today, wore aprons of white or unbleached linen as you would today to protect their clothing. Their clothing was practical with sleeves that were fitted enough not to drag into food or just wide enough to roll up as we would do today. Shoes styles today are dictated by Workplace Health & Safety and should be enclosed leather and protective. Not sports shoes. If you are a food or drink vendor, you are required to have your hair tied back. You might also like to wear a hairnet. Happily, hairnets are medieval.

Musicians and entertainers
Entertainers and musicians were usually travellers. Their clothing was practical and simple. Bright colours and patterns were worn- stripes, chevrons (v shapes) and particolour tunics the most often seen. Particolour tunics are made following the same basic tunic pattern only using 2 different colours of fabric; one colour on one side, one colour on the other side with the opposing sleeves in the opposite colours.

Colour Options
Medieval clothing wasn't generall purple or black for regular daywear for regular people, but that doesn't mean your colour options are limited or ugly.

Naturally dyed cloth was capable of some very pretty shades, and the trick here is to mix and match well. Some browns are very pretty teamed with red or blue or yellow
. Shown above are a selection of naturally dyed wool with traditional colours. All of these colours are suitable for stallholders.

Styles and Examples
Clothing styles of the Middle Ages consisted of usually at least two layers, but often three. The undergarment called a sherte, an tunic or cote and sometimes an outer or surcote. Knights or those in the employment of a noble household might wear a tabbard to identify themselves with their employer. If your business has suitable medieval colours, you might like to make one up for you and your staff. There is an example further below.

Layers are an easy way to keep warm, change your look and add extra colour into your wardrobe. If your clothing is lined you would line with a different colour so that as you walk, there is a flash of another colour. Lining is for those who want either more warmth or colour or to hide machine sewing. A reversible surcote gives you two different looks over the course of a weekend.

The design of your tunic is very basic, although later medieval periods have more complicated patterns. How to make easy patterns for a T-tunic is on the BASIC CLOTHING PATTERNS & TUTORIALS page.

Be aware that the basic tunic will hang like a sack on a coathanger and even when you first put it on, until you add your belt which pulls it into place.

You might find a suitable long, skinny, leather belt at an Op shop for only a few dollars. Or you might like to invest in a medieval belt with decorative metal bits and a fancy buckle. It's a great way to dress up a plain tunic!

Example 1
Very basic man's outfit

- Basic T-tunic in solid, suitable colour.
- front and side seams- only 4 seams in total.
- Split at front and back for ease of movement.
- No lacing. Pulls on over the head.
- Lined, coloured hood without buttons.
- Long, thin, undyed belt looped down front.
- Small leather bag on belt.
- Worn with small drawstring pouch.
- Felt hat without hat band.
- Could add pewter badge.
- Could add white apron.
- Plain drawstring trousers

Example 2
Easy 12th century man's outfit

- Basic T-tunic long-sleeve undersherte.
- Basic T-tunic shorter-sleeve overtunic.
- Long, thin, coloured belt looped down front.
- Embroidered bands to neck, hem and sleeves.
- Plain drawstring trousers.
- Leather slip-on shoes.
- Coloured, lined linen hood.
- Worn with bags and pouches hanging from belt.
- Could have square or V shaped neckline.
- Could also be made from wool.

Example 3
Townsman or merchant man outfit

- Laced or buttoned short-sleeved cotehardie.
- Worn with long, thin belt looped down front.
- Coloured long-sleeved undertunic.
- Usually worn with white tippets on the arms.
- Small leather bag & money pouch on belt.
- Daggued silk or velvet hood with lining.
- Pewter pilgrim badge on hood.
- Cotehardie can be made of patterned fabric.
- Can be made of wool.
- Worn with hose.
- Lacing holes not more than 2.5cm apart
- Can be work with white, linen coif (skullcap)

Example 4
Male wide-sleeve T Tunic

- Tunic with wide sleeves.
- Can be knee or ankle length or in between.
- Must have undertunic with fitted sleeves so bare arms do not show.
- Wide sleeves lined with contrasting fabric.
- Pulls on over the head.
- Worn with thin leather belt.
- Worn with fitted hose.
- Worn with chaperon hat.
- Usually worn with leather shoes

Example 5
Basic man's tabbard

- Basic T-tunic pattern with no sleeves
- Splits up the front or sides.
- Worn over a basic T-Tunic, never alone.
Can be one half one colour, one half another.
- Halves can have horizontal stripes or patterns. One half could have geometric patterns instead of solid colour. V shape shown here.
- Worn with thin, coloured leather belt.
- Worn with pouch and bag on belt.
- Worn with a coloured hood.

The finishing touches
Finishing touches make a world of difference to the way you look. Try these!

- A long white apron. Yes, men wore them too!
- A hood with or without buttons up the front.
- A hood with a fancy scalloped edge at the bottom.
- A surcote can be worn over the basic T-tunic.
- A leather or linen pouch hanging from your belt.
- A Pilgrim Badge pinned on your clothes or hood
- Round or u-shaped pouches can be coloured and have different coloured drawstrings!
- An over the shoulder fabric bag which hangs to your hip to stash valuables in.
- A great tip if you have used old woolen blankets from an op shop as a cheap wool-buying option for your hose (and it's a great idea because the wool is thick and warm on your legs), is to dye it a better colour. This disguises the fact that you have used a blanket and improves your look instantly...

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