Men’s Clothing in the Middle Ages

Clothing in the middle ages was made of wool and linen. This was the cheapest and most common material of the age. Over time as trade improved, the wealthy used silk to make clothing dyed into many colours and fur was used as trimming to cloaks and other clothing items.

The style and material changed more for the wealthy as they followed the dictates of fashion. In the later middle ages, clothing was often adorned with jewels and the clothing itself had embroidered edges and hems.

Many dyes including roots, tree bark, iron oxide and nuts were used so even the poorest of people could afford to dye their clothes. The brighter and richer the dye the more expensive it became, so these colours were restricted to nobles and the wealthy.

The basic clothing for men was a tunic and stockings. These were made from wool. Through the years of the middle ages the length and fit of the tunic may have changed but the style remained relatively the same.

Underclothes: Made of linen and sometimes wool. These may include a shirt, under tunic and underpants.

Tunic: This could be a long sleeved or sleeveless item depending on the weather. It was a one-piece item that was pulled over the head and then belted at the waist. Sometimes multiple tunics of differing lengths were worn together.

Trousers: Made of linen and worn by the wealthy. These were ankle length and belted at the waist.

Stockings or leggings: Made of wool and worn by all. Wealthy nobles had their stockings custom made, whereby the poor made them from old clothes and blankets. Another layer of stockings made of leather, for warmth and protection often covered woollen stockings.

Cloaks: These were made of sheepskin or wool and for nobles were trimmed in fur. They were fastened at the shoulder or front by a pin, clasp or brooch. In the later period the wealthy used velvet to make their cloak. These were often longer in length than cloaks worn by the poor.

Hats and Hoods: A hat (coif) was worn made of linen, hemp or felt with string attached to fasten under the chin. Many people wore hoods, some standalone and others attached to capes. These would cover the head and also sit over the shoulders.

Footwear: Shoes were made of leather straps fastened with laces. Leather boots were also worn.

Belts: Worn for necessity to fasten a cloak, hold up trousers and belt a tunic.

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