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Medieval Costume

Sunday, 18 January 2009

medieval costume Costumes are assigned to emphasize plasticity of the man body; they have become more elegant. And the costume of the Romanic period that rather reminded a monk's outfit (rough and not tailored cloth) is successfully replaced by a perfect costume tailored by all canons of the tailoring art.

So, this period is marked with the basics of cutting that could not help influencing the shapes of women costume. With newly introduced cuts the tailoring would no longer depend on the width of the weaver's loom. And discovery of a number of coloring agents is closely connected with brighter fabric production. It is obvious that all these novelties were only available for noble persons from high class society. And that time also a new social concept is created, known as fashion.

Basic peculiarities incidental to the fashion of that period:

  • passion for new idea - novelty, especially in places of its origin;
  • roaring demand to imitation;
  • frequent change of costume shape.

Within the advanced Middle Ages a sewing technique is under improvement. And the costume of that epoch first includes sleeves and darts sewed in. Though, considering that the cloth was tight and it was hard to take it off, tight sleeves were sewed in the dress for a shorter time, for the day long.  Also the tailors used laces to fasten sleeves to the dress. The tailors practiced sewing the sleeves for a permanent time only after the clasp was invented. The distinctive features of the wear silhouette of the developed Middle Ages period are presented in prolate Gothic proportions.

The door garment for women is presented by a long and loose swinging coat with wide pendent sleeves of various lengths. In spite of the great number of large textile factories, the dyeing process is improved thanks to imported dyes, which in its turn facilitates production of fabric brighter in color, though the garment of ordinary people prevail in grey and brown colors. Contrast colors of the garment make an effect of excessive ornamentality. Women costumes are available in linen, silk, wool fabric, brocade and velvet.

Married women cover their hair with expensive shawls. Under the shawls they wear the most popular women's hat, barbette, a small headscarf covering the chick and with ends tied at the back of the head. Another kind of headwear for women is gorzh, a women scarf made as a tube broad at the ends and with a slit in the back. Married women put on gorzh together with the scarf. As for shawls, they also have symbolical significance. For instance, sorrow is expressed not only in color of garment but the position of shawl that is pulled over the face in such appropriate cases. And women prefer wearing turban with evening dresses.

Also, annen, a high cone-shaped hat is practiced by women who have to squat leaving premises. Here again, its height is adjusted by the law. The most effective headwear «butterfly», a structure as a wire shell, butterfly wings shaped, and from the above the veil is fastened onto. «Rollers» - the women put on rollers covered by the elegant net. «Boxes» - the head is topped by the crown with boxes that are located just behind the ears. The puffs at temples are put in these boxes. «Horns» - a headwear in the shape of horns is put on the head and this wear is distinctive with its elegant complexity. And there are veils from the very top.

Women experience wearing golden chains, rings, ear-rings, tiaras, bracelets for hands and legs. They wear a linen girdle under the dress (from French corso - body). A very well popular masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci «Portray of lady with ermine» brought to our information the look of one of the medieval beauties.

The Medieval ladies from high society a «flea fur» fastened to the waist to avoid fleas. With the same purpose they wear the ermine fur on their shoulders and some of them found it customary to hold an ermine in hands, polecat, weasel, sable or marten. That is like a natural lure for fleas. An animal is also decorated with a golden chain onto its neck.

Shoes for women have slightly pointed toe. Shoes are made from expensive durable fabric or colored soft skin on the soft sole. Yet, shoes for women are alike shoes for men.

An impression of the long silhouette is made by narrow shoulders, high waist-line of the dress, long rather narrow skirt and a high headwear. And the silhouette is S-shaped. A woman should be fragile, with narrow sloping shoulders but as a must, with a high forehead.

The underwear consists of two dresses.

  • First - underwear - tunic.
  • Second - upper wear - cotta.

By the sides, in front of the bodice and the narrow sleeves are fastened, buttoned or laced through the cuts in the sleeves. A rob, the outer garmet, is dressed on the underwear, with the waist high line, belted under the breasts, with some shortened rather narrow skirt from the front and with the train from the back. The length of the train depends on the social status of women and is adjusted strictly by laws. Thus, the Queen's train could be of eleven cubits long; princesses and duchess could have a train of eight cubits, no longer and so forth. The higher is the social status, the longer is the train. The church call them «devil tails» and have a permanent fight with them. And the punishment for the break of the established law is quite severe - excommunication. It is interesting, but a measuring stone is mounted in Italy and the guard cut excess of train by sword.

The typical dress has a deep décolleté of triangle form from back and front.  The décolleté is closed by insets from other fabric. And very often the hem of the dress and low neck of the décolleté are trimmed by sable, ermine and weasel fur. Fabric for dresses is embroidered by patterns, and the dress for noble ladies is decorated with family coat of arms. Sleeves cover the wrists. Rob dress stands for «long dress with train» from French language.

And the pregnant woman is in vogue. Women put bosses over their ordinary dresses - small quilted pillows. They have another purpose as well- the dress is lifted in the waist and it is quite easy to pick up the hem of the dress by delicate gesture instead of tucking up the lower part of the dress from all sides. From the top they used to wear surko that gets shorter, like sleeveless jacket till the heaps. Surko is tailored with big armholes through which all the shape could be observed. And again, the church named these holes as devil windows. Surko can have a prolonged back, and with the train. Also a coat buttoned from the front to all buttons is in vogue. Women often wear coats fastened at their shoulders.

Dark muted colors are popular. Green color means a hope. And brides wear green dresses. Costumes are available in silk, brocade, taffets, velvet, elastic broadcloth and scarlet. Also linen fabric from Germany is practiced widely. Exotic fabric as well as new models of dresses and styles are imported and adopted from Turkey, Mongolia and Spain to flourish imagination of local designers.

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