Like every era, the medieval era also saw many reforms and changes. These reforms were not only related to politics, economics, literature or art, but also to clothing. People’s perspective towards clothing changed and they became quite eccentric in their attitude towards their own appearances. Medieval clothing transformed the whole concept of clothing. The loose fitted dresses were replaced by tight fitted ones and there was no room for dull colors any more.
This change basically began when the soldiers came back from crusades and other countries. They used to bring different pieces of clothing with them. The royal families and the aristocrats were amused by these materials so they began to export it for their own clothing also. At first it was a difficult and time consuming process because the tailors had to be called from other countries to stitch these unique kinds of clothes. However, soon the medieval seamstresses learned the trendy flairs and cuts. So it wouldn’t be wrong to say that because of the crusades, medieval clothing became more classy and chic.
The aristocrats are usually the trend setters for mostly everything. The medieval clothing gained more popularity because of the unique style introduced by these aristocrats. Their women’s clothing was generally of silk, satin and velvet. The bodice and sleeves were tight fitted while the skirts were frilly and gave a pixie like appearance. The gloves and skirts were made of satin or silk while the sleeves and bodice were heavily embroidered. Sometimes, the gloves were also made of very fine net. The men transformed their clothing by introducing leather or fine wool or sheep skin jackets. The men’s shirts were also made of the finest silk. The women’s undergarments were made of satin while men’s were made of linen or any fine piece of cloth.
As the middle class was emerging at that time, they could also afford the luxury of these elegant medieval clothing. The women could wear the velvet and silk gowns. They were not as loaded with jewels as the aristocratic medieval women but still had the same passion for dressing. King Edward III also passed certain laws according to which the aristocrats and the middle class people should tone down their extravagant endeavors a bit so that the lower class would not get offended as there was a constant tussle between the middle and lower class. However despite these laws, the upper two classes couldn’t bring the balance, required in a society.
Therefore, the medieval lower class, as always, had to see and be the tolerant ones who bore all hardships relentlessly. This underprivileged class couldn’t leave their long dull dresses behind because they could only afford such extravagant clothing. Their clothing had to be durable so the sturdy wool dresses further hardened up the peasants; appearance wise and emotionally as well. The priests and monks were also included in the same class. They only made two or three dresses per year and saved the best of them for special occasions.
In short, medieval clothing set up a foundation for the upcoming generations and made it clear that elegance is nothing but, an attitude which is best depicted through your attire!