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Reference, not resource-- there is no Sims 2 stuff linked here, just a lot of SCA and nerdy research and other such goodies.

Since my particular area of interest is clothing, that's most of what I'll be linking to here.

First of all, let me admit that this overview is in no way comprehensive of the ENTIRE Medieval period. The Middle Ages lasted from the fall of the Roman Empire (the specific date is hotly debated by historians, but I'm gonna say 400 because it's a nice round number) to the beginning of the Renaissance (which started in the late 1400s in Italy, but took a few decades into the 1500s to spread throughout Europe). Let's call that 1,100 years of fashion changes, legal changes, technological changes, climate changes, and population changes.

That's a fuck of a lot of changes. I don't know if Dreamwidth would support an entry that long and I certainly don't want to do that much coding. So, I'm going to focus this resource post on what I've been focusing on in my own research-- the fourteenth century, which depending on how you stack it, is either very late High Middle Ages or very early Late Middle Ages. I call it High Middle Ages, if only because I don't like the fashions more closely associated with the Late Middle Ages. It's just not my style.

Basic Background (or, What the Hell is Hat Talking About?)

Okay, so what the hell are these divisions in period?

Well, just like Chinese and Egyptian history are divided into dynasties, Western European history is divided into sections, too, they're just... not as neatly named until we start naming them after English monarchs (which not everybody does). There's Prehistoric, Classical Antiquity, Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and then you get into all the smaller periods of the Early Modern Period; the Age of Discovery, the Age of Enlightenment, et cetera. And period names like Georgian, Federal, and Empire start overlapping depending on whether you're in the British Empire, the New World, or France.

The Middle Ages is bracketed on one end by Late Antiquity, where large swaths of Europe were ruled by the Roman Empire, and the Renaissance, which was a sort of combination of factors between Europe fully recovering from the worst of the Middle Ages, finding whole new continents where they could stash their surplus population (not to mention their convicts and religious weirdos), and a single invention that helped disseminate information far and wide.

But we'll come back to that.

The Early Middle Ages, also called the Dark Ages, were agrarian and violent and scary. In the Roman Empire, the Roman Legion provided law and order and roads and social infrastructure and if somebody went into your house and took your stuff, there was a solid chance you could find a legal solution. In the Dark Ages, all this went to shit. There were barbarians invading from everywhere, including Huns, with double-recurved bows that were about as advanced to the Roman Legion as the Iron Man armor is to us. Europe as we know it would've looked a lot different if Ghengis Khan hadn't died suddenly, and all the Huns retreated back to Mongolia to vote on a new leader.

Of course, then there were widespread epidemics of smallpox and whatever the Plague of Justinian was (common consensus says it must have been the bubonic plague, but recent thinking suggests if it was a strain of y. pestis, it's a now-extinct strain as the symptoms don't match any known modern or Medieval strains).

The Church took over as much of the Empire's responsibility as it could, encouraging people to at least not be dicks to each other, because that really pisses God off.

Right around the ninth century (about five hundred years and a bunch of invasions and again, all those plagues after the fall of the Roman Empire), Europe started collectively getting its shit together, coming up with the Feudal system, which was based on a sort of mutual obligation; the king owned the land and wrote the laws, the nobles lived in strategic fortresses (castles; the difference between a castle and a palace is how well you could survive a zombie apocalypse in one) on the land and provided the king with military service and protection for the peasantry, the peasants farmed the land and provided the everybody with food. Everybody supported everybody else (the church was kind of off to one side as a self-governing body, but the church had most of the doctors). Patriotism was unknown because people weren't loyal to their country, but loyal to their king and their lord. And labor was cheap, because the whole birth control thing wasn't super-effective. (Medical science would not figure out what menstruation was actually for until somewhere in the Victorian era.)

(Also, there are Vikings mixed in here. I will come back to Vikings; I have a whole section planned on them later.)

This was a pretty solid system. Feudalism had staying power; it lasted on out of the Dark Ages and into the High Middle Ages, which started in roughly 1000 AD. Feudalism supported Charlemagne's empire, it saw the Battle of Hastings, and it started to see the rise of loyalty to king and country. It also saw education reforms and quite a bit of artwork, now that people were feeling more secure. Christendom made great strides, managing to get those pesky Vikings worshipping the Hvitchrist and not raiding so damn much anymore. The climate was good; the Medieval Warm Period was going strong, and there were enough crops to support a steadily growing population.

Chivalry got started in the eleventh century, too, which actually wasn't terribly good news for damsels and the weak and helpless, because chivalric conduct really only applied to other knights. (You've seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Think 'parley,' under their ficticious code. You have to actually BE a pirate for another pirate to give a crap when you request parley.) Along with chivalry, heraldry got started.

The Crusades were in there, too. Look, the High Middle Ages weren't awesome, they were just better than the Dark Ages.

Even if it wasn't great, it was too good to last. The High Middle Ages started blending into the Late Middle Ages right around the start of the fourteenth century.

In 1315, there was a famine that lasted two years, kicked off by heavy rain that triggered crop failures and meant that straw and hay for livestock couldn't be cured. The price of food skyrocketed, as did the price of salt (used to preserve meat), because seawater couldn't be effectively evaporated. Starvation and malnutrition weakened the people and the survivors had eaten so much of their seed stock and so many draft animals to get through the famine that it took until 1325 for the food supply-- and the population-- to bounce back.

Ten years isn't really 'bouncing back,' though. It's more of a steady climb.

However, in 1348, the second big crisis of the period struck. You know this one. It's the Black Death. Don't blame the rats, blame the fleas the rats carried, which actually spread the blood-borne version of the plague. There were at that time two species of rat in Europe; today in the US, anyway, we call them the sewer rat and the roof rat. (Also called the Norwegian rat and the ship rat, or the black rat and the brown rat.) The roof rat is the notorious plague rat, and the Black Death killed off a greater percentage of the European roof rat population than the human population, such that most European pest rats today are sewer rats, except in the warmest areas.

... Of course, the roof rat population wasn't really helped by the THIRD crisis of the period, either. In 1350, just two years after the Black Death swept through Europe and parts of Asia, the Medieval Warm Period-- which had started to close with the heavy rains in 1315-- was definitely dead, and the Little Ice Age was rising in its place.

It... almost didn't matter, though. The Little Ice Age, in those first few hundred years, didn't cut crop production in most of Europe as badly as the Great Famine had (the Norsemen had some big problems, but they also hadn't been hit as badly by the Black Death), and the Black Death had reduced the population by something like 50-90%, depending on the area. So there was moderately less food to go around, but vastly fewer people to eat it.

What really shifts Europe from the High Middle Ages to the Late Middle Ages is that, in the wake of all that tragedy... the value of EVERYTHING changed.

Lumber, which was vital for things like... cooking, and not dying in the winter, got cheaper, because the forests that had been cut down for buildings and ships and lances and firewood and furniture and ox-carts and ploughs and shovels and you get the idea, well, those forests began to grow back, so lumber got cheaper.

Paper got cheaper. Well, fiber paper. What you did with cloth in the middle ages was, you wore it until you couldn't wear it anymore, then you cut the garment down for something else-- a child's garment, a hood, a hat. You used what couldn't be re-used for rags. When even the rags were worn out, you sold them to the rag-and-bone man, who sold them at a profit to the paper merchants, who boiled and bleached the fuck out of them and made... well, paper. But once seventy percent of your town had died but the plague had passed through, you suddenly had way more clothing and fabric than you knew what to do with. You kept the best things, but after you were done making new coifs and veils and garters and hoods, and stuffing mattresses and cloth dolls and toy balls... There were really a LOT of rags for the rag-and-bone man. So where linen paper had once been exorbitantly expensive, suddenly, it was affordable even to the peasantry.

Manual labor got WAY more expensive. There just weren't enough peasants to go around to do all the work. Technology that had been stagnant (there were prohibitions against technology that made production easier, because it was believed doing more in less time would increase idleness in the masses) had to be revolutionized, because there weren't enough people to do it. Paper's ready availability meant more peasants were becoming literate, enabling them to keep up with the clergy and nobility in the legal arena. The merchant class began to rise, commoners who were as rich as lords, and dressed like it.

The last nail in the coffin of the Middle Ages came in 1450, when Gutenberg-- the first European to develop a movable-type printing press-- published a bible printed entirely with movable type, instead of full-page engravings. (Movable type had existed five hundred years before, in China, but the Chinese language is made up of more than sixty thousand characters. It's not quite as practical as movable type in the Latin alphabet.) Combined with suddenly-cheap paper and soaring literacy rates, the least peasant could afford to keep himself informed of what was going on in the world around him.

Forty-ish years later, when the middle class made it clear they weren't going to go back to being peasants any time soon, the population had more than recovered from the Black Death, and Europe was starting to get crowded again, a Portuguese guy trying to find an alternate route to India for the Spanish Queen got fucking lost and discovered a new world. ... You know, a couple hundred years after the Vikings discovered it and settled in what would become Newfoundland in Canada. ... Several thousand years after a bunch of northeast Asians fled a fucking ice age over the now-submerged land bridge between modern-day Russia and Alaska. Anyway, Colombus introduced white colonists, Catholocism, and a whole host of unpleasant diseases to the New World, died believing he'd found Asia's east coast, six years later. And the banks are closed on the second Monday in October in the US.

The world changed again, but the Age of Exploration is absolutely not the Middle Ages, so my overview full of overly-broad generalizations (seriously I have skimmed over pretty much all the wars and 99% of the religion and all of the architecture) comes to a close.

I mean, I'm supposed to be talking about clothes, and the closest I got to that was mentioning that the middle classes started dressing really well.

Let's talk about clothes now. We'll start with the very basics.

Underwear in the Middle Ages (Lengberg, Garters, and Smallclothes)

The important thing to realize about Medieval underwear is that we barely know a damn thing about it. Our modern knowledge of Medieval clothing in general comes from contemporary visual sources like paintings, written documentation (often, sermons preaching against some fad of fashion, or documents like wills), and the rare extant example. Clothing preserved by design is going to be the good stuff, the things that absolutely were not worn every day, and were meant to be passed down through the generations. Underwear doesn't qualify. Clothing depicted in paintings was often meant to make an artistic, religious, or allegorical statement as much as look like idealized versions of what people wore. Underwear rarely plays a part.

Now, since I've gone on about chausses and braises before (I'll go on about them again, with links, for completeness's sake), I want to first talk about some finds that have had the Historical Fashion Nerd centers of the internet buzzing for the last few months.

The Lengberg bras.

In 2008 in Lengberg Castle in Austria, renovators lifted up floorboards first laid in the 15th century to find some unusual insulation-- worked wood, leather (some shoes) and cloth rags.

Clearly, when you were planning a home renovation project in the Middle Ages, you didn't sell your old clothes to the rag-and-bone man; you saved them to use as recycled insulation. Four of the rags found stuffed between the floorboards turned out to resemble relatively modern bras. The only one I've seen where I understand how the danged thing goes on is the 'corsolette' style bra that all the articles show carefully pinned to a dress dummy; the rest might fit like sports bras or halter tops. (There are lots of articles with bigger pictures of one bra or the other, or more information on the lace insertions. The article I linked is the only one with pictures of all three garments commonly photographed out of the Lengberg finds.)

These are Late Middle Ages finds, but the way outer clothing was made through the High Middle Ages could definitely have benefitted from some support structure, especially for the more well-endowed ladies. Yes, a good wool dress can and will provide its own bust support, but until the Lengberg finds were publicised, most of us assumed a Medieval lady who really needed a flopper stopper would resort to Roman-style breast bindings.

This is entirely plausible, but also not exactly convenient for breastfeeding.

There is also some artistic support for a sort of sports bra-slash-slip, mostly referened in Germanic and Austrian art, but with a couple of Italian examples, as well. (Also, the same blogger decided to share their progress on a reproduction.)

What a Medieval woman used to support her breasts was likely based on their size and her preferences, much like women today, but smaller breasts were fashionable. One of the written records we have supporting support garments for women is a sermon decrying the practice of pushing the breasts upward to create cleavage. While the Lengberg and slip-bras don't seem to be this sort of garment, the effect can be achieved with bindings--there are instructions here.

Worth noting is that contemporary art suggests the ideal Medieval breast was high, small, and very round. It's possible the sports-slips or bandage-bindings were used when a smooth, clean line was required, while the Lengberg-style tuttensack would've been brought out for that sexy lift-and-separate look.

The other interesting Lengberg find is what appears to be a pair of sexy panties. They're simple, just a properly-shaped strip of linen (much-patched) with cord ties.

Except archaeologists are saying these sexy panties were probably meant for a man. (Please note, picture contains no naughty bits but is less safe for work than pictures of ancient underwear.)

It isn't that Medieval women didn't wear underpants. Medieval women must have worn underpants at least 25% of the time, because tampons weren't a thing yet and there are euphemistic mentions of rags and flowers and such. But underpants were considered a men's garment, and all the paintings, drawings, woodcuts, and etchings we have of Medieval women wearing or donning underpants are usually of the 'ho ho ho, she is usurping her henpecked husband's place in the household, such a shrew will surely meet her comeuppance!' variety. However, it's entirely plausible to provide your Medieval Sim ladies with bra-only underwear.

Medieval men, on the other hand, documentably DID wear underpants, and not just the skimpy Lengberg variety. Mens' hemlines changed more drastically in the Middle Ages than women's hemlines, so their underpants had to keep up.

The earliest braises were intended to hold up a man's hose and protect his outer garments from his skin and his skin from his outer garments (everything was wool, so, yeah, substitute 'skin' with the anatomical euphemisms of your choice), and they were pretty darned enormous. My go-to reference pages for men's underwear are at Greydragon's Library:

Sherts, Trewes, & Hose 1
Sherts, Trewes, & Hose 2
Sherts, Trewes, & Hose 3

Looking at the pictures in Part 1, you'll see plenty of artwork from the Early and High Middle Ages that are tremendously baggy, but start to get more streamlined and speedo-like as you get closer to 1500 and the official start of the Renaissance.

In the Dark Ages-- which were smack in the Medieval Warm Period, climate change is a scary thing-- it would be perfectly normal to see a peasant man out in his field in the summer in nothing but his knee-length or longer braises, doing whatever farmer-y business he had to do. The long braises would be tucked into chausses-- or rather, chausses would be rolled up over the long braises-- to protect the wool chausses from the leg as much as possible. The chausses were then tied, front and back, to the braises. A garter at the knee might be necessary, or desirable for show, but often wasn't.

By the late High and definitely the Late Middle Ages, braises changed because hose changed. with tunics ever-shortening, it started becoming practical to tie the chausses directly to an undertunic, relying on the shoulders to carry the weight of them. The blousy early braises suddenly started to look a lot more like regular underwear-- boy-cut shorts, or the Lengberg underpants. By the beginning of the 1400's, instead of tunics that covered the crotch and chausses that didn't, joined hose were becoming popular. Not only did they show off a man's sexy leg (no, seriously, that was part of the point), they showed off the sexy backside, too. And not to be outdone by his own calves and tush, many men started exaggerating what had been a simple access hatch into the giggle-worthy codpiece.

Chausses and stockings rarely rose higher than necessary, though; a woman's hose were gartered below the knee, and in the winter, a man wearing a long tunic might wear knee-high stockings, as well, instead of bothering with his long summer ones.

Garters for women were a necessity; for men they varied between being a necessity and a fashion statement, drawing attention to those sexy, sexy calves. Remember, one of the chief aspects of male beauty was a well-turned leg. Women tend to carry more fat in the leg, and have less-prominent muscles even when the fat deposits are minimal; men's legs, even their thighs, don't usually end up with feminine fat distribution, and they gain muscle faster and retain it better than women, so their legs tend to be more shapely. What's particularly unfair is that a heavyset, active man is likely to have even better legs than a slim active man, simply because hauling his gut around makes his legs work harder, which makes the muscles more defined.

The default Maxis fat morph is pretty much based on 'heavyset man who has never done anything more strenuous than set up a computer so he can sit and play video games for fourteen hours a day.' I highly recommend Aquilegia's Improved Male Fat Morph for Medieval games; even the wealthiest, laziest slob HAS to take a flight of stairs a couple of times a day.

Let's see, bust support, braises, chausses, stockings, garters.

Just a couple more things and then we'll move outward a little.

One thing I keep saying is that underwear was worn to protect the body from the clothing and the clothing from the body. Linen was lighter-weight and easier to launder and dry than wool. It kept scratchy fabrics away from the skin and smells and oil away from the wool. So as well as underpants of linen, undershirts and underdresses were worn, too. Men wore shirts, women wore smocks, shifts, or, if you were French, chemises. (Usually I default to French terms-- 'chausses' instead of 'hosen'-- unless there are more accents than I want to bother with. 'Chemise' is apparently the exception; my brain thinks it's Victorian and I keep saying 'shift,' instead.)

These were rarely but definitely occasionally seen; see June and July of the Tres Riches Heures for at least one man in each image working the field in shirt, braises, and nothing else, and June for a woman with her skirt rucked up to show her shift. (February shows the same doughty peasants warming their, erm, cockles. Even the man has on knee-high chausses and no braises, because his long winter shirt and tunic would cover everything else.)

In the High and Late Middle Ages, the shift was a close-fitted garment, because part of its job was to act like a slip, and keep the kirtle and gown skimming smoothly over the body, not showing any lumps or bumps or the ties on that tuttensack, or whether or not you needed to wear a pair of braises today. Thus, either the neckline was wide, as in the example above or this one here, or keyhole necklines, which I am having trouble finding images of but are much more convenient for things like nursing.

In fact, if you skim down to the 'Feeding' section here, you'll see another option for shifts-- nursing slits. I honestly have no idea if these were period (nursemaids didn't get their portraits painted often), but given that peasant women would have worn shifts and kirtles and nursed their babies, I'm going to call this one plausible.

(Also of note, while modesty was definitely a big deal in the Middle Ages, there would have been much less fuss about a woman breastfeeding in public than there is today.)

Men's shirts would have been short or long (*gives Revival Clothing the side-eye* why do the MEN get keyhole necklines? There's a round-necked version, too) depending on the length of his tunic. Again, these would've been slim-fitting, not voluminous-- aside from sleeves and maybe a hint of neckline, they're not actually meant to show.

Naturally, shifts, shirts, and smocks could be worn as nightclothes as well as underwear, but very freqenty Medieval couples are shown in bed wearing nothing but their caps!

Which brings me to that category of Medieval clothing I am so passionate about-- the coif, clout, and cap (and variation for that Medieval Minnie Mouse look). These aren't hats so much as headcoverings, often the foundation for a hat. They were worn for several reasons-- most people covered their heads for modesty's sake, but when they wore hats or hoods, they tended to be either hard to wash, inclined to grab at the hair, or both. Likewise, since it was much easier to wash a little coif than a big pillowcase and bedsheet, headcoverings like these were worn to bed to help keep the sheets clean.

Everything but chausses would've been made out of linen. (Though there's some provenance for winter underwear being made of wool or fustain, a wool/silk blend, particularly in more northerly climates.) Linen is good, hard-wearing stuff, water-resistant, and a good insulator. Left wet in the sun, it bleaches white, but left dry in the sun, it starts to yellow. Thus, really really white linens were a sign of affluence-- they implied you could afford a really good laundress who'd get your stuff out of the light the moment it was dry.

Menswear in the 14th Century

Right around the High-to-Late Middle Ages interchange, the robe began to fall out of fashion for men. Up until this point, the cut of men's clothing had been very similar to the cut of women's clothing; men tended to wear shorter robes for practicality's sake or for riding, but pretty much everyone wore clothes along the same lines. The way you told rich from poor was based on the fineness of the fabric, the richness of the dye, and how much extra cloth a rich person could afford to have in their robes. (You can see in that diagram a large triangular gore in the front of the garments; rich folk added more of those for fuller skirts, and for their best clothes had long hems that puddled on the ground.)

For some reason, the 14th century saw the rise of deliberately short tunics. And more fitted, too-- the cote was more tailored than the tunic, if not as tailored as the cotehardie (the 'hardie' part seems to mean close-fitting). There were even some fairly dramatic sleeve variations, although a simpler style remained popular for men who couldn't afford buttons or didn't want to fiddle with them or laces when doing everyday work.

The pourpoint was an undergarment sometimes stripped down to for heavy work; it resembles a later doublet, but this is the undertunic you'd tie your chausses to if your braises were skimpy. It began as a way to keep your leg armor up, but clothing regularly took its cues from armor-- the elegantly pointed poulaine seen on men, women, and children as an everyday shoe started off in life as a long pointed toe on maille hose, intended to keep a knight's foot in his stirrup (and thus a knight in his saddle) on the battle or tourney field.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, length and volume did come back into men's fashion in the Houpplelande, which is utterly enormous but also kind of neat looking, and a return to that 'I am so wealthy that I can afford this much impractical fabric' statement.

These would've been made of wool most of the time, linen in hot weather, silk occasionally or for rich men's best clothes, or fustian. Unlike today's clothing, there were no gender associations with dye colors in the Middle Ages, and pink would've been a perfectly acceptable (if not necessarily very rich-looking) color for a man to wear, without ever having to describe it as 'a lightish red.'

Then there's a garment I only recently discovered, and I'm pretty excited about making it for my game. The gambeson was an arming tunic, meant to wear under armor or as a sort of light armor on its own. The gambeson was a heavily-quilted tunic that... really, probably couldn't stop a sword or arrow strike, but was likely enough for a town guard who might be expected to break up a knife fight at the local tavern. Under a coat of maille, the gambeson would definitely be enough to keep a sword or knife from reaching the mark, might've reduced a lance-wound to a massive bruise, and probably could've kept early arrowheads (arrowheads changed from being big broad barbed A-shapes, useful for hunting men and animals who weren't wearing chainmaille, to tapered, bullet-like points that saw maille as a loosely connected series of holes) from leaving any kind of mark at all.

Gambesons could be made of different lengths, in different colors, and even with heraldic devices involved, or as separate leg padding, but they could also have been worn without metal armor for sparring, training, or situations where light armor would suffice. You can see more examples of gambesons and other arming wear here (ignore the Assassin's Creed replica). I used to have a page with more interesting variations, but I've lost it and no amount of googling seems to locate it again.

At any rate, the Gambeson is that little bit of color you see between the hip plates of the Open for Business full-plate armor. See how it all goes on here. (See a different variation, called a holledoublet, here. Instead of being worn under maille, it has tiny brass rings sewn inside. I kind of love the dog's boar-hunting armor!)

Women's Clothes in the 14th Century

This one could drag on for a while, but it follows some of the same developments as menswear. Again, in the Dark Ages, women's kirtles looked a lot like men's robes, belted and bloused over aprons, purses, keys, or the like. Then things started getting tailored.

We've already discussed the tuttensack, braises, chausses, garters, supportive shifts, and ordinary shifts, but there's technically one more underlayer to a Medieval gown-- the kirtle, which could be long or short-sleeved, front-laced, side-laced, back-laced, or not laced at all and just a pull-on garment like the shift. Though the kirtle could be worn as an outer garment (and often was), it was also regularly worn under gowns-- the dark layer under this lady's blue gown is her kirtle-- or sideless surcotes.

What really defines the kirtle as a kirtle is its position worn next to the shift. It can be called a gown or cote if there's no other overlayer.

Yeah, 'cote' essentially just means 'outer layer.' There are men's cotes and women's cotes and it can get fairly confusing. It's easier to say tunic and gown, but when you're researching, be aware that 'cote' is a unisex word.

So is cotehardie, basically meaning a cote that is particularly snug through the torso.

At any rate, gowns in the fourteenth century were usually closely fitted to the body. Sometimes they were closed with laces, sometimes with plate buttons, sometimes with self buttons, sometimes they hardly had any closures (although that's early in the 14th century, it seems like a practical outfit for, say, nursing an infant), and sometimes they laced over a placket for either contrast or to cover weight gain or pregnancy. Front-lacing was cheapest and easiest, back-lacing gave an elegant smooth front but required help to get into. Side-lacing was a compromise, being possible to reach yourself and keeping the front looking flawless. Self-buttons were cheap-- little balls made of the same fabric as your gown or tunic-- but fiddly as hell to make (of course, you've got more time in the winter when there are no crops to tend), while metal buttons were expensive and thus dressed up a front-closing gown when Her Ladyship wanted to put her own damned dress on in the morning, thank you. Long, tight sleeves were generally closed the same way as the bodice, but could be left open to dangle.

Speaking of dangly sleeves, earlier centuries did have some interesting sleeve variations, and of course there's the bliaut.

If one was wearing a kirtle and a gown, it was entirely plausible to tuck the gown up into the belt, either just a little from the front of the skirt, as though lifting it to walk down a flight of stairs, or from the belt. A little lift showed off your contrasting or embellished underskirt, while a big tuck from the hem kept your overskirt out of the mud or dust, so you could let it down and look nice and clean later in the day.

Children's Clothes in the 14th Century

I can't just say 'see above,' can I? Okay, here's the thing.

Babies and toddlers are rarely seen in Medieval artwork; all the babies I've seen have either been naked, firmly swaddled, or Jesus. Wealthy children were sent out to live with their nursemaids when they were newborns, and as such didn't make it into a lot of portraits. There's a suggestion that babies were kept swaddled (wrapped snugly in blankets, sometimes secured with bands) far longer than we'd consider wise these days. Newborns actually do often love to be swaddled, because it mimics the constrained feeling of the womb.

On the other hand, some newborns love to flail and will work their way out of any blanket tucked around them, or if they can't, they'll wail until it's removed. So, swaddling: good idea if baby likes it, bad idea if baby hates it. Probably shouldn't go beyond a month or so, though.

One theory as to why Medieval babies were kept swaddled so long, even bound in their swaddling clothes with belts or tied down in their cradles, was because there was just no possible way to baby-proof a peasant hut, reeve's freehold, or even a castle. The walls were likely as not made of stone, the hearths were open, there were rushes on the floor that were full of dog hair, mud, and probably rodent droppings. When babies explore the world, they do it on their bellies and their hands and knees, and they have an alarming tendency to try to learn about their world by putting it in their little toothless baby mouths.

Babies who were swaddled for the first year of their infancy stood a better chance of surviving to childhood than those who weren't. It was arguably pretty cruel, but it wasn't cruel for its own sake.

So it's MUCH better to look to re-enactors and how they cope with having children and toddlers at events than at extant Medieval sources, because much as it might be nice to tie that Sim toddler into their crib, Sims don't usually cooperate with that sort of nonsense.

This mom found a few sculptures to base a baby gown on, cut down a damaged adult dress to make a hood, and the little guy seems to really enjoy himself.

Ælflæd of Duckford shares tips and pictures of her kids at Society for Creative Anachronism events; she's also got some links.

The LiveJournal community Garb The Child has pictures, research, and ideas from everything from the fourth to seventeenth centuries; I constantly squee when I browse because there's just nothing cuter than tiny children in garb. Infant and toddler highlights include baby's first feast complete with heraldic tabard (putting your kid in your heraldry, if you have it, is a good way to spot them if they wander off, or help them know where they're supposed to go back to), and this nineteen-month-old provided some of Cynnix's inspiration for her toddler gowns. This little guy is garbed to grow into it; he's not what I'd think of as a baby or toddler anymore, and so he's dressed pretty much like a miniature adult, with a super-long tunic he'll still be able to wear in a year or three. His pattens, worn over just his hose with no shoes, are a particularly spiffy detail.

Basically, the things to keep in mind when making or downloading Medieval clothes that work for children are but three:

1. For infants and toddlers, a T-tunic, long or short, with good diaper access cooperates better with animations than a lot of other options.
2. Just because they'll technically grow into something else doesn't mean the 'grow into it' look isn't frickin' adorable.
3. Children who are potty trained are pretty much dressed as miniature adults. No tuttensacks and if you're late enough for codpieces, kids should have understated ones (or just longer tunics than Papa; little six-year-old Hans might have more trouble with the ties than a grown man), but by and large? Just scale down the grown-up clothes.

Medieval Outerwear

There were several options for what to wear when it got cold outside in the Middle Ages. The first and simplest one, of course, was to just put on another layer over what you had on. Over the long-sleeved kirtle went the gown, the short-sleeved kirtle got false sleeves and a gown. Over the tunic went the cote, or the supertunic if you had one. A gambeson could probably be pretty warm, too.

Still cold? Then put on a mantle or cloak, a hood, and some hard-wearing gloves, not those fancy falconry gloves.

Vikings had a few more options, including a ladies' coat, but I'll get to Vikings all in their own section.

Hats in the 14th Century

You knew this was coming.

But lets start simple, with the veil. Well, maybe not that simple, because there are some very definite variations in how veils were worn. Still, they were worn throughout the Middle Ages, and never went out of fashion. Whether the neck was covered or not seems to have varied (and definitely seems practical for converting several layers of regular clothes into winter clothes), but from as soon as you can get a kid to keep a fillet band on all the way up to laying great-grandmother in the grave, it was entirely appropriate for a Medieval woman to wear a veil. (On special occasions, queens were expected to go with their hair uncovered, in some times and places. In certain parts of Italy, prostitutes were supposed to leave their hair uncovered. But mostly? Headgear.)

Of course, there were several far fancier ways to wear a veil than just pinning it to your fillet and barbette. You could wear your crown over it, if you were of high enough station to wear a crown (or simple metal circlet, which was far less officiated), you could put a toque over your wimple and under your veil (the wimple is the bit that covers the chin and neck; the veil is the bit that goes over the head. Hood-like wimples-- think Merida's dress clothes in Brave-- also existed, but were still called wimples), settle a bycocket on top of it if you were going hawking or riding or shooting, drape it over your crispinettes or templars, pin it to your heart-shaped hennin with a decortive brooch, dress up like Christine di Pisan in an Attor de Gibet, lay your veil over a truncated or steeple hennin (truncated hennins: England and Burgundy. Steeple hennins: France and modern-day Brussels). You could wing your veil out over the wire framework of the flowerpot hennin, suspend it from the back of a Flemish hood, or do whatever the heck that first effigy is doing. That's a lot of ruffles.

Or you could just wear the veil, simple and elegant. Doesn't have to be oval, either-- rectangular veils look good, too.

I've already linked to hoods, but hoods-- and chaperons-- are so very of-the-period that it's worth mentioning they were a cross-class garment; it wasn't just nobility that wore them. In fact, the chaperon-- probably the root of the rolled hat we see in modern reproductions-- very likely started off as peasant gear. A field worker starts off with his hood on in the morning, then it gets warm, so he rolls it up and turns it into a hat. Because he can't just drop it on the ground. That's not how we take care of things.

The Bycocket is also a unisex hat, and both sexes wore simple straw hats shaped like the one seen here, rather than the flat brims and round domes we're used to.

Funnily enough, the buttoned hood here actualy appears to be a London hood, more of a women's garment.

Cap of Dignity was a man's hat, though, as well as all the other hats in the Medieval Design hat section.

To make a long story short, Medieval people all throughout the period wore things on their heads. They didn't stop once they hit the Renaisance, either. ... Really, fashionable hats didn't even start to slow down until the middle of the twentieth century.

Medieval Shoes

Okay, shoes.

The first thing I feel like I ought to talk about is something that doesn't actually have any practical application in the Sims, but totally deserves a mention anyway.

Pattens, which we saw earlier in that post where the little boy got dressed, protect your shoes. It looks like most of the shoes we see in Medieval artwork or find extant examples or remnants of were leather turnshoes-- stitched leather uppers with leather soles. Basically slippers, even the boots. If you were going to wear them in wet weather, snow, or over rocky terrain, it really helped to both protect the shoe and protect your feet to have a set of pattens. they're basically sandals that are cut to the same shape as your shoes sole. Some flat examples have a leather hinge, like these two, while these have a carved sole more like platform shoes.

Okay, now I feel like I can talk about shoes.

Shoes are awesome.

One, that pointy shape we all know and love is called a poulaine. Some poulaines are longer than others in period artwork, this is because of status and foppery and sumptuary laws and whyinhell the shoes are so pointy anyway.

See, the first pointy shoe in Medieval Europe wasn't to make the foot look long and elegant, it was to help a knight stay in his stirrup, and thus his saddle, if he had to stand up in a fight. I feel like I mentioned that somewhere when I was talking about armor, but it's worth repeating. Knights and lords and other horsemen decided they liked how the long shoes made their legs look, and started copying the design in leather. It spread like wildfire, to the point where you hardly see a single rounded toe in Medieval artwork. The toes did get long and impractical, because when you were trying to look more awesome than the peasants, having to wire and curl the toes of your shoes just so you could walk in them absolutely wasn't too far. Neither was having to tie the tips of your toes to the garters at your knees. Nope, not too far at all.

These turnshoes should look familiar to anyone who's used FantasyRogue's poulaines. Ankle boots like these may actually have been more common. For those readers starting to sulk about the lack of sexy thigh-high boots in the Middle Ages, take heart! Riding boots helped to protect the leg while on horseback, and a knee-high version helped in tramping through the woods to hunt things you didn't have to hunt on horseback. (In Texas today, they hunt boars with guns. In Europe a thousand years ago, they used swords.)

Medieval shoes could have fairly elaborate decoration, or be simple and sleek. There are a wide variety of shoe styles here, many based on extant examples or remnants.

By and large, expect peasants to wear practical shoes-- impractical shoes are the purview of the nobility. In some places, the nobility tried to enact sumptuary laws to limit whose shoes could be how long and pointy. Baby shoes existed, looking a lot like adult shoes, because tiny shoes are adorable and always have been. Children may or may not have worn shoes; while baby shoes could be made out of scrap leather, children's shoes are just big enough to be a waste of leather if they outgrow them before they wear them out. Then as now, hand-me-downs happened, and pattens over chausses made for a perfectly practical way to keep your heir's feet warm and dry.

Purses, Gloves, and Accessories

Or, Awesome Things to Hang from your Belt.

Purses sometimes slid over the belt and sometimes dangled from it; sometimes they were elaborately made of rich stuffs, and sometimes simple, sturdy leather. Like more modern purses, they were where you kept the necessities when you went out-- coins, keys (well, with an exception I'll get to later), handkerchiefs, pomanders, gloves, whatever 'precious treasure' of a rock your kid handed you on the way to town...

Only instead of being the sole province of Mom, men wore purses, too. I won't say pockets were unknown in the Middle Ages, because I'm not certain of that, but I can say that pockets probably weren't popular, as they'd spoil the line of your clothes.

Gloves were totally a thing in the Middle Ages, and I'd dearly love to make some someday. The fancier kinds were meant for wealthy folks while out doing the things wealhty folks did, like riding fine horses, hawking, or hunting, while some were for heavy work. (I'm told, but haven't seen proof, that Vikings wore three-fingered gloves while sailing in the cold.)

Plenty of other things hung from belts, too, like rosaries, girdle books (a little late, but still neat), knives with their scabbards, maybe a costrel, and, if you constantly needed to have them at the ready, a ring of keys. (Just going down to the market? The key can go in your pouch. Castle chatelaine or seneschal who needs to check on things all the time? Easier hung from the belt.)

Bells were also occasionally hung from belts. Modern re-enactors sometimes use bells to keep an ear on their kids while their eyes are busy.

And then there's my favorite Medieval accessory-- eyeglasses. Evidently these are stupidly rare to find, but we know from art and from impressions left in books, like this one, that Medieval eyeglasses in a pince-nez sort of style did exist.

As someone who has worn eyeglasses since the age of nine, that makes me particularly happy.


I actually seriously do not know a lot about Viking clothing. But nobody knows a LOT for sure, because the Viking age only really lasted a few hundred years. Most of what we know about Vikings in terms of contemporary sources rather than archaeological finds comes from post-Christian documents or from Ibn Fadlan's account of the Rus Vikings.

So, fashion-wise, here's what I do know:

We know for sure that Viking women wore a kirtle covered by a simple rectangle of fabric held on by brooches made of the best metal they could afford. We know essentially how those brooches were made. We don't know how the dresses themselves went together. Here's an article with five possibilities. And here's a sixth one that may explain why all the loops found inside Viking tortoise brooches are white linen-- they wouldn't have shown, with the overdress assembled this way. There's some evidence that, at least in one specific area, the apron dress was dyed a blue-black with woad or indigo, on all the dresses found in Birka graves.

We know the treasure necklace was a real thing, and although none of my links have corroborating evidence, there seems to be a general consensus that treasure necklaces were strung between the tortoise brooches, not looped around the neck. (They totally wore stuff around the neck, though.) We know that Vikings loved beads, and often overpaid to get them. We know they wore jewelry, the best they could afford, male and female alike.

We know that the Norse countries were really frickin' cold even during the Medieval Warm Period, so we know that in the winter, women not only wore their apron dresses and whatever their under-dresses looked like (pleated? Dyed? We don't know for sure), they wore overcoats, unbelted and possibly with long trains (as status allowed), shawls, and at least one more possible overcoat variation-- a long-sleeved, long-backed, but frontless coat that managed to cover the shoulders and stay put without any brooches at all.

We don't know if the apron dress was belted, but we do know that in Norse countries (not places like Jorvik/York where the Norse invaded and settled), they didn't wear leather belts with metal or bone buckles over the apron dress. We don't know if little girls wore apron dresses (although we know they look incredibly adorable in them).

I don't know how we know so much more about what the men wore, but we sure seem to.

The basic tunic seems pretty similar to tunics everywhere, although the Vikings may have had the interesting habit of sewing their sleeves closed (or wrapping their lower arms with fabric strips over the sleeves, and sewing those down). This seems a little bit nuts, but it also sure sounds like it would stop drafts from getting up the sleeve.

Speaking of stopping drafts, we also know that Vikings wore trousers, big loose blousy ones, although they also tied them to fit close to the leg. Because men have sexy calves and because it's another layer of insulation against the cold.

We don't have a damn clue what Vikings wore as underwear.

We do know that Viking men wore large rectangular cloaks, fastened closed with pennanular or annular brooches, and offset to keep the right arm free. Because you never know when you might have to fight a guy even though the sky keeps throwing down weather.

Vikings did indeed wear hats, because it was cold outside and you lose a lot of body heat from your head. There were some nifty little skullcaps, some hoods that look exactly like every other hood we've seen, only possibly fur-lined and without all the fancy dagging (it's not France, it's Norway, and all that cut-out fabric could've been keeping your chest warm), and some hats attributed to the Rus Vikings (who got all the way to Russia and graciously gave the country their name) that look like Santa Claus hats without the pompom on the end.

This is entirely reasonable; if you've ever bought yourself a really nice Santa hat for the holidays (and I'm not talking velvet and rabbit fur, I'm talking high-quality synthetic fur that isn't made of 100% itchiness; mine came from Toys R Us about ten years ago and I still cheerfully use it to keep my head warm in December), you might notice that they're actually really, really warm.

Weirdly, socks appear to have been ankle-high, and unlike chausses and hose and stockings in other places, they appear to have been made of wool yarn. Not knitted, though, needle-bound. It's more primitive than knitting, using only a single thick needle, but apparently once you get it down, the technique is very fast. You really don't want to skip the thick wool socks in Norse country; the Vikings went through shoes fast (they're common finds in Norse trash pits), but feet in good wool socks stay warm even if they get wet.

Viking clothes are often found with tablet-woven trim around the necklines, or across the fronts of apron dresses. This might've been a form of decoration they brought with them to the British Isles, where they came to plunder and pillage and rifle and loot and stayed because it wasn't cold as cold balls cold outside.

What've I covered, men, women, shoes, socks, tablet-weaving, jewelry, Mysterious Apron Dresses... Oh wait, I know one more thing!


French word, Viking artform. These particular examples are all from Birka grave sites. Basically, a posament is a metal ornament that is sewn directly to a piece of clothing, similar to the way we'd use fabric trim today. The site has some examples of potential use on Viking garments; decoration for those Rus hats, or for the little skullcaps, or between two borders of tablet-woven trim around the neckline, as a border on a purse, or even running across the top of an apron dress in lieu of tablet-woven trim. I've used some of these as decorative bits on bycockets and crispinettes, they're that pretty.


At this point, I'm not sure what I've said, what I haven't said, or what year it is, so I'm just going to link you to pretty much my entire Medieval bookmarks folder.

These people make Medieval clothes (and sometimes other goodies) and wear them. Don't write it off as just dressing up in costumes, because usually I get my actual research from these guys.

A Most Peculiar Mademoiselle (The woman who runs this blog seems very nice, but English isn't her first language and she's also LDS. Her faith creeps into a lot of entries, which I don't want anyone getting surprised by.)
Cariadoc's Miscellany (This was the first place I ever went to when I was learning about Medieval food.)
Deventer Burgerscap (Each entry is in Swedish and English, for the most part; there are a few English-only entries. My god, the pictures.)
Growing Up Medieval (kids' garb, toys, and a mother of four's ongoing quest to figure out how to get all her very young children to behave at and enjoy SCA events.)
Haandkraft (Not a whole lot of clothing, but a whole lot of woodwork and leatherwork.)
His Story, Her Story (Not exclusively Medieval, but pretty exclusively female. Less on costuming, more on customs and sexism and historical women as people.)
Garb The Child (Because every time I see small children in garb, I kind of explode with squee.)
House Greydragon (Check out the Class Notes! There's a little bit of everything on this site, but everything I know about chausses and braises, I learned here.)
The Magical World of Marie-Chantal Cadieux (She's a model, a... mermaid, and a former re-enactor. Historical costuming nearer the bottom of the page. Some links are broken and things are nested oddly, but her pictures are clear and her research solid.)
Kids' Garb and Teen Garb Flickr Sets (Kids in garb are irresistable. Also, as you read the descriptions, a lot of the garb is made from repurposed adult clothes-- wool trousers becoming a little girl's apron dress, et cetera.)
Loose Threads: Yet Another Costuming Blog (This one has relatively few pictures, but a LOT of links to archaeological research and ideas from around the internet, especially as pertains to Viking apron dresses.)
Matilda La Zouche's Wardrobe (Not a whole lot here, but good clear photos, and one of my go-to sites for different types of kirtles.)
Medieval Clothing Pages: Articles by Cynthia Virtue (How-to's and pictures, extant Medieval garments, and how to and how NOT to wear a veil.)
Medeival Gloves etc (Not a lot here, but what's here is what it says on the tin.)
Medieval Silkwork (Not a lot of outer-clothing, but lots of frilled veils, tons of info on the St. Birgitta Cap, quite a few articles about underwear of various kinds, and so much gorgeous embroidery.)
Raciaire's Embroidery and Needlework (And lots of it! Clothes, accessories, pouches, hoods, a dress based on the Bayeaux tapestry...)
The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist (That same mother of four from Growing Up Medieval, but these are her non-child-based posts. There are a lot more costuming photos here, but fewer toys.)
Where Are The Elves? (Medieval shoes, how to make them, and the tools to make them with.)

People who sell goods to re-enactors. These tend to be good sources for seeing different eras made by the same people. Bear in mind I can't comment on the physical quality of the items offered, because... hell, I don't know. I'm looking at the pictures.

Danegeld Viking, Saxon, & Medieval Jewelry (A recent find but oooooh)
Dru Shoemaker and Catalog (Shoes, shoes, and more shoes, plus guns, knives, and shovels.)
Historic Enterprises (One-stop shopping for at least decent basics.)
Kat's Hats, Made by Nobility, for Nobility (A re-enactor who saw a hole in the market that needed to be filled with sheer veils and assorted kinds of hennins.)
Kokosh's Manufacture: Gambesons, Medieval Chainmail, and Clothing (I think I just found all those nifty gambesons I couldn't find before. These guys have twenty-three pages of gambesons.)
Medieval Design (Lately edging into Roman Empire Design, too. Still a good source, especially for menswear and hats.)
Revival Clothing (One of my go-to sites; they have a little bit of everything.)
Sapphire and Sage: Historically-Inspired Jewelry and Accessories (These are NOT PERFECT and mostly just slightly post-Medieval. They're good inspiration, though, and the photos are big and clear enough to tear apart for Sims.)
Tudor Jewels (These ARE accurate, and they have a Medieval section with a gorgeous jointed crown. I've used some of their simpler Tudor pieces on bycockets.)

Because sometimes, knowing how to make things-- or just seeing how they fit together-- in the real world can help when you need to work out how to make a Sims thing.

The Sideless Surcote by Lady Jehanne de Wodeford (Not only how to make a sideless surcote, but how to get legal heraldry onto it, too.)
The Perfect Armor Improved: Water-Hardened Leather (A tutorial that I will someday use to create doll armor. I swear.)

Things I find fascinating or that helped me learn a LOT.

Children's Costumes at SCA Events (Kids in Garb. And how to handle that in public.)
Early Printed Book Contains Rare Evidence of Medieval Spectacles (I linked to it elsewhere, but here it is again. Exactly what it says on the tin.)
Marrying for Love: The Experience of Edward IV and Henry VIII (Could've been titled 'Love and Lust in Tudor England: How to Tell the Difference and Why the Difference is REALLY GODDAMN IMPORTANT)
Medieval Drugs: Part One: Turning Herbs into Drugs in the Middle Ages: Part Two: The Drugstore in Paradise; Part Three: How Do I Drug Thee? Let Me Count the Ways (A brief history of how herb-lore turned into medicine. My mother has been a nurse all my life, so this is fascinating to me.)
Medieval History (A general sort of site.)
The Medeival Garden Enclosed (The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.)
Why Do You Hate the Shape of Breasts in Plate Armor So Much? (Marvelous illustrated Tumblr post about a massive pet peeve of mine. Boobs are awesome, but boob armor is impractical and actually dangerous.)

The Lengberg Underwear
If you google 'Lengberg Castle,' you get this underwear. If you google 'Medieval Underwear,' you get the Lengberg Castle finds. These are the links I've found useful somehow.

The Daily Mail (Good big pictures of the longer bra and the underpants)
History Extra (Small pictures of three of the major finds)
University of Innsbruck, (Solid descriptions of several pieces, same old photos)
Medievalists.net (Oooh, a video!)

Because it's easier to find the Viking stuff if it's all in one place.

Danegeld (I just want to link to it again, their jewelry is awesome and cites sources)
The Manufacture of Viking Oval Brooches
Hurstwic: Clothing in the Viking Age
Shelagh Lewins (Reasonable attempts at Viking food, plus a uniquely plausible take on the Apron Dress)
Silberknoten.de Posaments and Replicas
The So-Called Viking Apron Dress (We seriously have no idea.)
The Viking Answer Lady (Everything you ever wanted to know about Vikings that we actually know for sure!)
Wychwood Warriors Wiki (Re-enactors who specialize in Dark Ages Wessex. This is apparently Vikings. They got into everything.)

It's neat and I want to share my knowledge, but it doesn't really fit anywhere else on the list.

Lego Castles by Bob Carney (Real-world castles made out of Legos, plus clear floor plan photos and occsionally blueprints. Lego castles translate well to Sims castles.)
People of Color in Medieval Art History (Exactly what it says on the tin, but does include other eras. This blog pokes holes in the all too common fallacy that Europe only ever had white people in it until the slave trade became a big thing in the Age of Discovery. It turns out humans used to be way more like Sims as far as skin color goes.)

And don't forget Wikipedia! No, really, it's a good place to start if you're not sure what you need to look up. Also, very frequently when you find that someone has referenced a piece of Medieval artwork, checking for that piece of artwork on Wiki will net you a HUGE, incredibly high-resolution photo of the piece. Given some of the scratchy little pictures of the Tres Riches Heures I've seen on people's websites compared to the gloriously crisp and bright Wikipedia images, this can really, really help a lot.

This is pretty close to all I know about the rough period I'm setting my game in. (Well, except I'm going for post-Viking Age, but still adding Vikings anyway, because Vikings). If I learn more, I'll probably update this post somehow instead of making a new one. I mean, goddamn, look how long this thing is. I'm sitting here trying to think of a decent closing, and all I can think is "Please, please, PLEASE let me not have fucked up any HTML."

Date: 2013-01-29 04:28 pm (UTC)
heget: (heraldry)
From: [personal profile] heget
Yay! Research post!

A lot of this - the historical background info - is very familiar to me, the clothing info I've picked up from costume books, tons of historic fiction, and you ( ;p ), but yay for even more in-depth details and lots and lots of links.

My armchair researcher was always more interested in Roman, with some medieval interest. But my major focus in college was colonialism and early US on the side of history and LOTS of art history. And hate to break it to you - but while medieval illumination get their mention and I looked at the evolving floor plans of churches til I was sick of them, the godsend to the academic study of art was the Renaissance and the Counter-Reformation (the whole 30 years war mess being another hot topic heget interest). Not to say there wasn't lots of good art in that 'dark ages to early ren' period or that the myth of artists in the Middle Ages never signing their work isn't just that....
But again, my knowledge of armor is heavily biased towards Roman laminated legionnaire (and how the Romans were basically 'let's steal whatever worked from our enemies and adapt it wholescale with our efficiency' - hence why the Hunnish trouser morphed our Roman tunics into the medieval cote and chausse) or the abbreviated cuirasses of pike and arquebus, so I'm good for gambesons and chain but full plate starts getting into terms and diagrams that make me hurt. (The stuff was flexible and light enough to cartwheels in, myth debunked- but give me lots of yew longbow men or barring the generational training time for a good corps, a few hundred winch crossbows...)

And now I'm very glad I've started writing out what will be a consolidated master version of my 'world-building guide to each part of my hood', because now I feel really inspired to go into the period clothing details. (Last night I finally made an executive descision on what groups would own what style of cat breeds- I kid you not; that's my level of crazy.) So this helps for a few of the sub-groups. ^^

In short- fun facts to read, yay!

Date: 2013-01-29 08:03 pm (UTC)
heget: (heraldry)
From: [personal profile] heget
Having used oil paints as well as water colors, ink- including various printing processes that left me with opera glove coverage stains of linseed black- and pastels and charcoal and about everything but jewelry making and throwing pots (I mentioned I was a 2-D gal) I can attest to the ease of oil versus water color.
Tempera was still common in the Renaissance. It was the growth of wealth of the middle class, the spread of knowledge via printing press and the trade brought by crusades, other factors like that biggie the population restructure called Plague giving rise to humanism and therefore revived interest in Hellenistic art and the lost technique of honest-to-Plato real 2 point perspective ....

I love high Middle Ages stuff too - and the Germanic and Nordic traditions of stylized human figures that becomes today's generic 'Celtic knot work' . Heck, I thought Etruscan sculpture prettier that the Roman knockoffs of late Greek- and the forgeries market of Greek copies in Ancient Rome is hilarious stuff...

I'm writing up my master list of crazy right now. Balancing all my knowledge of history behind breeds ( come from a dog breeding family with lots of research material on dog breeds, scientific studies on domestication of dogs and health and DNA studies......) plus personal preference.

Cat breeds are new creations by virtue of limited controlled breeding after domestication -unlike dogs, cats naturally filled all of what the job humans required of them once we got pass that whole cohabit with humans instead of wild animal stage - aka kill the rats in our granaries and we will call you kitty. Only in the last few centuries with the rise of appearance based companion animals have we seem the profusion of cat breeds. And still there is only a few various on head and body shape, a small range of sizes, some mutations in coat texture humans have heavily bred to - and of course coat colors.
My game decision was limited to decide that both sides of the ocean could have cats by allowing the urban elves in Elf Garden of Eden could have kitties- and the humans way on the other side who never contacted first group could, thanks to an imaginary Egypt analogue, get cats too. But they had to be distinct, uphold story logic characteristics - ie long haired kitties only after an extended period of cat owners living in inland Viking expies- and one sub group of elves I decided wouldn't have any cats until in contact with immigrants of the other groups. But that's the group with small terriers. And possibly pet ferrets. The Greeks had weasels as the niche filler for cats until the felines were brought in as the better alternative. Because felines as strict carnivores stuck to the varmints they were brought in to kill and left food like fruits and the chicken eggs alone. ^.~

Once my perfect tunics are done I'm taking the maxis suit of armor and stealing pieces off it.

Date: 2013-01-30 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think I saw you mention the dresses with plackets recently, so I thought this might interest you: http://cadieux.mediumaevum.com/burgundian-placket.html

I don't know how good her research is, and it's mostly 15th Century stuff she's discussing, but it's interesting.

Date: 2013-01-30 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Also thank you very much for this post!

Date: 2013-01-31 03:56 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ha, that's a fair point. Also... wow, on second glance, your links list is very thorough! :D

Date: 2013-01-31 07:40 pm (UTC)
heget: (heraldry)
From: [personal profile] heget
And this is where I laugh because anything with an empire waist I love (I like the style, and I have very square shoulders, a very small bust, skinny skinny waist and no hips and only when I stretch I am over five feet- so I own a lot of clothing that is empire waist and think it looks better on me -and more comfortable- than stuff like tee-shirts). So as the Burgundian gowns -and the later Italian gowns of the Renaissance- are as close to Directory and Regency styles as I'll get before the Roman revival craze overalls fashion, they are the medieval styles that heget doesn't go 'yawn, boring'.
I like the layered look and the many veils and I'm more and more each day fanscinated by the 500-700s as everything is or has gone to crap and how to rebuild.
But then we've talked before how my personal ideas of 'pretty!' can clash with other definitions...

Date: 2013-01-31 11:05 pm (UTC)
heget: (luthien sigil)
From: [personal profile] heget
Working on the orc subsection of my post and have concluded that Lord the Rings is a zombie invasion story.
Apropos of nothing.

I guess not a fan of the rococo? ^.~

Date: 2013-02-01 07:31 pm (UTC)
heget: (18th cen)
From: [personal profile] heget
Oh, that whole panniers issue is why I made the 'Versailles Zoning Permit' set, and even the meshes of the others sets are not nearly as wide as could or should be.

Because I can't tell the Sims arms to do the lovely' 'resting my arms ontop my panniers' graceful pose -& the dreaded hands disappearing into skirt as putting hands on hip- I am going to make all the Tudor meshes with less than accurate farthingales that don't swallow Sim hands.

No one can dictate how another person plays their game (but Stars and Garters I'm ten pages in for myself with no end in sight).

Hey, what was the original topic of this whole post supposed to be? :p

Actually, do have questions on medieval summer and winter wear, because I wonder how to translate such to the tropics. Viking wear gives me good insight for the extreme cold, but do they show in the primary documents any major style variation when say in lower Italy?

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