These images are taken from color plates painted by French artist and costume historian Auguste Racinet (1825-1893).

This slide contains 54 images of men, women and children in various forms of medieval dress, ranging from the 12th through 16th centuries. Each image downloads separately, which means there will be a pause between viewing each image - roughly 1-3 seconds on a 56K modem. You can watch the status of each download in the lower-left corner of your browser's window (Netscape and IExplorer). Once all images are downloaded, the pause is eliminated and you can cycle through the slide at your leisure.

Links to detailed medieval clothing websites can be found in our Medieval Links section.

Short Glossary of Medieval Clothing Terms

  • ALB: long white linen tunic which became an exclusively liturgical garment after 6th century.
  • AMIGAUT: slit at neck of garments for ease of donning. Also a decorative panel around armhole.
  • AMUSSE: simple headdress in the form of a flat hood falling to the shoulders.
  • BALDRICK: sword-belt, later an ammunition belt for soldiers, worn from shoulder to opposite hip,early times onward.
  • BARBETTE: band put under chin and fastened on the top of the head, worn by women, 12th-14th centuries.
  • BELUQUE: woman's mantle - 15th century.
  • BLIAUT(D): 12th century dress of fine material, largely pleated, worn by men and women.
  • BRACCAE or BRAES: loose trousers ending below knees or at ankles, and tied there, Roman, early European.
  • BRANC: woman's smock - 15th century
  • BRODEQUIN: light shoe worn inside boots and houseaux.
  • CABAN: first fitted coat with sleeves. 14th century.
  • CAMLET: camel-hair fabric - 12th century
  • CAMOCAS: silk cloth striped with gold and silver made in a castle in Palestine beginning in 12th century.
  • CAUL: jeweled net worn as women's head-covering, 14th-15th centuries.
  • CHAINSE OR CAINSIL: long tunic of fine linen with long sleeves tightly fitted at the wrists; always white and usually pleated. Worn under bliaut(d).
  • CHAPERON: hat contrived from winding long 'liripipe' round cap, later made as complete headgear.
  • CHASUBLE: circular cape with aperture for head.
  • CHAUSSES: garment for covering leg and feet, originally held with criss-crossed thongs to the knee.
  • COAT OF ARMS: long tunic strengthened with metal rings worn from 11th century on.
  • COIF: close-fitting cap of white linen later embroidered or made in black.
  • COLOBIUM: blouse or sleeveless coat worn in ancient Gaul and throughout the middle ages. Abandon in later centuries for the dalmatic.
  • COPE: hooded cloak, sometimes with sleeves, worn for protection against rain.
  • CORNET: long point of a hood. In 15th century, also name for seperate woman's hat, which covered skull and temples with point upstanding for comfort.
  • CORSET: in medieval times, two definitions: 1) long or short surcoat with or without sleeves worn by men in the 12th-15th centuries; 2) a woman's furlined winter gown lacing in front, worn between 14th and 16th centuries.
  • COTE: tunic or gown
  • COTE-HARDIE: gown for men or women.
  • COTHURNES: high boot covering the whole foot and leg to the calf, worn by hunters.
  • COURTEPY: very short, hip belted tunic.
  • CULOT: short tight breeches worn duing reign of Henry III.
  • CYCLAS or GARDCORPS: outer gown, usually sleeveless, with side and front openings.
  • DAGGINGS: mainly German fashion, where hems and ends of bands are cut in various patterns, such as toothed or open-worked designs.
  • DOUBLET: quilted garment, stuffed with cotton or waste material, stitched and worn under a hauberk.
  • EPITOGA: wide, ungathered robe, belted and sometimes with sleeves, mainly worn by academics in 13th century.
  • ESCAFFIGNONS or ESCHAPINS: a small light shoe made from rich material.
  • FACINGS: edgings on garments made from fur or fine cloth, originating in 12th century.
  • FALSE SLEEVES: 14th century, unbuttoned lower part of sleeves which hang down, sometimes to ankle length.
  • FILLET: band tied round the head.
  • GAMBESON: padded garment worn under hauberk; also know as a gibbon, pourpoint or doublet.
  • GANACHE: loose outer garment
  • GIPON or GIPPON: a type of doublet made of padded, quilted material; in 14th century, same as a doublet.
  • GONELLE or GONNE: long tunic worn by knights.
  • GORGET: linen neck-covering
  • GORGIAS: gauze used in late 15th century to mask pronounced decollete of women's dresses.
  • GUIMP: piece of light material used to cover face, neck and chest.
  • HAUBERK: military corselet of mail or leather
  • HEAD-RAIL: Saxon head covering for women
  • HELM: military headgear made of leather or metal.
  • HENNIN: cone-shaped or cylindrical headdress for women.
  • HERIGAUTE: similar to housse or garde-corps, open at sides and worn 13-14th centuries.
  • HEUZE or HOUSEAUX: tall leather thick-soled boots, sometimes open-toed, varying from half-leg to half-thigh height.
  • HOSE: knitted or cloth, a covering for the foot and part of the leg, later to become two-piece in 16th century.
  • HOUPPELAND: voluminous gown worn by men and women, late 14th century, most of 15th.
  • HUQUE: short outer flowing robe, open at sides; knight's version had slit in front.
  • HUVE: headdress of 14-15th centuries with a tapered cornet held to head by long pins.
  • JACK: padded military jacket, up to 30 layers, worn over hauberk, and brightly decorated; not to be confused with doublet.
  • JOURNADE: very short, full, beltless tunic.
  • LIRIPIPE: long 'tail' descending from hood or chaperon
  • MAFORS: a long narrow over-the-shoulder veil worn by women up through the 11th century.
  • MANTLE: first appearing in 15th century, term for a cloak.
  • MARRAMAS: a cloth of gold, used mainly for ecclesiastical adornment in 14th century.
  • MITRE: gold circlet for the head first appearing in 7th century.
  • MORSE: fastening of cloak.
  • MOUFLES or MITONS: extension of sleeve which covers the hands.
  • NEBULAE HEADDRESS: narrow halo-shaped headdress of gauze
  • PARTI-COLOURED DRESS: divided vertically in half, a 12-14th century garment in two colours of cloth.
  • PELICAN: fur-lined garment worn between the chemise and cote during 12-15th centuries.
  • PHRYGIAN CAP: cap with bulging coxcomb peak in front, early European, 12th century.
  • PIGACHE: shoe with a long, upturned pointed toe - 12th century.
  • POINTS: metal-ended laces used to attach upper hose to doublet.
  • POULAINES: very long-toed shoes
  • POURPOINT: under-doublet
  • RAMSHORN HEADDRESS: cap with coiled earpieces, 13th century.
  • ROBE DEGUISEE: garments reserved for most elegant wear, usually new and in daring fashion.
  • ROBE GIRONNEE : loose pleated dress fixed at waist.
  • RONDEL: crescent-shaped, circular or halo shaped headdress.
  • ROWEL: round of cloth worn by Jews (compulsory): yellow in 13th century, then red and white in 14th.
  • SABLE: rarest and most sought-after fur used for adornment.
  • SAMITE: rich silk cloth, unmade after Middle Ages.
  • SCARF: originally an over-shoulder satchel, became strip of cloth worn from shoulder to hip and tied at waist in 14th century.
  • SIDELESS GOWN: woman's gown open at the sides to the hips, 14th-15th century.
  • SIGLATON: gold brocade made in Lucca in 14th century used for luxurious garments.
  • SKULL CAP : small round cap covering top of head; some had small points and tails. 12th-15th centuries.
  • SLIPPERS: in 12th century, footwear which covered foot only to instep.
  • SNOOD: simple net used to cover headgear. Adornments such as pearls and jewels added in 15th century.
  • STIVALI: summer light boots close fitting to the leg and usually in black, but sometimes red.
  • SURCOTE: outer garment which replace the bliaut(d) during 12th century.
  • TABARD: sleeveless outer garment with open side-seams worn by men usually in tourneys, and always worn by heralds.
  • TEMPLET: metal ornament around which women's hair was coiled and rolled above the ears - 15th century.
  • TIPPET: white linen bands with strip hanging down worn tied on above elbows, 14th century
  • TOURET: woman's veil covering forehead - 13th-15th centuries.
  • TRESSOIR: golden plait of silk embroidered with metal and gems worn by 13th century women.
  • WIMPLE: women's head and neck covering, 12-15th centuries

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