Short Glossary of Medieval Clothing Terms

This is a list of things I need to know as a writer of another age…

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 separate 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 fur lined 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 during 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 décolleté 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 house 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, belt less 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 colors 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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