What Was the Fashion in Medieval Times?

A look at what the fashion was during medieval times.

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Dressing for nobility

In the Medieval era, clothing was used as a way to show off one’s social status. The nobility would dress in luxurious fabrics adorned with jewels and embroidery, while peasants wore simple woolen tunics. Fur was also a popular material for clothing, as it was a symbol of wealth.

Commoners’ clothing

The clothing worn by medieval peasants was very basic. It was usually made of woolen fabric, as this was the most commonly available textile. Peasant women typically wore a long tunic with a belt cinched at the waist. Over this, they wore an apron to protect their clothes from getting dirty while they worked. Men and boys wore tunics as well, which they belted at the waist. They also wore breeches, or knee-length pants. In cold weather, they would add a cloak to their ensemble for warmth. Both men and women wore simple leather shoes.

Children’s clothing

In the Middle Ages, clothes for children did not differ much from adult clothing. The main difference was in the cut of the clothes and in the fabrics used. Rich families would dress their children in expensive fabrics such as silk, while poor families would dress their children in wool.

Boys and girls both wore tunics. Boys tunics were usually longer than girls tunics, and they also had belts. Girls tunics were often decorated with lace or embroidery. Both boys and girls wore leggings, which were called braies. Boys braies covered their whole leg, while girls braies only covered from the waist to just below the knee.

Rich families would often dress their children in fur-lined cloaks, while poor families would dress their children in simple woolen cloaks.


Different kinds of footwear were worn in medieval times, depending on the class of the person and the activity in which they were engaged.

The well-to-do classes wore shoes made of soft leather with pointed toes. They laced or buttoned them up the front, and sometimes decorated them with gold or silver. Wealthy women also wore high heeled shoes. Commoners wore footwear made of tougher leather, which was more suited to work and outdoor activities.

Boots were worn by both nobles and commoners, and came in a variety of styles. Riding boots were tall, coming up to the knee or even higher, to protect the leg from being scraped by the stirrup while riding. Well-to-do ladies might also wear fashionable over-the-knee boots as part of their outfit when attending parties or going out in public. Working men often wore ankle-high boots made of stout leather to protect their feet while working outdoors.


During the late medieval period, headgear for women became increasingly elaborate and distinctive. One of the most common types of headgear was the coif, a close-fitting cap that covered the hair, ears, and forehead. Coifs were typically made of linen or wool and were often worn under veils. Another type of headgear was the wimple, a piece of cloth that was wrapped around the head and neck. Wimples could be made of various materials, including linen, silk, or wool.

Headdresses were also popular during this time period. Women often wore veils that were attached to a headdress or a wimple. Headdresses came in a variety of styles and were often decorated with jewels, feathers, or other adornments. Veils were also used to cover the face, which was seen as a sign of modesty.

The fashion for headgear changed over the course of the medieval period. In the early medieval period, it was common for women to wear their hair loose or in braids. By the late medieval period, however, women began to wear their hair in more elaborate styles that were often accented with headdresses or veils.


In terms of outerwear, both men and women in the medieval era wore cloaks fastened at the neck with a simple brooch or pin. Cloaks were made of wool or linen and served as protection against the cold weather. In addition, both men and women wore tunics, which were also made of wool or linen. Men’s tunics were knee-length, while women’s tunics typically fell to the ground. Men also wore leggings, called “chausses,” made of wool, leather, or linen.


accessories were an important part of medieval fashion. Common accessories included belts, gloves, hats, scarves, and shoes. Jewelry was also popular, particularly among the nobility. Rings, necklaces, and brooches were all commonly worn.


In medieval times, both men and women wore their hair long. Married women usually wore a headdress known as a wimple to cover their hair, while unmarried women wore their hair loose or plaited. Men would often wear their hair in a style known as a tonsure, where the hair was shaved from the center of the head.

Makeup and cosmetics

In medieval times, both men and women used cosmetics. The most common makeup items were Rouge for the lips and cheeks, Mascara for the eyes, and white lead powder or foundation to lighten the skin. Perfumes were also popular, and both men and women used them. The most popular perfume was made from roses.

Both men and women plucked their eyebrows and eyelashes. During the 14th century, it was fashionable for men to have long hair. During the 15th century, it was fashionable for men to shave their heads.

Fabric and materials

Historians have found that people in medieval times were quite fashion conscious, and that they enjoyed a good variety of fabrics and materials. Wool was by far the most popular fabric, but there was also a fair amount of linen and cotton used. Silk was also available, but it was quite expensive, so it was not as widely used.

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