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“Well Cut through the Body:” Fitted Clothing in Twelfth·Century Europe

”Well Cut through the Body:” Fitted Clothing in Twelfth·Century Europe

Frieder Waugh, Christina

DRESS (1999), Volume 26

Abstract

Epics and romances, the tales of love and adventure that began to proliferate in France and Germany during the twelfth century, conjure up exquisitely beautiful heroines and boldly handsome heroes, all of them wearing gorgeous clothes. But what may be surprising are the precise and particular ideas about how these clothes should fit, for the authors clearly describe what they call “well-cut” clothing, and they mention it again and again.

In one German epic, Queen Guinevere gives a young lady “a dress well-cut in the French style, neither too tight nor too loose.” “Well-cut” clothing was supposed to fit especially well around the torso, to be “well-cut through the body,” as a French writer said of the clothes of a group of noblemen.

 

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