Bras in the 15th Century? A Preliminary Report

medieval lingerie - photo courtesy University of Innsbruck

Four linen textiles resemble modern time bras. The criterion for this classification is the presence of distinctly cut cups. The two more fragmented specimens appear to be a combination of a bra and a modern dirndl blouse.

The Vikings and clothing accessories they brought home

Mounting from a reliquary, produced in Northumbria in the 8th century. The mounting have been modified and was used as a brooch. It was found in a woman's grave from the second part of the 9th century, in Buskerud, Norway - Photo courtesy University of Oslo Museum of Cultural History

New study on the use of imported objects in Viking Age Scandinavia

10 Fun Fashion Facts from the Middle Ages

medieval buttocks - The Competition in Sittacene and the Placating of Sisigambis

Here are ten fascinating fashion facts for your enjoyment (I’ve saved my favourites for last).

A Five-Minute Guide to Medieval Fabrics

medieval fabrics - 14th century fresco by Andrea di Bonaiuto

I don’t know about you, but I often read descriptions of medieval clothing and want to know more about the fabric: what did it look like and what was its texture?

Fashion Old and New: Weaving and Tailoring in the Early Medieval and Early Modern Period

Anglo Saxon pin beater made of animal bone. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 400-800 AD. Courtesy of Cotswold Archaeology.

Fashion fan? Interested in medieval and early modern textiles? Then this was your session. 2 papers from opposite ends of the spectrum: Early Medieval weaving and Early Modern Tailoring.

Sewing as Authority in the Middle Ages

Letter of Indulgence for the Herkenrode Abbey (Source: | Limburg Provincial Library) [CreativeCommons BY-NC-SA BE 2.0]

Analysing manuscripts, relics, indulgences, and even a bishop’s mitre, the article argues that stitching was a way to enact, or intensify, the ritual purpose of objects, whether that was ceremonial, devotional, or authoritative.

A Young Man’s Progress – The First Book of Fashion

Matthaus Schwarz fashion

A Young Man’s Progress is art work by London photographer Maisie Broadhead and fashion designer Isabella Newell in collaboration with Cambridge cultural historian Ulinka Rublack.

Late medieval bling-bling

grimani breviary

Illustrations and surviving clothing and accessories however present an entirely different picture of medieval fashion: bright, contrasting colours, costly, lavishly decorated fabrics and belts and bags adorned with all kinds of golden and silver-coloured mounts.

Lessons from the Viking Lifestyle

Ingrid Galadriel Aune Nilsen

‘I am here to talk to you about my life as a Viking and how it has changed and shaped my personality and the way I view several aspects of today’s society, and how I started hunting for the authentic experience.’

Move over Milan! Late Medieval and Renaissance Fashion in Venice

Cesare Vecellio's Venetian fashion

Milan may be Italy’s current fashion capital, but Venice had an important role to play in the development of the Italian fashion and textile industry since the late middle ages and renaissance period.

The Nun’s Crown

nuns crown

The nun’s crown, a white linen circlet with overlapping bands forming a cross worn over her veil, formed part of the dress of monastic women in northern Germany.

Early Medieval Tunic recreated in Norway

One of our aims in reconstructing the tunic is to learn more about how the textile was made, how time-consuming it was to make, and how the wool was used, explains Marianne Vedeler. Photo: Yngve Vogt

A few years ago, the oldest known piece of clothing ever discovered in Norway, a tunic dating from the Iron Age, was found on a glacier in Breheimen. Now about to be reconstructed using Iron Age textile techniques, it is hoped the tunic will inspire Norwegian fashion designers.

How to Make a Medieval Costume in Under Four Minutes

Medieval Costume in Under Four Minutes

Luke Seinen shows how to make a medieval costume in under 4 minutes! Just in case you needed something to wear for Halloween. Plus more videos on medieval costumes and looks.

The Fashion Police in 16th-century Italy

Renaissance Fashion

Patrolling the streets and squares of the bustling city as arbiters of the level of ostentation that was deemed appropriate, the sumptuary magistrates were quite simply the Fashion Police.

Silk Tunics of Saint Ambrose to be restored and studied

In Milan’s Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio: Prof. Dr. Sabine Schrenk (r.) of the University of Bonn and Cologne textile restorer Ulrike Reichert with the valuable tunics. Photo © JochenSchaal-Reichert

Archaeologists from the University of Bonn, working with restorers, are preserving and studying 4th-century tunics ascribed to St. Ambrose. In the course of examining these valuable silk garments, they have made surprising scholarly discoveries regarding the development of early relic worship.

Medieval Fashion Trends

medieval fashion trends

How did fashion change during the Middle Ages? Using images from medieval manuscripts, we can track some of the changes in fashion over the centuries. The styles of dress and clothing would see new trends emerge, ranging from long-toed shoes to plunging necklines.

The Wardrobe of Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland

Margaret of Denmark dressed at the height of fashion in mid-15th century Scotland.

Fabrics in Medieval Dress in Pomerania

Medieval Gdansk

The use of colour effects – motives of stripes, colour ribbon and string additions as well as pieces of embroidery – is a testament to the decorative character of medieval clothes.

Shoes and shoemakers in late medieval Bergen and Stockholm

Miniature of a man being healed by shoes belonging to Cuthbert, from Chapter 45 of Bede's prose Life of St Cuthbert. Yates Thompson 26, f.80

The purpose of this article is to analyse the differences between shoemakers in late medieval Bergen and Stockholm on one hand, and the differences between the archaeological finds of shoes in the two towns on the other hand.

Estreitement bende: Marie de France’s Guigemar and the erotics of tight dress

Women 12th century

This article examines the change in women’s fashion that occurred during the 12th century. Garments went from loose and flowing to tightly fitted, featuring belts and laces. The author examines this cultural change through the romance stories complied in the “Lais” of Marie de France, specifically one featuring the character of Guigemar.

How to pleat a shirt in the 15th century

Medieval Clothes Fragment

Based on the shirt fragments from the 15th century found at Lengberg Castle in East-Tyrol this paper describes the methods with which these shirts have been pleated, what type of stiches have been used for sewing and how the trimming strips were fashioned. Seventeen textile fragments could be identified as parts of shirts, fourteen of which feature either partially or totally pleated areas. Two sleeves with textile buttons and button holes, two sleeves with button holes, one sleeve with a textile button, one neckline and five fragments being either sleeve or collar are pleated on their entire width. One shirt each is pleated partially on the front, one of them with a preserved textile button. One sleeveless shirt is pleated at the shoulder.

‘Grandissima Gratia’: The Power of Italian Renaissance Shoes as Intimate Wear

Ornamentalism The Art of Renaissance Accessories

In the Renaissance fashion system gender identification and expressions of power through shoes were instead primarily based on varying degrees of their invisibility.

Persian silk worn by Vikings, researcher finds

Vikings-Persian-Silks - photo courtesy University of Oslo

When the Oseberg Ship was discovered in Norway in 1904, more than one hundred silk fragments were found among its artefacts. New research has shown that these silks were probably purchased from Persia through a trade network.

Medieval Shoes

This trippe was made in The Netherlands c.1475-85. The original wear was of likely high status.

Who set the trends for medieval shoe styles – politics, power, economics and climate.

Transvestite Knights: Men and Women Cross-dressing in Medieval Literature


In this thesis, I will look at mainly French and German texts from the 12th to the 15th centuries which deal with the subject of cross-dressers in the decidedly masculine domain of the knight. There are many tales of cross-dressing, particularly of women, but the concept of men dressing as women while jousting, and women dressing as knights, brings up several questions about the clothes, what it meant to be male and female, and how cross-dressing could be viewed on the tournament field.

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