The history of fashion is not only changes in clothes that can be observed over time. It is also the history of the society in which this or that style existed. Different times awakened in people the need to wear a variety of costumes. Medieval clothing is one of the clearest examples of how social relationships influence fashion.
Costume is one of the most important symbols of social status throughout the Middle Ages. It determined a person's belonging to a certain class and class.
The clothing styles of the early Middle Ages are not particularly diverse. The fashion industry has not yet been developed as, for example, in the Renaissance. The cut of dresses for peasants and gentlemen was the same, the difference was observed only in materials. At this time, the demarcation of society was not particularly noticeable in outward signs. Clothing was the best way to express yourself, to present in the best possible way, so all people spared no expense in jewelry, decorated belts and expensive fabrics.
Middle Ages clothing: features
The first and most striking difference can be considered the material from which the dresses were created. In the production of clothing, cotton was used along with linen, but different varieties of these fabrics were used. Rich people wore linen suits, poor people often wore burlap and wool.
The color of the clothes also mattered a lot. For example, the poor were not allowed to wear bright colors, only representatives of noble families had such a privilege - they dressed in green, red and blue robes. For the common people, gray, black, brown colors were available. The deprivation of the right to wear clothes made in shades corresponding to the origin of a person was one of the most severe punishments in society.
For archaeologists, clothing of the Middle Ages is of great interest. Photos taken during the excavations show that in everyday life it was difficult to distinguish between a simple worker and a knight. Home clothes were made from the same materials and did not differ in originality.
Clothing of the Middle Ages (early stage) is usually characterized by its simplicity and uniformity. She was not distinguished by diversity and was not divided into male and female. In general, the tailors didn't worry about the fit of the wearer, and usually everything was loose, and even baggy.
It should be noted that it was during this period that a separate type of clothing for the clergy was entrenched. Previously, church ministers wore the samedresses like other people. Byzantine influence on the form of the clergy prevailed, and this can be considered the stage of the birth of church clothing.
Connection with modernity
Middle Ages style clothing has influenced modern times in many ways. For example, buttons, which are present today on almost every piece of clothing, were invented during this era. Until the 12th century, pieces of clothing were held together with ties or clasps that were more pretty than practical to use. With the spread of buttons, these elements began to be made from various materials: leather, bone, metal. This diversity allowed the harmonious combination of fabrics and buttons of robes.
Gothic costume details
Clothing of the Middle Ages began to be enriched with details. More attention began to be paid to decorating clothes (embroidery), especially on the collar of the dress. It was cut so that the ornament on the lower shirt could be seen. The belt also became an important part of the wardrobe: it was tied in front, and its long ends fell to the legs.
With attention to detail, a new stage in the development of fashion began. Dresses were reshaped, throwing out excess pieces; clothes were sewn, taking into account the characteristics of the body of each person. Now the suits fit closely to the figure, emphasizing all its advantages. It can be argued that it was at this stage that the clothing of the Middle Ages acquires a secular character.
Gothic style in women's dresses manifested itself in elongated silhouettes, high collars, tight lacing at the waist. Clothes were pulled up under the chest, and this createda special accent, a hint of the beauty of femininity and motherhood. For men, the Gothic style manifested itself in fitted suits, either long or short. As a rule, young people chose the latter option.
At that time, several materials were combined in the creation of costumes at once: silk, linen, wool and leather were used in the wardrobe of the townspeople. Thanks to such combinations, the first style of dress appeared with a distinction between a corset and a skirt, the latter starting from the waist. New types of matter, such as cloth, softly fitted the figure.
New color schemes also spread: a suit for a man, for example, consisted of two halves of different colors, usually contrasting in their shades.
The color had a huge symbolic meaning. For example, the one who served his beloved lady always wore the clothes of her favorite color. The same applied to the servants, who dressed in clothes that matched the coats of arms of their masters in shades.
The most popular color in the Middle Ages was yellow, but not everyone could afford such a dress.
At the end of the 13th century, people abandoned pleating, but lace appeared in costumes. Dresses were decorated with fur trim, shawls or capes were added to the obligatory accessories. The cloak was also worn quite often, usually decorated with fur and various fasteners. It was customary to pull a cloak over the head. Women covered their hair with light fabric covers. The position of the veil indicated the mood of its owner: for example,the fabric pulled over the face spoke of sadness, and the one tied on the head was joy.
The clothing of the Middle Ages became more practical over time: now it was possible to carry coins in it, more attention was paid to ease of movement.
Changes also affected the sleeves: often they reached the floor or were collected. Especially the wide parts of the sleeves and skirts were pleated.
Headwear and accessories
Hairstyle played an important role. Men and women alike looked after their headgear and even curled their curls with the help of special hot tongs (this is something like modern curling irons). And although the church forbade doing anything with their hair, city dwellers rarely listened to her in pursuit of fashion. Long, well-groomed hair was popular. Women collected them in a variety of hairstyles that were very high. They were decorated with flower branches and precious stones. Often, for convenience, they used special cylinders - gennins. This item supported the hair and could be either sheer or adorned with a flowing veil.
The influence of the Middle Ages on the history of fashion
It is believed that the Gothic clothing of the Middle Ages was most common in the Czech Republic. Czech tailors became the inventors of skirts and various accessories, clothing styles.
The appearance of buttons, new types of hair styling and ways to decorate clothes has made a huge contribution to fashion. The Middle Ages can be considered a difficult time for developmentcultures: plague, constant wars and undeveloped medicine - all these factors were obstacles to the peaceful life of people. However, it is precisely this time that is marked by the leap of society to the beautiful, which will continue into the Renaissance.
Clothes in the Middle Ages began to be created not only for practical purposes, but also for beauty. Not only the costumes were decorated and transformed, changes took place with architecture, painting, literature and music. The more cultured the society became, the more attention people paid to subtleties, and in all things one could find a special aesthetic.
The clothes of the Middle Ages appeared in one of the most beautiful and interesting stages in the development of fashion. From simple dresses that looked like monastic cassocks, people came to richly decorated costumes with huge sleeves and decorative embroideries, interesting skirts and high hairstyles. Burlap and wool began to be replaced by linen and silk. The most unusual color schemes were reflected in clothes and accessories, and experiments with combining fabrics allowed them to express themselves and show their individuality.