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Clothing Definitions

Words, especially names for things, are often confused. We do not suggest that our definitions are definitive, but we all require a common ground in order to communicate. Efforts are made to use period terminology, but this is often confusing as the same term is sometimes used for apparently (or definitely) different things. Our usage reflects our understanding of the actuality coupled with our decisions as to what might represent the common form of the item. Aiglettes: the metal ends often found on points.

Braes: men’s underwear, most likely of linen.

Cloke: typically made with a separate hood. Noble men are wearing side opening semi-circular clokes which buttoned over the right shoulder. Less fancy clokes may be sewn together at the shoulder and have a wider head opening. Women’s clokes open at the front.

Container: Chests, wicker packs, bags, sacks, baskets, barrels. satchels, etc. The concept here is something appropriate to your portrayal in which you can put your personal “stuff.”

Cote: a men’s over-garment. Although it is not equivalent to a modern coat, a heavy weight version can serve like one. Cotes come in many cuts. Commons with pretensions and nobles often wear more fitted garments, usually padded for a fashionable silhouette. Houppelandes are coming into fashion for men.

Cotehardie: A particular cut for a woman's fitted kirtle or gown or a man's fitted tunic. We try to avoid using this term, as it tends to cause debate and confusion among costumers.

Footwear: Leather turn shoes and boots are the common form of footwear. Long pointed toes (poulaines) are worn by nobles and entertainers. Footed hosen often substitute for shoes.

Gown: the outer layer of a woman’s or man's outfit. Women’s houppelandes are not yet in fashion.

Headgear: Men and women commonly wore some sort of head covering, especially outdoors. Hats (especially among the wealthier) and hoods (especially among the poorer) for men. Veils, hats, and elaborate hairdressing (often with nets and/or coronets) for women. The latter is typical of high rank ladies. Commons women may wear hoods usually buttoning under the chin.

Hosen: long leg coverings (one per leg), usually held up with brooches or points (ties). Often a second layer, long or short, is worn (especially in chilly weather). Point-hose tie at a single or at most two points per leg. Tailed-hose have multiple fastenings and extend to cover the wearer’s butt. Women’s hosen are typically short (below the knee) and held up with garters.

Kirtle: a woman’s under-dress. It can be worn without a gown indoors or while working. It is cut fairly close to the body, with long, tight sleeves. The most closely fitted styles are reserved for the wealthy, as they are more tailored, require help in dressing, and restrict movement somewhat.

Pattens: "overshoes" made wood or multi-layered leather.

Points: fabric or leather cords used to fasten clothing items together.

Pourpoint: a men’s garment providing either points or holes for points to attach the hosen. Much of the sculptured silhouette of high fashion comes from this garment. It can be worn alone or under a gown.

Purse: A number of styles are in use. Everyone should have one to hold personal items. Women’s purses are usually worn suspended on a long cord from a belt, often between the kirtle and the gown. Men’s purses hang from their belts.

Shift: a woman’s undergarment, usually of linen. Essentially a light under-dress.

Shirt: a men’s undergarment, most likely of linen.

Tunic: A commoner’s garment of loose fit. We most commonly use the cut of the Boksten tunic as our model.