Posts Tagged ‘clothing terms’

Once again I shall make a glossary of clothing terms, this time from the Renaissance.  Some of the terms I defined for Medieval clothing were also used during the Renaissance and I will most likely use some of those terms in current posts, so their definitions can be found here.

basquine — boned bodice made of whalebone and leather, gave the appearance of wider shoulders tapering to a tiny waist (women)

beret— thin, loose hats that usually tilted towards one side of the head

Renaissance beret

bombasting — stuffing for trunk hose, peascod-belly, and leg-of-mutton sleeves, composed of rags, flock, and other materials

bourrelet — wider version of the farthingale adapted in France, more cylindrical in shape rather than conical (women)

bum roll/bolster — roll of padding tied around the hip line to hold the skirt out from the body, less restrictive than the farthingale (women)

camicia — undershirt usually made of white linen (men)

canions — upper stocks worn from the doublet to the knee (men)

chopines — shoes that elevated the wearer, eventually developed into high heels

crescent cap — circular/heart-shaped cap worn towards the back of the head with a velvet veil covering the rest of the hair

codpiece — padded triangle of fabric worn laced to the front of the trunk hose over the groin (men)

copotain — high bell-shaped hat

doublet — man’s bodice

duckbill shoes/scarpines/ox-mouth shoe — large, wide, square-toed shoes often decorated with jewels or slashes (men)

enseigne — disc-shaped hat ornament, usually extremely detailed with jewels/carvings (men)

farthingale — topmost petticoat, hooped to give shape to the skirt (women)

finestrella sleeves — sleeves where the outer fabric was slit horizontally and the sleeves of the undergarment were pulled through (women)

flat cap — flat hat with soft crown and moderately broad brim (men)

funnel sleeves — sleeves that were fitted at the upper arm and ballooned out, fitted tightly around wrist

gorget— neck ornament

Kennel or Gable Headdress

jerkin— short velvet or leather jacket, usually sleeveless (men)

kennel/gable headdress — pentagonal piece worn over the top of the head with veil/bag cap of dark velvet attached to the back and covering hair (women)

leg-of-mutton sleeves — puffed sleeves that extended the entire length of the arm

neck wisk — a falling ruff that was open at the front, resembling a collar

nether stocks — trunks worn under breeches, long enough so that the bottoms could be seen (men)

pantofles — wooden platforms attached to the sole of the shoe with pieces of fabric to protect them from rain, snow, and mud

peascod-belly doublet — doublet rounded at the abdomen to give the appearance of a filled-out belly (men)

points — resembled shoelaces, used to attach trunk hose to doublets or sleeves to doublets or bodices (lacing/trussing)

pokes — apron-like pockets tied to the doublet (men)

ruff — starched (often with different colors) and wired collar pleated into ruffles, could be made of lace or jeweled, usually had matching cuffs

shoe rose — decoration usually made of lace or jewels that was worn at the front of the shoe

slashing and puffing — slits cut in a garment with fabric from the undergarment pulled through to form puffs

stomacher — stiffened triangular piece worn at the front of the bodice, reaching from neckline to lower abdomen (women)

supportasse — frames of silk-colored wire pinned underneath the ruff to keep it in place

trunk hose/pumpkin hose — ballonish-looking breeches that extended from the end of the doublet to about mid-thigh (men)

Venetians— full breeches that reached the knee

Wings on the Shoulders

verdingale/farthingale frill — stiff wheel of fabric, often pleated, worn between the bodice and the skirt (women)

wasp waist — deep V-shaped waistline that extended over the skirt

wings — rolled fabric worn vertically around each shoulder, between the sleeve and the bodice

wisk/Medici collar — fan-shaped pleated collar, stiffened with wire and open at the front

zipone — buttoned tunic that reached the knee worn over the doublet (men)

zornea — cape with wide sleeves, belted at the waist (men)

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To wrap up my posts about Medieval fashion and before I move on to Renaissance costume, I decided to share some illuminations from the Middle Ages that colorfully depict the fashions worn then.  Most of these are from the later Medieval period because there are little detailed images from the early Middle Ages.

The image below is from Jacques de Longuyon’s Vows of the Peacock, an illuminated manuscript from around 1350, and depicts nobles playing chess.  It shows the dagged chaperons and buttoned cotehardies as well as the pointed poulaines worn by men.  The women wear cotehardies, some with sideless surcoats over them and some with dalmation sleeves.


The following image is from an illuminated calendar from around 1410 called Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.  This specific illumination is for the month of April and depicts noble men and women with the Chateau de Dourdan in the background.  The men wear large houppelands with dagged dalmation sleeves.  The women wear fashionable high-waisted gowns with large dalmation sleeves as well as rolled hennins in various styles.


This next image is a painting called “The Arnolfini Portrait” from 1434 and is by Jan van Eyck.  Although his painting style is much more similar to Renaissance art, the fashions depicted are still Medieval.  The man wears a fur-lined tappert over a black cotehardie and a wide-brimmed hat.  The woman wears a wimple over her hair as well as a green, fur-lined, high-waisted gown with slashed sleeves over a blue cotehardie.


The below image is a painting called “Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius” from the manuscript The Consolation of Philosophy.  It is from around 1450, at the end of the era of Medieval fashion and just before the Renaissance started changing clothing.  The women wear a variety of gown styles, including sideless surcoats over cotehardies and the v-necked, high-waisted “Burgundian” gown.  They all wear either wimples or hennins in different fashions, some veiled.

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I have found in my research that I keep coming across many terms related to medieval clothing that I am not familiar with, and I doubt most people are.  While normally I would just infer meanings of words I don’t know, most of these are pretty critical in understanding this subject, and are usually interesting as well.  So I have decided to make a short dictionary of sorts to increase both my understanding and yours.  These terms relate mostly to clothing items, but some are used in methods of making clothes or in different styles. 

bliaud — overgown with either long, tight sleeves or looser, elbow-length sleeves

braies/slops — short pants gathered and tied at the waist and tucked into hose (men)

butterfly— starching veils and shaping them using wired, worn over headdresses (women)

Butterfly-styled headdress

caul/snood/crespinette — a net, usually of gold or silver, used to hold up hair, often lined with fabric (women)

chainse — under-tunic, often belted with leather or cord and worn alone in warm weather

chaperon — hood covering head and draped over shoulders

chatelaine — leather pouch or chain hanging from a belt that usually carried household tools, personal items, or coins

chausses — hose attached at the top (men)

coif — close-fitting headdress of white linen, cotton or silk that tied under chin, usually worn under other head coverings

cotehardie — tight-fitting tunic or gown

cottes historiées — family’s coat of arms emblazoned on garments in embroidery or appliqué

crackowes/poulaines — soft, pointed shoes, often wooden-soled, sometimes with the toes held up by gold chains attached to the knee if they were long enough

cyclas — sleeveless tunic worn with or without belt

dagging — ornamental cutting of fabric edges, applied to all manners of clothing

dalmation/angel sleeves — large, voluminous sleeves

escoffion — double-pointed headdress (women)

gorget — square of fabric draped under chin to cover neck (often accompanying the wimple) (women)

hennin — high, pointed, conical headdress that imitated the Gothic church spire, often with veils attached to them (women)

houppelande— long, voluminous coat with sleeves sometimes lined or trimmed with fur

Sideless surcoat worn over a chainse, with a wimple over the hair

justacorps/pourpoint/jupon — quilted garment similar to a vest or jacket (men)

liripipe — long, trailing point often added to a hood or headdress

mantle — cloak worn over clothes, sometimes lined with fur or with a hood

particolored — garments divided into sections and sewn in contrasting colors

pelicon — fur lined robe, usually made from large piece of fabric with holes cut for the head and slits for arms

points/tapes — small laces that tied hose up to slops or braies (men)

ruching — pleating or gathering

stomacher — traingular piece extending from neckline to lower abdomen (women)

sugarloaf hat — tall, rounded hat (men)

surcoat/robe — outer tunic

tabard — scoop-necked surcoat often open at the sides (men)

tappert — German coat padded at the shoulders, usually with slashed and cuffed sleeves (men)

toque/porkpie hat — hat with scalloped/pleated edges and an open top, attached by a chinstrap

wimple/headrail/couvre-chef — kerchief draped over head and shoulders or over a cloth cap (women)

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