Medieval Clothing: A Primer

Medieval Dress for the Beginner:


- Tunics
    -Dark Ages
    -The High Middle Ages
    -The Late Middle Ages
Leg coverings (under construction)

Medieval Clothing Terms

This is a glossary of terms compiled by I. Marc Carlson of the University of Tulsa. This is an excellent glossary of terms, anything I would have compiled myself would either not be as complete, or would take months to research. Instead of meshing together varying definitions from opposing sources, Carlson has elected to present them as separate definitions from a variety of sources ~ a technique that I feel has great merit.

When a term has arisen, Carlson started researching it by examining it with the Oxford English Dictionary (2d Ed.) as a baseline. That means that if you see material that is neither in quotations, with a clear citation, or set off in italics, it is either a quotation or a paraphrase of material in the OED2. This does not mean that the OED is the best source available - it has a number of flaws. It is, however, a generally accepted source for quality definitions. Material that has been set off in italics are either titles or works, special words, or Carlson's own opinions.

I have expanded upon this list but have made no attempt to distinguish between my additions and the text of Carlson's original.


Aglets (Aigulettes)


  • Ecclesiastical vestement; full-length white linen tunic, girdled with a cord and often embroidered on the front and around the hem.  [Piponnier]


  • Headdress in the shape of a long hood, lined with fur; worn originally by the laity of both sexes and later exclusively by clerics.  [Piponnier]


  • Ecclesiastical vestement; a rectangular piece of fabric, often embroidered, worn round the neck by the priest, under the chasuble.  [Piponnier]


Amice, Aumusse, Amusse

  • Amyse  14th
  • Amisse  15th
  • Ammes, Ammas, Ammys, Ames, Amys, Am(m)esse   16th
  • Amis(e   16th-17th
  • Amysse   17th
  • Amos   16th, 19th
  • Amice   16th
  • From the Old French. aumuce, aumusse
  • An article of costume of the religious orders, made of, or lined with grey fur. It varied at different times in character and mode of wearing, being originally (it is said) a cap or covering for the head; afterwards a hood, or cape with a hood; in later times a mere college 'hood' or badge, borne by canons in France on the left arm.
  • A cloth for wrapping round, a scarf, handkerchief, or other loose wrap.
  • 'A simple head-dress in the form of a flat hood falling to the shoulders, worn by both sexes.  The clerical hood often included bands falling forward to the chest (13th and 14th centuries).  From then on it was only worn by the canons, and as they developed the habit of lifting the fold over the arm it finally became reduced to a simple band of fur.' [Boucher]
  • 'Simple headdress in the form of a flat hood falling to the shoulders' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Armscye (Armseye)

  • It's not a term that is particularly medieval, but it gets tossed around a lot in medieval clothing discussions.  It means 'Armhole', or that roundish place in the body of a garment that the sleeve gets set into. 
    • OED "Scye - The opening in a coat into which a sleeve is inserted. 1st listed use is 1825 JAMIESON Suppl. s.v. Sey, The sey of a gown or shift is the opening through which the arm passes. Etymology is listed as "A use of a Scots and Ulster dialect word (written also sey, sci, si, sie, sy in glossaries) meaning the opening of a gown, etc., into which the sleeve is inserted; the part of the dress between the armpit and the chest (E.D.D.); of obscure etymology.
    •  Armseye is listed in a description of 'Dolman' (sleeves) in the OED, dated to 1934.




  • Undyed woolen fabric of homespun quality.  [Piponnier]

Belt, Cingulum, Girdle

  • A broadish, flat strip of leather or similar material, used to gird or encircle the person, confine some part of the dress, and to support various articles of use or ornament.  See also Girdle
  • At the end of the 14th century, belts could consist of a series of gold or silver panels joined together. They normally consisted, however, of a long strip of fabric or leather with a metal buckle at one end and a matching clasp at the other. A belt would sometimes be decorated with ornamental nails from one end to the other.  [Piponnier]



  • Berretta  16th
  • The square cap worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church; that of priests being black, of bishops purple, of cardinals red.  Related to Beret, Beretta, Barret, etc.
  • 'Originally a head dress, difficult to distinguish from the aumusse (late 13th, early 14th centuries).  In the 16th centuries, the name was transferred to round caps, which became square on top once a hatter had the idea of fitting them on a rigid frame, giving the shape still worn by the clergy today.'  [Boucher]
  • Man or woman's headdress; rounded or semi-circular cap fitting closely to the edges; clerical wear by the 16th century.  [Piponnier]

Bliaut (Bliaud, Bliaus, Bliant, Bliaunt, Bliand)

  • There are a number of wildly differing interpretations for what this term means.  The conservative estimate is that it's a generic French term for a sort of outer garment.
  • 'Masc. Fem.  Outer shirt-type dress, slit up the sides, or with pleats freedom of movement, especially on horseback.  Precursor of the shirt or blouse. 12th C.' [Davies]
  • 'A medieval shirt which was the origin of the linen blouse or smock worn by European peasants of both sexes today.  The Bliaud was worn over the chainse, or chemise, and slit up the sides to allow freedom for the legs when riding horseback.' [Wilcox]
  • 'Long overgown worn by both sexes from the 11th to the late 13th centuries.   The woman's version fitted closely at the bust  and had long loose sleeves.   It was worn with a belt.  The male model, with narrower sleeves, was slit at the foot and covered by a coat of chain mail: it too was belted.  The bliaud was often richly ornamented.  A looser version, the SHORT BLIAUD, was worn by workers and soldiers.' [Boucher]
  • 'Bliaut (d): 12th century dress of fine material, largely pleated, worn by men and women.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]




  • Padded roll or circlet worn by children to protect their heads, or, in the 15th century, by men to give volume to their hoods. Also the padded roll added to women's headdresses.  [Piponnier]


  • See Breches



1 brc, (brc), 3 brych, 3-5 brech, 4-6 breche, 4-7 breeche, 6 breache, briech, bryche, 6-7 breetch, 7 brich, 7- britch, 9 breach, 5- breech. [Com. Teut.: OE. brc (brec), pl. of *brc fem. = OFris. brk, pl. brk, (MDu. broec, Du. broek), OHG. bruoh (MHG. bruoch, mod.Ger. bruch, obs. in 18th c., but still in Switz. pl. brch), ON. brk, pl. btype *brk-s fem. monosyl. 'article of clothing for the loins and thighs'.  Often stated to be an adoption of L. broca (also broca, bracca), or its Gaulish original, which was app. *brocca, clothing for the legs ('barbara tegmina crurum'; Vergil n. XI. 777); but *brk-s has all the marks of an original Teutonic word = Aryan *bhrg-s. The Celtic brocca is considered by Dr. Whitley Stokes to be phonetically descended from an earlier *brog-na, a derivative of the same root bhrog-, and so cognate with the Teutonic.]

  • A garment covering the loins and thighs: at first perh. only a 'breech-cloth'; later reaching to the knees.    a. in OE. brc, plural of brc.
  • 'Baccae or Braes: loose trousers ending below knees or at ankles, and tied there, Roman, early European.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Good quality woolen fabric, dark brown in color.  [Piponnier]



  • A gown worn by men; full length and buttoned down the front, it originated in the Middle East.  [Piponnier]


  • Woolen fabric of medium quality, made from camel's hair.  [Piponnier]


  • An early form of 'cope' which is retained in Northern English dialects and Scottish.  A cloak with a hood, a cloak or mantle generally, or an ecclesiastical cope.
  • 'A cape is a short sleeveless garment from the late 16th century on (the modern definition).  As opposed to a Cloak' [Zylstra-Zeems]


Forms: 4-6 calle, 6 caull(e, 6-7 call, cal, kall, caule, cawle, 7 kal, kaull, kawle, 7-9 cawl, 7- caul. [a. F. cale a kind of small cap or head-dress.]

  • A kind of close-fitting cap, worn by women: a net for the hair; a netted cap or head-dress, often richly ornamented. Obs. exc. Hist.  (In the Middle Ages, the word 'Caul” also refered to a membrane around the heart, a membrane in the intestines; a cabbage, a stem or stalk; and a sheepfold).
  • 'jeweled net worn as women's head-covering, 14th-15th centuries.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Chainse, Cainsil, Chaisel, Ceisil

[a. OF. cheisil, chesil, var. of cheincil, chensil, chansilh, cainsil: lateL. camisole, -is (8th c. in Du Cange), f. camisia]

  • A fine linen (Byss?) . Applied to various things made of this fabric, as a chemise, smock, shirt, veil, etc.
  • See Chemise
  • May refer to a garment worn between the Chemise/Shirt and the Kirtle, or may refer to the Chemise/Shirt  (French)
  • 'long tunic of fine linen with long sleeves tightly fitted at the wrists; always white and usually pleated. Worn under bliaut(d).' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


6-7 chapperon, 7 chapron, chapperoon, shaparoon, shaparowne, shabbaron, 7-9 chaperoon. [a. F. chaperon hood, a kind of dim. deriv. of chape cope, cape (cf. moucheron gnat, f. mouche fly); also used in sense 3 (in which English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination).]

  • A hood or cap formerly worn by nobles, and. after the 16th c., by ladies. Obs. exc. Hist.  (Cotgr. (1611) has 'Chaperon, a hood, or French hood (for a woman); also any hood, bonnet, or lettice cap.)
  • 'hat contrived from winding long 'liripipe' round cap, later made as complete headgear' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]
  • Hood, originally covering the head and shoulders. A hole was cut in the fabric to frame the face. The point of the hood was often very long. In the 15th century changing masculine fashion dictated that the head should go right through the visor and the neckpiece be raised to form a crest on the head, often on a padded ring (bourrelet). The point of the hood was then worn round the neck or round the head. [Piponnier]
  • The Chaperon worn hanging over the shoulder became a fashion statement of its own, that remains even today in some forms of military decoration.


  • Ecclesiastical vestment; sleeveless and circular in cut. Worn by priests over an alb and by bishops over a dalmatic, the chasuble had a hole in the center for the head to pass through.  [Piponnier]


In 5 chauces, 6 chauses. [a. OF. chauces, mod.F. chausses = Pr. calsas, caussas, Sp. calzas, Pg. calas, It. calze, calzi, med.L. calcias, pl. of calcia, clothing for the legs, trousers, breeches, pantaloons, drawers, hose, stockings; f. L. calceus, calcius, shoe, half-boot. Formerly naturalized

  • Pantaloons or tight coverings for the legs and feet; esp. of mail, forming part of a knight's armour (in OF. chauces de fer).
  • Latin Calcia, clothing for the legs (include trousers, breeches, pantaloons, drawers, hose, stockings).  'Hosen'
  • Leggings to make shoes taller.  [?]
  • 'garment for covering leg and feet, originally held with criss-crossed thongs to the knee.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Chemise (Camise, Kamise)

  • There are two derivations for this term in English.  First, the Old English Cemes and the early Middle English Kemes, probably deriving from a prehistoric OE '*Camisja-', in turn from the late Latin Camisia, Camisa 'shirt - surplice'.  The Latin also yeilds the Old French Chemise (the second source in English), Old Norman French Camise, Quemise, Kemise,   Provenal and Spanish Camisa, Portuguese Camiza, and Italian Camiscia, Camicia.  The chemise was an undergarment, a Shirt, once worn by both men and women, but eventually the term was used to refer only to a woman's undergarment and replacing Shift as the more delicate term in the 19th century.  The term was also used to refer to a different form of an undergarment than a smock.
  • 1 cemes, 4 kemes, kemse; . 2, 6, 8-9 chemise. [Two types of this word appear in Eng., both ultimately derived from late L.: (1) OE. cemes (? fem.), early ME. kemes, kemse:prehistoricOE. type *camisja-, from the late L. word; (2) chemise, a. O. and mod.F. chemise (ONF. camise, quemise, kemise, Pr. and Sp. camisa, Pg. camiza, It. camiscia, camicia): lateL. camisia, camisa shirt, surplice (see Du Cange).  L. camisia appears first in Jerome c 400 (Ep. Vest. Mul. 64 n. 11 'volo pro legentis facilitate abuti sermone vulgato; solent militantes habere lineas, quas camisias vocant'). It is also in Salic Law (lviii. 4 camisia, and camisa), Isidore (XIX. xxi. 1, xxii. 29 'Camisias (v.r. camisas) vocari, quod in his dormimus in camis, id est stratis nostris'). Beside it is found the deriv. camis-le, -is, camps-le, OF. cainsil, chainsil fine linen, alb, etc. ; also an uncertainly related camix, It. camice, OF. cainse, chainse, 'alb'.

  •   The ulterior history and origin of camisia are uncertain. German etymologists incline to consider it adopted from Teutonic, and related to OE. ham shirt, and Ger. hemd, OHG. hemidi, Gothic type *hamii, f. root ham to cover, clothe. Kluge supposes a derivative *hamisj-, which, if it existed, might perh. give a Romanic camisia, as German h gave c in OFrench, through Frankish ch. But besides other difficulties, no traces of the required word are actually found in any Teutonic lang., the nearest thing being ON. hams masc. (chamiso-z) snake's slough. The Irish caimmse, Cornish cams, Bret. kamps an alb, and MCorn. camse an article of female clothing, are all adopted from L. or French.]
  • A garment: the name has been variously applied at different times; perh. originally (as still in French and other Romanic languages) the under-garment, usually of linen, both of men and women, a shirt; but now restricted to that worn by females, formerly called 'smock' and 'shift'. Formerly also applied to some under garment distinct from the 'smock', as well as to a priest's alb or surplice (so med.L. camisa), the robe of a herald, etc. In recent use: a dress hanging straight from the shoulders. Also chemise dress.

Cloak (Cloke/Chape [Kape])

  • Cloke    13th-19th
  • Cloke    13th (Old French)
  • Clooke  15th-16th
  • Cloc(c)a (medieval Latin) [n.b. there is a pun here in Latin regarding the shape of a bell]
  • Hoyke    (German)
  • Chape    (French)
  • Chaip    15th (Scottish)
  • Shape    15th (Scottish)
  • A loose, outer garment.
  • A Chape is a bad weather cloak [Zylstra-Zeems]


3-7 coyfe, 4-5 coyffe, coyf, 6 coiffe, 6-7 coife, quoife, 7-9 quoif, 5- coif; (also 4 koife, coyif, coyphe, 5 koyf, 7 koyfe, 8 quoiff; 6 Sc. kuafe, queif, quayf, 7 quaiffe, quaife). [ME. coyfe, a. OF. coife, coiffe (= Prov. cofa, Sp. cofia, Pg. coifa, It. cuffia): late L. *cuffia (cofea in Venant. Fortunatus, cuphia in Alcuin), supposed by Diez and others to represent an OHG. *kupphja, deriv. of OHG. chuppha, MHG. kupfe cap.]

  • A close-fitting cap covering the top, back, and sides of the head.    In early use a cap of this kind, tied like a night-cap under the chin, worn out of doors by both sexes.
  • 'close-fitting cap of white linen later embroidered or made in black.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Cope (Cape)

    • Cape    13th-14th
    • Cope    13th-
    • Cape    14th- (Northern English, Scottish)
    • Caip     14th- (Northern English, Scottish)
    • Kape    14th- (Northern English, Scottish)
    • Caip     14th- (Northern English, Scottish)
    • Kope    13th
    • Coepe   14th
    • Coppe   14th-16th
    • Coope   15th-17th
    • Coape   16th-17th
  • A long cloak or cape, worn as an outer garment, chiefly out of doors
  • Special dress of a monk
  • Ecclesiastical vestment
  • Some sort of cover, (v. to cover)
  • 'hooded cloak, sometimes with sleeves, worn for protection against rain' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]



Forms: 4-9 corsette, 5 corsete, coursette, 9 corsett, 5- corset. [a. F. corset (13th c. in Littr), dim. of OF. cors body.]

  • A close-fitting body-garment; esp. a laced bodice worn as an outside garment by women in the middle ages and still in many countries; also a similar garment formerly worn by men. (1299 Wardrobe Acct. 28 Edw. I, 28/15, 2 corsett' de miniver.)
  • 'Middle Ages: sort of long or short surcote with or without sleeves, worn by men from the mid-12th to the mid-15th centuries.  From the 14th to the 16th centuries, a woman's gown, laced in front and fur-lined in winter. [Boucher]
  • 'in medieval times, two definitions: 1) long or short surcoat with or without sleeves worn by men in the 12th-15th centuries; 2) a woman's furlined winter gown lacing in front, worn between 14th and 16th centuries.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


    • Cote        14th-17th (Middle English, Old French)
    • Coete      14th
    • Coot(e)   14th-16th
    • Kote       14th-16th
    • Cot         16th  (early Modern English, Old French, Provenal, Catalan)
    • Cott(e)    16th  (early Modern English, Modern French)
    • Cootte     16th
    • Coate      16th-17th
    • Coat        17th-
    • Coit         16th (Scottish)
    • Cut          ?
    • Cota        (Provenal, Spanish, Portuguese)
    • Cotta       (Italian, 9th Medieval Latin)
    • Cottus      (Medieval Latin)
    • Kyrtle      (-scandinavian-)
  • Possibly derives from the Old High German Chozzo for 'coarse shaggy woolen stuff, and the garment made from it'
  • A garment, an outer garment, usually of cloth with sleeves. (from c1300-)
  • Used to translate the ancient terms (Latin) Tunica; (Greek) Xitwn, or Chiton; (Hebrew) K'thoneth/Kuttoneth  (from c1380-)
  • 'Old English and French for the men's and women's outer garment.  The masculine cote was a tunic varying in length halfway between  waist and knee.   The feminine cotte was a complete dress fitted at the waist and reaching to the floor.  The word has remained in English as coat.' [Wilcox]
  • 'Cote, Cotte: O.E. OF. Masc: Outer garment. Fem: Long dress or petticoat, 12th-15th centuries.' [Davies]
  • 'The basis of the wardrobe was the cotte (German rock), a long sleeved shift, slightly blousing over the girdle and widening from the hips down to the seam.  In the earlier decades, the sleeves were so tight that every movement of the arm drew the cotte into a sunburst of pleats at the inset of the sleaves.  In the second half of the century, the sleeves were usually wider at the inset, tapering to a close fit towards the wrist.' [Zylstra-Zeems]
  • 'tunic or gown' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Cotehardie  (Cote - Hardi; Cottehardie)

  • A close fitting garment with sleeves worn by both genders (c1450-)
  • 'An Italian medieval fashion worn by both sexes, full length for women and tunic length for men.  It varied in style from the 12th to the 14th centuries, but generally the sleeves were long, and the body closefitting.' [Wilcox]
  • 'Cote-hardie: masc: Tunic of varying length between waist and knee. fem: Full length waisted garment worn over kirtle. Both close fitting and with sleeves. 1350. Until mid-15th century, flap from elbow was lengthened into a band called a tippet, or Fr. coudicre. Sometimes with a buttoned front fastening and often 'dagged' for decoration.' [Davies]
  • 'gown for men or women.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


Forms: 4-5 courtepy, -by, kourtepy, courtpy, curt(e)by, -py, 5 cowrt(e)by, (cowrbe, 6 courtby, 7-9 courtpie, cote-a-pye). [app. a. MDu. korte pe, i.e. korte short + pe, coat of coarse woollen stuff, now pij: cf. coat, -jacket.]


  • [The derivation and form-history present difficulties. OE. renders L. cuculla by cuele, cule, cuhle and cule, weak fem.; also cufle wk. f. The former comes down in 12-13th c. cole, and the coule, cowle (coole) of later times; cufle may be the parent of kuuele (which in Ancren R. would regularly stand for kuvele), couele, kuuel, couel. OE. cuele is cognate with OHG. cucula, cugula, chugela (MHG. kugele, kugel, gugel, LG. kogel), a. eccl. Lat. cuculla monk's cowl, from cl. L. cucullus hood of a cloak. OE. cufle appears to be cognate with MDu. covele, cvel(e fem., in Kilian kovel, mod.Du. keuvel 'cowl', and to be connected with (perh. the origin of) Icel. kofl, kufl str. masc. 'cowl'. The history of cufle and its allied forms is obscure.]  A garment with a hood (vestis caputiata), worn by monks, varying in length in different ages and according to the usages of different orders, but 'having the permanent characteristics of covering the head and shoulders, and being without sleeves' (Cath. Dict.). Also, formerly, a cloak or frock worn by laymen or by women.   The cl. Lat. cucullus was the hood of a cloak, covering the head only. The cowls of the early Egyptian monks covered the heads, and barely reached the shoulders; by 800 the cowls of monks had become so long as to reach their heels, when St. Benedict restricted their length to two cubits. In the 14th c. the cowl and the frock were often confounded; but it was declared at the Council of Vienne 'we understand by the name of cuculla a habit long and full, but not having sleeves, and by that of floccus a long habit which has long and wide sleeves'. See Du Cange s.v. Cuculla.

Culot, Culotte


  • Frequently used today to refer to the garment also referred to as a 'sideless surcote',  'surcoat with gates-of-hell sleeves', 'gates of Hell' and so on.
  • [Latin cyclas, Greek kuklas a women's garment with a border all around it.]  A tightly-fitting upper garment or tunic worn by women from ancient times; also sometimes by men, esp. the tunic or surcoat made shorter in front than behind, won by knights over their armour in the 14th century.
  • 1860 FAIRHOLT Costume 97 The lady wears a long gown, over which is a cyclas, or tightly fitting upper body garment...

  • [i.e. a catachrestic or erroneous use] Identified or confused with CICLATOUN q.v.; see also Du Cange s.v. Cyclas.
    1834 PLANCH British Costumes 95  'a rich stuff manufactured in the Cyclades, and therefore called cyclas or ciclatoun, gave its name to a garment like a dalmatic or supertunic worn by both sexes.
    1876 ROCK Text. Fabr, iv. 27.
  • Ciclatoun [Obsolete] Various forms in English from 13th century to 16th: ciclatun(e, ciclatoun, siclatoun, sikelatoun, syclatoun, sicladoun, siklatoun, ciclatoune, syclatowne, syclatown, shecklaton, checklaton [Old French ciclaton, -un, chiclaton, ciglaton, siglaton, segleton, senglaton, singlaton; Spanish ciclaton; Provenal sosclato (Diez); Middle High German ciclt, ziglt, siglt, siklatn]. The source of names found in most European languages in the Middle Ages, appears to have been Arabic (originally Persian) siqlatun, also siqilat, siqalat, etc.  The original Persian term, sakarlat, is the same word from which we derive Scarlet.  The primary meaning was 'scarlet cloth', later 'fine painted or figured cloth', 'cloth of gold'.

  • Diez took ciclaton as a derivative of the Latin Cyclas-adem, a Greek kuklas,'a state robe of women with a border running around it.  Dozy, Suppl. Arab. Lex. appears to derive the Arabic from cyclas.  Du Cange also identified cyclas and ciclatum, and it is possible that the two words were, from their similarity, confused in Europe in the Middle Ages.
    A precious material much esteemed in the Middle Ages.  In the first quotation (1225) it refers perhaps to 'scarlet cloth'; in others it is cloth of gold or other rich material.  Perhaps, sometimes, a robe or mantle of this stuff (cf. Godefroy).   The word is obsolete by 1400, although variations still appear in English for another century
  • '1Cyclas -adis feminine. (kuklas) a female robe of state, having a border of purple or gold embroidery: Propertius, Juvenal.
  • 2Cyclas feminine (namely Island) generally used in the plural Cyclades, -um, a group of islands in the Aegean Sea.' [Cassell's Latin]
  •  'Cyclas1 ~adis (~ados) A female's light outer garment having a decorated border.
  • Cyclas2 ~adis (~ados) One of the Cyclades, the islands in the Aegean surrounding Delos (usually plural).' [OLD]
  •  'Kuklas - encircling, as in the Cyclades, and also a woman's garment with a circling decoration.' [Liddell ∓ Scott's Greek-English Lexicon]
  • 'Cyclas. masc. fem. Silken short tunic, or cloak, crom Cyclades, Greek Islands.  Worn over armour from 13th century.' [Davies]
  • 'Cyclas  A short capelike cloak or tunic worn by men and women from ancient Greek and Roman times to thirteenth century England; made of a rich silk cloth called cyclas because it was made in the Cyclades.  Greeks, Romans, Franks, and Goths wore the garment.  At the coronation of the English Henry III in the 13th century, the guest 'citizens of London wore the cyclas over vestements of silk.'  In the same period, knights wore the cyclas over their armor as a surcoat.' [n.b. the illustration shown is of a short, loose garment edged at the collar and cuffs in fur]   [Wilcox]
  • [Not referred to in Boucher]
  • Under 'Spain', two women and a man are depicted and described as wearing a 'cyclas'.  One woman and a man are in pellots (edged in a border), tunics and copes (edged in a border).  These are described as 'cyclas and loba'.   In the next picture, a woman is described as having a cyclas, two women are depicted - one argueably wearing a sideless surcote with attached sleeves the same material as the surcoat, the other in a fitted bodice. [Racinet]   The term for a Cyclas in Spain seems to be a Pellote.
  • 'Cyclas, or sleeveless tunic' shown as a military garment and there is a vague distinction between it and the sideless gown. [Hill]
  • 'Men's dress. Tunics; cyclas or cyclaton: sleeves tapering to wrist; use of parti-color; dagged edges; fur linings.' [two illustrations showing sleeveless tabard over armor] [Davenport]
  • 'Cyclas (ciclatoun, syglaton, gardcorp, surcote).  Matthew of Paris relates that at the wedding of Henry III, in 1236, many... dressed in garments for which he uses the word 'cycladibus,' worked with gold, over vestments of silk.  This garment was usually made of very rich material (especially when it came into fashion) manufactured in the Cyclades, and the name Cyclas is attributed to this source.' [illustrations show sideless surcotes]. 'an over-robe without sleeves -- the cyclas-- shaped like that of the men...' [Norris]
  • 'Cyclas or Gardcorps: outer gown, usually sleeveless, with side and front openings.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Daggings, Dagged


  • Apparently from the Latin, the term refers to a garment most often seen in the West as an ecclesiastical vestment.  The Dalmatic derives from a late Roman and Byzantine era garment.  A Dalmatic has wide sleeves, a slit skirt and has specific striped decoration.


  • A variation on the belt worn by women in the 15th century. The back part consisted of a leather or fabric band, the front of two chains, one with a hook on the end, the other with a clasp or hook.  [Piponnier]


  • The term is used in the 14th century for a 'doubled' or lined garment.  It is not clear if this is a particular garment.
  • A closefitting body garment, with or without sleeves, worn by men from the 14th to the 18th centuries.  It is the prototype of modern jackets and vests.  It's first written appearance is in the Wardrobe accounts of Edward II 26/3 (1326)   See Pourpoint.
  • 'quilted garment, stuffed with cotton or waste material, stitched and worn under a hauberk.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]
  • Item of male clothing, fitted and covering the upper part of the body and hips; originally it was made of several thicknesses of cloth padded with silk or cotton and quilted. It began as an undergarment but gradually came to be worn on it's own with hose.  [Piponnier]



False Sleeves


4 filete, philett, 4-5 felet(t, 5 filett, 5-6 fi-, fylette, south. vylette, 6 fyllet(t, (6 fylet, fillott, 7 filot, 7-8 fillit(t), 6-7 phillet, 4-7 filet, 6- fillet. [a. Fr. filet = Pr. filet, Sp. filete, It. filetto, a Com. Romanic diminutive of L. filum thread.]

  • A head-band.    a. A ribbon, string, or narrow band of any material used for binding the hair, or worn round the head to keep the headdress in position, or simply for ornament. Also fig., esp. with reference to the vitta with which in classical antiquity the heads of sacrificial victims were adorned, or to the 'snood' formerly worn as a badge of maidenhood.
  • 'band tied round the head.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Coarse, woolen fabric.  [Piponnier]


  • Cotton or linen fabric, or a mixture of the two, usually a cross-weave.  [Piponnier]


4 gaumbisoun, (campeson), 4-5 gambisoun(e, 5 gambesoun, gambassoune, gamesun, (-son), 7 gambesone, 9 gambeson, (-soon). [a. OF. gambison, gambeison, wambizon, etc. = Pr. gambaiso, med.L. gambesen-em. A shorter form appears in OF. gambais, wambais, Pr. gambais, OSp. gambax = med.L. gambesum, wambas-ium.
  The forms seem to descend from a Rom. type wambsio (subj.), wambesine (obj.), commonly taken to be an adoption of some compound or derivative of OTeut. wamb belly The MHG. wambeis, wambes (mod. Ger. wamms), Du. wambuis, wammes, were adopted from OF.]

Gardecorpe (Garde-corps)

  • Garment for both sexes which, in the early 14th century, replaced the surcote, or was worn over it.  It is confused with the corset; normally loose and flowing, often sleeveless, or with short wide sleeves, it disappeared at the end of the 14th century. [Boucher]

Forms: 4 wardecors, -corps, 5 ward(e) corce, wardcors(e, (wardecose, wardcorpse). [a. AF. wardecors (recorded in sense 2; also latinized wardecosia, wordecorsum, etc.) = OF. gardecorps; f. OF. warde, f. warde-r = garder to guard]

  • A body-guard; an armed personal attendant
  • An over-garment for out-door use.

Garnache, Ganache

  • 'A loose outer garment, with short, wide sleeves, and usually lined with fur'  [Zylstra-Zeems]
  • 'Surcoat or robe worn for extra warmth; similar in shape to the Housse” . [Boucher]
  • 'Ganache: loose outer garment' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Gyrdel              11th
  • Gerdell(e          12th,14th,16th
  • Girrdell             13th
  • Gurdel              13th-14th
  • Gurdil               15th
  • Girdel               14th
  • Etc\
  • [OE. gyrdel (f. gyrdan = MDu. gurdel, gordel (Du. gordel), OHG. gurtil masc., gurtila fem. (MHG. and mod.G. grtel), ON. gyrill (OSw. giordel, Sw. grdel); the OE. gyrdels (=OS. gurdisl), f. the same grade of the root with a different suffix is found earlier than gyrdel, but did not survive into ME.]
  • A belt worn round the waist to secure or confine the garments; also employed as a means of carrying light articles, esp. a weapon or purse.  See also Belt.

Gonelle, Gonne


    • Gore    14th-
    • Goore  14th-16th
    • Gare     14th-19th (Scottish and Northern dialect)
    • Gair(e   16th-19th  (Scottish dialect)
  • [OE. gra = MDu. ghere, gheere, etc. (Du. geer), OHG. gro, kro (MHG. gre, Ger. gehren, gehre), ON. geire (Sw. dial. gere, Da. dial. gre), app. related to OE. gr spear, the reference being to the shape of the spear-head. From OHG. the word passed into the Romanic languages; for the forms in these see GYRON.]
  • poet. The front section of a skirt, wider at the bottom than at the top (cf. sense 3); the lap of a gown, an apron. Hence in extended sense: a skirt, petticoat, gown. Also in phrase under gore, under one's clothes (in ME. poetry often a mere expletive). (Cf. OF. geron, giron used in the same senses.) Obs.
  • a1250 Owl & Night. 515 Habbe he isstunge under gore, Ne last his luve no lenger more. a1290 in Horstmann Altengl. Leg. (1881) 222 Ich wolde I-witen noue Leuedi..Wi e faille gore, Sleue and nammore Of cloat ich I-se. a1300 Siriz 5 Wis he wes of lore And gouthlich under gore And clothed in fair sroud. a1310 in Wright Lyric P. 26 Glad under gore in gro ant in grys. c1320 Sir Tristr. 2868 It was a ferly gin, So heye vnder hir gare It fleie. c1386 CHAUCER Sir Thopas 78 An elf-queene shal my lemman be, And slepe vnder my goore. 1406 HOCCLEVE La Male Regle 31 Had I thy power knowen or this yore..Nat sholde his lym han cleued to my gore. c1460 Emare 198 at fayr lady Was godely unther gare. 1570 LEVINS Manip. 174/7 A Gore, gremiale.
  • Any wedge-shaped or triangular piece of cloth forming part of a garment and serving to produce the difference in width required at different points, esp. used to narrow a skirt at the waist
  • c1325 Gloss. W. de Biblesw. in Wright Voc. 172 Par devant avet escours E de coste sunt gerouns [gloss gores]. c1386 CHAUCER Miller's T. 51 A ceynt she werede..A barm~clooth (eek)..ful of many a goore. Ibid. 136 (Harl. MS.) A kirtel..Schapen with goores in the newe get. c1440 Promp. Parv. 203/2 Goore of a clothe, lacinia. c1480 HENRYSON Test. Cres. 179 His garmound and his gyte ful gay of grene, With goldin listis gilt on every gair. 1501 DOUGLAS Pal. Hon. I. x. 5 In purpour rob hemmit with gold ilk gair. 1530 PALSGR. 226/2 Goore of a smocke, poynte de chemise. 1598 FLORIO, Gheroni..the gores or gussets of a smocke or shirt, the side peeces of a cloke.


4-6 goun(e, 4-7 gowne, (6 Sc. gounn, 8-9 vulgar gownd), 4- gown. [a. OF. goune, gone, gonne fem., a Com. Rom. word = Pr. gona, OSp. gona, It. gonna: med.L. gunna, used in the 8th c. by St. Boniface for a garment of fur permitted to elderly or infirm monks. A late L. gunna 'skin, fur', is quoted from a scholiast on Verg. Georg. III. 383, and in Byzantine Gr. common as the name of a coarse garment, sometimes described as made of skins.
  The origin of the Rom. word is obscure. Some scholars regard it as of Celtic origin, comparing the Welsh gn, Irish fan 'lacerna', which are referred by Stokes (Fick's Idg. Wb.4 II. 281) to an OCeltic *vo-ouno-, f. vo- (= Gr.under) + root ou- to clothe  But Loth (Rev. Celt. XX. 353) raises phonological objections, and believes the Welsh word to be adopted from Eng. (as are the Irish gnn, Gael. gn, Manx goon). In any case the Celtic origin of the Rom. word does not seem to accord with the geographical probabilities. Albanian has gun cloak, but it is uncertain whether this is native or adopted from Gr.]

  • A loose flowing upper garment worn as an article of ordinary attire.    a. By men.
  • Used as the name of the flowing outer garment worn by the ancients, esp. the Roman toga. Hence after Roman usage: 'The dress of peace' (J.).
  • A more or less flowing outer robe indicating the wearer's office, profession, or status:    a. as worn by the holder of a civil or legal or parliamentary office, e.g. an alderman, a judge, magistrate; also collect. the magistracy. furred gown: that worn by an alderman.
  • An outer garment (both genders), a type of flowing Robe.

Gupe, Jupe, Jipe

  • Jupe ---Now only Sc. and north. dial. (exc. as F.).
  • [a. F. jupe, in OF. also jube, gipe = Prov. jupa, Sp. and Pg. (with Arabic article) aljuba; also OF. juppe , jubbe, gippe = It. giuppa, giubba, a. Arab. jubbah, jibbah Derivative forms are For the treatment of the vowel in ME., cf. the forms of duke, flute, and juice.]
  • A loose jacket, kirtle, or tunic worn by men. Obs. (In later use chiefly Sc.)
  • Gipe -- [a. OF. gipe, gippe, var. jupe, etc.] A tunic, smock-frock, cassock.   In the quot. the allusion is app. to the folds or gathers of the tunic.
  • Gipel -- [a. OF. *gipel, jupel (later jupeau, Gippo), f. gipe, jupe]  A short tunic worn under the hauberk.
  • Gippo -- (after 1600 - a. F. jup(p)eau (obs.), earlier jupel Gipel] A short tunic, cassock, or jacket worn by men, later also by women.
  • Jupon -- [a. F. jupon, OF. also juppon, gip(p)on (= Sp. jubon, Pg. jubo, gibo, It. giubbone, giuppone), deriv. of jupe, etc.]  A close-fitting tunic or doublet; esp. one worn by knights under the hauberk, sometimes of thick stuff and padded; later, a sleeveless surcoat worn outside the armour, of rich materials and emblazoned with arms. Obs. exc. Hist.

Gipon, Gypon, , Gippon, Jupon, Jupel

Habergeon, Haubergeon


  • Short houppelande, named after Haincelin Coq, court jester to Charles VI of France.  [Piponnier]


  • [OE. ht, cognate with OFris. hat, north. Fris. hat, hatt, hood, head-covering; ON. httr (genit. hattar, dat. hetti): *hattuz, later nom. hattr, hood, cowl, turban, Sw. hatt, Da. hat, hatte- hat: cf. also Icel. hetta (*hatjn-) hood. The OTeut. *hattuz goes back to earlier *hadns, from ablaut-series had-, hd-, whence OE. hd. Cf. Lith. kdas, kdas tuft or crest of a bird.]  A covering for the head; in recent use, generally distinguished from other head-gear, as a man's cap (or bonnet) and a woman's bonnet, by having a more or less horizontal brim all round the hemispherical, conical, or cylindrical part which covers the head. (But cylindrical 'hats' without brims are worn by some Orientals.)    a. as worn by men.



  • [OE. hafodhrl (Sweet), f. hafod head + hrl garment, dress.]  The kerchief or head-dress of women in Old English times.   This term doesn't appear in the OED before the 19th century
  • 'Saxon head covering for women' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • [a. obs. F. hennin (see Godefroi).]  A head-dress worn by women in France in the 15th century, of high and conical shape, with a muslin veil depending from it.   This term doesn't appear in the OED before the 19th century
  • 'cone-shaped or cylindrical headdress for women' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]  .



  • A sleeveless gown or over-garment, open at the sides.  [Piponnier]

Heuze, Houseaux

Hood (German Caproen)

  • [OE. hd str. masc. = OFris. hd, MDu. hoet(d-), Du. hoed, MLG. ht, ht, OHG., MHG. huot (Ger. hut hat):OTeut. hdo-z, f. hd-, in ablaut relation with *hattus (*hadns)] A covering for the head and neck (sometimes extending to the shoulders) of soft or flexible material, either forming part of a larger garment (as the hood of a cowl or cloak) or separate; in the former case, it can usually be thrown back so as to hang from the shoulders down the back; in the latter sense it was applied in 14-16th c. to a soft covering for the head worn by men under the hat. A separate article of apparel for the head worn by women; also, the close-fitting head-covering of an infant. French hood, a form of hood worn by women in the 16th and 17th centuries, having the front band depressed over the forehead and raised in folds or loops over the temples.

Hose (German ? Couse, Kouse)

  • [OE. hosa (? hose, hosu) = OHG. hosa (MDu., MLG., MHG., Ger. hose hose, trousers, Du. hoos stocking, water-hose), ON. hosa, Da. hose stocking; app.: OTeut. *hosn-. Of German origin are the Romanic forms, med.L. hosa, osa, OF. hose, heuse, It. uosa, OSp. huesa, OPg. osa, Pr. oza legging; Welsh and Corn. hos are from Eng.]   An article of clothing for the leg; sometimes reaching down only to the ankle as a legging or gaiter, sometimes also covering the foot like a long stocking.   pl. hosen, arch. or dial.; hoses, obs. Sense as in  pl. hose. In mod. use = Stockings reaching to the knee. half-hose, short stockings or socks.   Sometimes an article of clothing for the legs and loins, = breeches, drawers; esp. in phrase doublet and hose, as the typical male apparel.    a. Usually in pl., hosen, hoses, hose, also (with reference to its original divided state) a pair of hose.
  • Same as Chausses?
  • 'knitted or cloth, a covering for the foot and part of the leg, later to become two-piece in 16th century.' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Houpelande (German Houppelande; ? Hoplande)

  • Houpelande    c1281 - (French)
  • Hopalanda                   (Spanish) A tunic with a train attached


  • High thigh boots.  [Piponnier]


  • [According to Jamieson f. F. courte short, and housse 'a short mantle of course cloth worne in all weather by countrey women about their head and shoulders' (Cotgr.). Du Cange has houcia curta of date 1360.]

Houve, Hoove, Huve

  • [OE. hfe = MLG., MDu. hve, Du. huif, OHG. hba (MHG. hbe, Ger. haube), ON. hfa (Sw. hufva, Da. hue) OTeut. *hn wk. fem.]   A covering for the head; a turban, a coif; a cap, a skull-cap; the quilted skull-cap worn under a helmet; in Sc. (how, hoo) a night-cap (Jam.).  to glaze one's houve, give him a houve of glass or glasen houve: to mock, delude, cajole. See Skeat Chaucer, Notes to C.T. p. 237.
  • 'headdress of 14-15th centuries with a tapered cornet held to head by long pins' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Huke, Haik, Heyke, Huque

  • Forms: 5 huyke, 5-6 hewk(e, 5-7 huk, 5- huke; also 6-7 huik, 7 huicke, huyck, hoyke, 9 Hist.huque. [a. OF. huque, heuque a kind of cape with a hood; in med.L. huca (13th c. in Du Cange), MDu. hke, hike, heuke, Du. huik, MLG. hoike, LG. hoike, heuke, heike, hokke, hk, E.Fris. heike, heik', haike, hoike. Ulterior origin obscure.]   A kind of cape or cloak with a hood; 'an outer garment or mantle worn by women and afterwards by men; also subsequently applied to a tight-fitting dress worn by both sexes' (Fairholt Costume).
  • 'Huque - short outer flowing robe, open at sides; knight's version had slit in front' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Iak    14th-16th
  • Iakke    14th-16th
  • Iacke    14th-17th
  • Iake    15th-16th
  • Iack    16th
  • Jack    16th-
  • Jacque    c1375 (Old French)
  • Giacco    (Italian)
  • Jacke    (German)
  • Jak    (Dutch)
  • Jacka    (Swedish -- Jacket)


  • Iaquet, -ette    15th
  • Iaket, ette    15th-16th
  • Jaquet    (Old French)
  • An outer garment for the upper body.  Originally the same as, or a shorter form of, a Jack.


  • May be a term for some sort of  Jacket  [Zylstra-Zeems]


  • Term does not appear in English before 1500, after which it tends to refer to a sleeveless jacket or waistcoat, a vest.
  • [Recorded soon after 1500: origin unknown.  (It has been conjecturally associated with Du. and Western LG. jurk, 'girl's or child's frock'; but, besides the facts that Eng. j does not correspond to Du. j (= y), and that a jerkin is not a frock, jurk is merely a mod. Du. word, unknown to Kilian, Hexham, and other 17th c. lexicographers, and is itself of unknown origin.)]  A garment for the upper part of the body, worn by men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; a close-fitting jacket, jersey, or short coat, often made of leather. Since c1700 used in literature mainly historically, or in reference to foreign countries; and some dialects for a waistcoat, an under vest, or a loose jacket. Whence in modern use, usu. a sleeveless jacket or waistcoat (see quots.).


  • 'very short, full, beltless tunic' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]
  • A full-skirted gown worn by men. It was open under the arms, buttoned at the neck and sometimes bore the armorial device when worn at tournaments. [Piponnier]



  • A Cote.  Sometimes it is the sole body garment, although it usually was worn with a Shirt.  This term was in use in English from the 800s to about 1500.
  • A woman's gown, specifically a skirt or petticoat ('peti-cote').  This term was in use in English from the 900s to shortly after 1500.
  • In the 1400s, this could refer to a coat of any kind (e.g. a 'kirtle' of paint).
  • 'Kirtle: O.E. cyrtel; O.N. kyrtill; L. curtus-short. 1) Masc: Knee-length tunic, 9-14th cent. 2) Fem: Sleeved long garment, 10-15th century, 3) Fem: For about 100 years from 1545 - a separate skirt, the name giving way to 'petticoat'. 4) Fem: a short jacket, early 18th century. 5) A protective outer skirt for horseback riding, early 19th century.' [Davies, 1994]

Liripipe, Liripoop


Mantle, Mantel

  • [Introduced from two sources. (1) OE. mantel masc.:prehistoric *mantilo-z, ad. (after the native suffix -ilo) L. mantellum, mantelum cloak, whence also OFris. mentel, OHG. mantal, -dal (MHG. mantel, mandel, mod.G. mantel), ON. mantull (OSw. mantol, mantul, mod.Sw., Da. mantel), MIrish matal. (2) In the 12th c. the word was taken up again in the OFr. form mantel (mod.F. manteau:); cf. Pr. mantel cloak, It. mantello cloak. A special group of senses taken from the Fr. is now distinguished by the spelling Mantel.   According to most philologists, the L. mantellum cloak is more correctly written mantelum, and is etymologically identical with mantelum, mant-lium, mant-lium, mant-le, mant-le table-cloth, towel. (Cf. Sp. manteles pl., table-linen; also Manteel) On this supposition, the word must have been mistaken for a dim., and so have given rise by back-formation to the late L. mantum (7th c.), *manta, whence Sp., Pg., It. manto, manta, F. mante, and the diminutives Sp. mantilla, Pg. mantilha, It. mantiglia.]  1. a. A loose sleeveless cloak of varying length. The name was applied indifferently to the outer covering of men, women, and children, and at times acquired a specific application to one garment or another. Now its use is restricted to a cloak of silk or fine cloth worn by ladies; to the robe of state worn by kings, princes, and other persons of exalted and defined station; and to an infant's outer robe.
  • 'first appearing in 15th century, term for a cloak' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]



  • [a. OF. mors (Godef. 1380), ad. L. mors-us bite, catch (of a buckle), f. mordere to bite.]  The clasp or fastening of a cope, frequently made of gold or silver, and set with precious stones.
  • 'fastening of cloak' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Moufles, Mitons

Nebulae Headdress

Opus Anglicanum


  • Band of silk decorated with embroidery and, sometimes, gold ornamentation. Used to decorate ecclesiastical vestments.  [Piponnier]


Parti-coloured Dress


  • Footwear consisting of a wooden or cork sole, sometimes in two pieces, and held on by a strap over the instep. Pattens were usually worn over light shoes.  [Piponnier]



  • Fur garment, sometimes covered with fabric on the outside; a waistcoat worn under the overcoat. Worn mainly by women of modest means.  [Piponnier]

Phrygian Cap

Points, Aglets, Dags

  • Point   13th
  • Pointe  13th-16th
  • Poynte  13th-16th
  • Poynt  14th-18th
  • Aglett(e, Aglott(e, Agglot   15th-16th
  • Aglet   15th-19th
  • Agglet(te, Aiguelet, Aguelette, Ayguelet   16th
  • Aigullet   18th
  • (Agellet) Aigulet, Aiglet, Aiguillette  19th
  • The derivation of 'point' in this context is varied, but appears to center on terms for sharp pointy things.  At some time, apparently during the 15th century the usage shifted more towards the French aiguillette ( a diminuative of aiguille 'needle' from the late L. acucula, acus, aculus), and has remained so since the little plastic things on your shoelaces are still referred to as Aglets.   Points/Aglets started as a way to make it easier to fasten garments by threading ties or laces through eyelet-holes.
  • 'metal-ended laces used to attach upper hose to doublet' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Porpoint     13th
  • Purpoint
  • Purpont    14th
  • Purpeynt(e)    15th
  • Purpoynt    15th
  • Something quilted, such as a Gambais purpoint, or a Cuilt purpoint.
  • A doublet, stuffed and quilted, worn by men in the 14th and 15th centuries.  [n.b. the text implies this is a modern usage].
  • Wilcox (1969) defines it as 'See gambeson, jerkin, action [sic].'  She defines Acton as 'See gambeson, pourpoint, doublet' (although she shows a sketch of a padded sleeveless hip-length garment).  Doublet is defined as 'See gambeson, jerkin'.  'Gambeson or Pourpoint,  a doublet, often sleeveless, of leather or cloth, stuffed and quilted.  It was worn as a pad under armor in the Middle Ages and in civil dress by men, women, and children.'   'Jerkin,  In the fourteenth century, the man's cote-hardie developed into a garment known as a doublet or pourpoint, both words meaning a wadded jerkin, jaque, jacket, or gambeson.  A similar garment for women was known as a jerkinet.  The jerkin became a sort of waistcoat in the north of England, worn up to the early twentieth century.'
  • Davies (1994) refers to it as 'Masc. Close-fitting jerkin, padded. 14th cent.  Predecessor of doublet (see GIPON).'  'Gipon Masc. Padded bodice of 14th century. Forerunner of doublet (see (GYPON).'  'Gypon Masc. Well tailored, fitting garment worn over shirt, later called DOUBLET. 14th-17th Cent. (also GIPON).'  However, 'Doublet  Masc. Padded, closefitting body garment, with or without sleeves, worn originally under a breastplate.  Later worn over the shirt, 14th-16th Cent. Sometimes slashed. Became shorter after 17th Cent., evolving into the waistcoat (See GAMBESON).' 'Gambeson Masc. Padded bodice of leather or cloth, worn under armour of Middle Ages.  Later in the 16th cent., worn by civil. population.'  'Jerkin Masc. Tight-fitting jacket which replaced the cotehardie in the late 15th Cent.  Sometimes made of leather....'
  • Boucher (1966) defines it as 'See Doublet'.  'Doublet/Pourpoint   Originally a quilted garment, i.e. padded with cotton or waste, held in place by stitching; worn under the hauberk.  It was a variety of gippon or gambeson  in in rich cloth, which passed from military to civil costume and became an outer garment from the early 14th century.  In the 16th century and up to the 17th century it was a garment worn by all men; the shape and trimmings changed, but its basic character remained unchanged.'  'Gambeson  Quilted padded garment worn under armour; it passed into civilian costume in the 14th century under the name of juppe, gippon, pourpoint or doublet'. 'Gipon/Gippon  Also called jupe, jupel, jupon, in the Middle Ages.  A sort of doublet made of padded, quilted material.  It was an undergarment and the breeches were attached to it; in the mid 14th century it became indistinquishable from the doublet and the jacket made in rich materials which replaced it.'  'Jupe  From the Arabic djuba, jacket.  In the Middle Ages it was confused with GIPPON but also meant women's jacket...'
  • 'underdoublet' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Ramshorn Headdress


  • Robe   13th-
  • From the same stem as the verb 'to rob', the original sense being 'spoil, booty', as in Old French.  An over garment, flowing to the feet.  The term is also used for outer garments in general.
  • A long loose outer garment reaching to the feet or the ankles, worn by both sexes in the Middle Ages, and still by men of some Eastern nations; a gown.
  • Also a long outer garment of a special form and material worn in virtue of, and betokening, a particular rank, calling, condition, or office.'
  • By the late 16th century, referred to outer garments or clothes in general.

Robe Deguisee

Robe Gironee


  • Loose garment made of linen, worn over normal clothing by various different categories of laborers. A protective garment worn also by the clergy from the 13th century, which became the prerogative of bishops, cardinals and conons regular.  [Piponnier]



  • [ad. OF. roel, rouel masc., or roele, rouele, ruele (etc.) fem., dim. of roe, roue: L. rota wheel. Cf. med.L. rotella.]   A small stellar wheel or disk with sharp radial points and capable of rotation, forming the extremity of a spur.
  • 'round of cloth worn by Jews (compulsory): yellow in 13th century, then red and white in 14th' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]



  • Short cape worn by the Franks.  [Piponnier]


  • Silk fabric with a diagonal weave that makes it look like satin.  [Piponnier]



  • 'May be a term for some sort of  Jacket' [Zylstra-Zeems]


  • A light silk fabric.  [Piponnier]


  • Fabric made of wool or a mixture of wool and cotton; its cross-weave gives it a diagonal or chevroned aspect.  [Piponnier]


  • A body garment, or shirt, of a washable material such as linen, cotten etc.   Originally (c1598) the term referred to both men's and women's undergarments, but in the 17th century, Shift replaced Smock as a more delicate term, and in turn it was replaced in the 19th century by Chemise.


  • scyrte    11th
  • s(c)hurte, (schuyrte, scurte, seorte)   13th
  • schirte, sserte   14th
  • schert(e, schorte   14th-15th
  • sherte   14th-16th
  • schyrt   15th
  • shyrth   15th
  • shyrt(e, shurt(e, shirte, shorte 15th-16th
  • shertt, sherth  16th
  • shirt  16th
  • From the OE Scyrte, deriving  probably from the Old Teutonic *skurtjon, or 'short garment'.
  • An undergarment made of a washable material, such as linen, that is worn next to the skin.  It was formerly a garment comment to both sexes, but now worn by men (see Chemise, Shift, and Smock).

Sideless Gown

Skull Cap

Small Clothes

  • NOT a medieval term.  This is a post medieval term for undergarments.


  • Smoc    c1000-13th (Old English to Early Middle English)
  • Smok    13th-15th
  • Smock   14th-
  • A woman's blousy undergarment, like a Shirt.  The other definitions, such a a painter's smock, and a peasants working smock, are post medieval.


Suckeny; Suckeney (French Sorquanie)

  • Sukkenye    14th
  • Surkney       17th
  • Suckeney     19th
  • 'Similar to a Surcote, but more tightly fitted around the shoulders.  Gradually the whole bodice became more tightly fitted.'  [Zylstra-Zeems]
  • From the Old French soucanie, also sor-, surquanie (earlier soschanie, sousquenie, cf. med.L. soscania) of Slavonic origin (cf. Polish suknia coat), whence also MHG. sukkene.  A smock.
  • [?a1366 CHAUCER Rom. Rose 1232 She hadde on a sukkenye [16th c. edd. suckeny; orig. F. sorquanie] That not of hempe ne heerdis was. ]
  • "Sukkenye - A loose frock" [Fairholt]

Surcote (Sur 'over' - Cote)

  • Surcot      14th
  • Sorcot     14th
  • Surcote    14th-17th (19th)
  • Surkote    15th
  • Surcotte   15th
  • Sercote    15th
  • Syrcote    15th
  • Circot(e)  15th-16th
  • Circotte   16th (erroniously Surcourt)
  • Surcoate  17th-
  • Surkoat    17th-
  • Surcoat    17th-
  • Sobrecot    (Portuguese)
  • Pellote       (Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Sopracotto (Italian)
  • Sorcotto    (Italian)
  • An outer coat or garment, commonly of rich material, worn by people of rank of both sexes; often worn by armed men over their armor, and having the heraldic arms displayed on it.
  • 'A surcot or over-tunic of the same length as the cotte, came with and without sleeves.  Its neckline was often somewhat lower than that of the cotte and its sleeves if there, shorter and wider to that the cotte showed a little at the arms and throat' [Zylstra-Zeems]
  • 'outer garment which replace the bliaut(d) during 12th century' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]

Surcot Ouvert

  • 'Deep armholes scooped out to the hips.' [Zylstra-Zeems]


  • Fine linen tunic worn over ordinary clothes by members of the clergy in church, when not officiating at a service, or during processions outside. Also a kind of smock worn by the laity.  [Piponnier]



  • Originally a ritual cloak worn by Jews, later a rectangular piece of cloth worn at synagogue for prayer or at weddings.  [Piponnier]



  • [Origin uncertain; some suggest identity with OE. tpped, tppet, *teped (pl. tppedu, tepedu) carpet, hanging, etc. = OHG. teppid, -ith, -it, tepid, -it: both ad. L. tapete (-a, -um) a carpet, tapestry hanging, bed-cover, table-cover. But there are great difficulties both of phonology and of sense. Others suggest a derivative of tip]  1. a. A long narrow slip of cloth or hanging part of dress, formerly worn, either attached to and forming part of the hood, head-dress, or sleeve, or loose, as a scarf or the like. Obs. exc. Hist.b. A garment, usually of fur or wool, covering the shoulders, or the neck and shoulders; a cape or short cloak, often with hanging ends. Now worn chiefly by women and girls, or by men as a part of certain official costumes.    In many early quots. (omitted here), senses a and b are not distinguishable.
  • 'white linen bands with strip hanging down worn tied on above elbows, 14th century' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]


  • Wollen fabric of mediocre quality.  [Piponnier]


  • 'woman's veil covering forehead - 13th-15th centuries' [Medieval Timeline in Fashion and Events (]
  • Originally a band of fabric worn like a coronet around a woman's veil; later a cylindrical headdress of the same shape.  [Piponnier]


Troues (Trewes)


  • Tunica     (Italian, Latin, Provenal, Spanish, Portunguese)
  • Tonaca    (Italian)
  • Tnikha    (Old High German)
  • Tunecan    c893 (Old English)
  • Tunece    11th (Old English)
  • Tonica     11th (Middle English, Italian)
  • Tunice     11th-12th
  • Tuneke    12th
  • Tunake    16th
  • Tunike     17th
  • Tunick     17th-18th
  • Tunique   17th-18th (Modern English, French)
  • A garment resembling a shirt or a gown, worn by both sexes among the Greeks and Romans (OED)
  • In Old English and mediaeval times, a body garment or coat over which a loose mantle of cloak was worn. (OED)
  • A garment resembling a shirt or gown, worn alone or beneath a mantle, armor, etc. [Kurath]
  • I believe the use of this word as a universal term for a cote or kyrtle is, at least in English, is an unfortunate choice from (apparently) the early days of the re-enacting or movie costuming, when people were less aware of the historical terms.




  • 'May be a term for a Cotehardi'  [Zylstra-Zeems]




Boucher, Franoise. 20000 Years of Fashion. New York: Abrams, 1966

Davenport, Millia. The Book of Costume. New York: Crown Publishers, 1948. (Carlson did not list a source for his Davenport reference in this glossary. The style he used was also inconsistent and a bit muddled. I have determined that this is the most likely source that he is referring to when he mentions Davenport.)

Davies, Stephanie. Costume Language, a Dictionary of Dress Terms. Malvern: Cresselles Pub.Co.Ltd., 1994.

Fairholt, F. W. (Frederick William). Costume in England; a history of dress to the end of the eighteenth century. Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1968.

Hill, Margot and Peter Bucknell. Evolution of Fashion. New York Drama Book Specialists 1981, c1967.

Kurath, Hans, and Sherman M. Kuhn eds. Middle English Dictionary. Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan Press, 1952.

Norris, Herbert. Costume and Fashion, Volume Two Senlac to Bosworth. London: Dent, 1927.

Piponnier, Francoise and Perrine Mane. Dress in the Middle Ages. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

Racinet, Albert. The Historical Encyclopedia of Costume. New York: Facts on File, 1988.

Wilcox, Ruth Turner. The Dictionary of Costume. New York: Scribner, 1969.

Zijlstra-Zweens, H. M. Of his array telle I no lenger tale: aspects of costume, arms, and armour in Western Europe, 1200-1400. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988.




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