What you wore during the medieval period depends on your class in the society. If you were in a noble class you would own a variety of the latest styles and colours of medieval clothing, from silk robes to damask gowns. If you were a peasant, the only choice you had as clothing was to wear a tunic. This meant that your medieval clothing was rough and itchy, really difficult to wash and dry, and is quite hot in the summer. However, the quality of one’s medieval clothes would largely depend on how wealthy you were. Thus you can either have smooth and finely sewn dresses or simple and more likely uncomfortable ones.
The medieval clothes were mostly influenced by the kings and queens of that era. It was as if society had dictated that only the noble people were allowed to wear fashionable clothes while the peasants should only wear basic and practical clothes.
The noble people daily thought about medieval clothes, in particular, the current trend in their times and respond to the new fashion trend by having a new set of wardrobes made for themselves. They do have the money to buy such luxurious medieval dresses and elaborate accessories to go with it. Alternatively, the peasants had to make or trade their goods and other stuff to acquire the materials they need to use to fashion their clothes from.
It was very easy to distinguish the medieval clothes of the noble men and women from peasants’ wear. Those of noble descent wore robes that are fastened around their waist with long bands attached to their sleeves that form some sort of a necklace. Moreover their medieval dresses were mostly made with fabrics like burnet, perse, Lincoln scarlet, kersey, chalons and damask.
In contrast, the peasants’ clothing was composed of more basic, practical and certainly not decorated clothing. A common peasant’s wear can be composed of a woolen tunic, woolen trousers, cowls and a pair of boots for their feet. A peasant’s shirt can be made of cloth or skin that is fastened by a leather belt around their waist. They also cover themselves with a thick woolen mantle which falls on their shoulders to half-way down their legs.
The medieval clothing back then was dictated by the pyramid of power which was a reflection of the middle ages’ feudal system. This way of life was also known during the medieval period as the “pyramid society” where people clustered according to their social standing were grouped and formed the shape of a pyramid. The pyramid was ruled by the few kings and queens who are found at the top of the pyramid with the other clusters below them. The base of the pyramid is where the most number of people who belong to the lowest class are found.
As the medieval society progressed over time, the style of the medieval clothes also evolved. What started as a simple tunic has become a more elaborate costume lavished with gold, silver, pearls and other precious stones.