Wikipedia writes of fourteenth-century clothing:

“Wool was the most important material for clothing, due to its numerous favorable qualities, such as the ability to take dye and its being a good insulator. This century saw the beginnings of the Little Ice Age, and glazing was rare, even for the rich (most houses just had wooden shutters for the winter). Trade in textiles continued to grow throughout the century, and formed an important part of the economy for many areas from England to Italy. Clothes were very expensive, and employees, even high-ranking officials, were usually supplied with, typically, one outfit per year, as part of their remuneration.”

Great Heidelberg manuscript

Fig. 1 - Artist unknown (German). Great Heidelberg manuscript, 1305-1340. Parchment, cover color miniatures; 35 x 25 cm. Heidelberg: University Library Heidelberg, 12790. Source: University Library Heidelberg

Enthroned Virgin

Fig. 2 - Goro di Gregorio (Italian, 12??–1334). Enthroned Virgin, first half 14th century. Terracotta; 44.8 x 25.4 x 24.1 cm (17 5/8 x 10 x 9 1/2 in). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998.214. The Cloisters Collection and Rogers Fund, 1998. Source: The Met


Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (French). Purse, early 14th century. Silk, linen, gold leaf; 14 x 15.2 cm (5 1/2 x 6 in). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 64.101.1364. Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1964. Source: The Met

Fashion Icon: 


Wikipedia writes of fourteenth-century fabrics:

“Woodblock printing of cloth was known throughout the century, and was probably fairly common by the end; this is hard to assess as artists tended to avoid trying to depict patterned cloth due to the difficulty of doing so. Embroidery in wool, and silk or gold thread for the rich, was used for decoration. Edward III established an embroidery workshop in the Tower of London, which presumably produced the robes he and his Queen wore in 1351 of red velvet ’embroidered with clouds of silver and eagles of pearl and gold, under each alternate cloud an eagle of pearl, and under each of the other clouds a golden eagle, every eagle having in its beak a Garter with the motto hony soyt qui mal y pense embroidered thereon.’

Silk was the finest fabric of all. In Northern Europe, silk was an imported and very expensive luxury. The well-off could afford woven brocades from Italy or even further afield. Fashionable Italian silks of this period featured repeating patterns of roundels and animals, deriving from Ottoman silk-weaving centres in Bursa, and ultimately from Yuan Dynasty China via the Silk Road.”

The Crucifixion; the Redeemer with Angels; Saint Nicholas; Saint Gregory

Fig. 1 - Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian, circa 1278-1319). The Crucifixion; the Redeemer with Angels; Saint Nicholas; Saint Gregory, 1311-1318. Tempera on panel; center overall, 61.0 x 39.4 cm ; left overall, 45.1 x 19.4 cm ; right overall, 45.1 x 20.2 cm (center overall, 24 x 15 1/2 in; left overall, 17 3/4 x 7 5/8 in; right overall, 17 3/4 x 7 15/16 in). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 45.880. Grant Walker and Charles Potter Kling Funds. Source: MFA Boston

Initial "H" with St. Martin and the Beggar (Cutting from an Antiphonary)

Fig. 2 - Attributed to Memmo di Filippuccio (Italian, early 14th century). Initial "H" with St. Martin and the Beggar (Cutting from an Antiphonary), early 14th century. Tempera, ink and gold on parchment; 17.6 x 18.2 cm (6 15/16 x 7 3/16 in). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 41.908. Gift of Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes. Source: MFA Boston


Standing Virgin and Child

Fig. 1 - Unknown (French). Standing Virgin and Child, ca. 1300–1350. Stone, paint; 141 x 44.8 x 26.7 cm (55 1/2 x 17 5/8 x 10 1/2 in). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 25.120.213. The Cloisters Collection, 1925. Source: The Met


Fig. 2 - Unknown (French). Lectionary, ca. 1325. Parchment; 26 x 17 cm. New York: Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.512. Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1912.. Source: The Morgan


Historical Context


Europe during the 14th Century. Source: GifeX

  • 1321 – Dante’s Divina Comedia
  • 1346-48 – Black Death

Primary/Period Sources

Resources for Fashion History Research

To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
Have a primary source to suggest?  Or a newly digitized periodical/book to announce?  Contact us!

Digitized Primary/Period Sources

“DMMapp - Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App,” n.d. https://digitizedmedievalmanuscripts.org/app/.
“Medieval Manuscripts on the Web (Digitized Manuscripts),” n.d. http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/sechard/512digms.htm.

Secondary Sources

Also see the 14th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.


Wikipedia. “1300–1400 in European Fashion,” 1400s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1300%E2%80%931400_in_European_fashion.
Bellatory. “Fashion History of the High and Late Middle Ages - Medieval Clothing,” n.d. https://bellatory.com/fashion-industry/FashionHistoryoftheHIghandLateMiddleAgesClothingo-the11th-15thCentury.
Breiding, Dirk H. “Fashion in European Armor.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/afas/hd_afas.htm.
Breiding, Dirk H. “Fashion in European Armor, 1300–1400.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/afas14/hd_afas14.htm.
Victoria and Albert Museum. “Fashion up to the 17th Century Reading List,” January 13, 2011. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/reading-list-fashion-up-to-the-17th-century/.
“Glossary of some medieval clothing terms,” n.d. http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/glossary.html.
La cotte simple. “Late Medieval Fashion Redressed,” n.d. http://cottesimple.com/.
Breiding, Dirk H. “The Decoration of European Armor.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/deca/hd_deca.htm.

Blair, John, and Nigel Ramsay. English Medieval Industries: Craftsmen, Techniques, Products. London: Hambledon and London, 2001. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/919917422.
Blanc, O. “From Battlefield to Court: The Invention of Fashion in the Fourteenth Century.” In Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress: Objects, Texts, Images, edited by Désirée G. Koslin and Janet Ellen Snyder, 157–73. New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. Expanded ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1987. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/979316852.
Brown, Susan, ed. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style. New York: DK Publishing, 2012. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/840417029.
Burns, E. Jane. Courtly Love Undressed: Reading through Clothes in Medieval French Culture. The Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/929158561.
Byrde, Penelope. The Male Image: Men’s Fashion in Britain, 1300-1970. London: B. T. Batsford, 1979. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/891905981.
Carus-Wilson, E. M., N. B. Harte, and Kenneth G. Ponting, eds. Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe: Essays in Memory of Professor E.M. Carus-Wilson. Pasold Studies in Textile History 2. London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1983. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/11236147.
Crowfoot, Elisabeth, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland. Textiles and Clothing: C.1150-c.1450. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 4. London: HMSO, 1992. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/869768478.
Cunnington, C. Willett, and Phillis Emily Cunnington. Handbook of English Mediaeval Costume. 2nd ed. London: Faber, 1969. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/2924092.
Davanzo Poli, Doretta, ed. I Mestieri della moda a Venezia: serenissima: the arts of fashion in Venice from the 13th to the 18th century, Nov. 28, 1995-Jan. 20, 1996. Rev. ed. Brenta: Consorzio maestri calzturieri del Brenta, 1995. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/84353032.
Egan, Geoff, and Frances Pritchard. Dress Accessories, c. 1150 - c. 1450. New ed. 3. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2002.
Evans, Joan. Dress in Medieval France. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1008513009.
Grew, Francis, and Margrethe de Neergaard, eds. Shoes and Pattens. New ed., Reprinted in paperback. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 2. Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2013. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/876555501.
Harte, N. B., ed. The New Draperies in the Low Countries and England, 1300-1800. Pasold Studies in Textile History 10. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1008210658.
Hartley, Dorothy, and Francis Michael Kelly. Mediæval Costume and Life: A Review of Their Social Aspects Arranged under Various Classes and Workers with Instructions for Making Numerous Types of Dress. London: B.T. Batsford, Ltd, 1931. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/232439655.
Heller, Sarah-Grace. Fashion in Medieval France. Gallica, v. 3. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2007. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/813546498.
Hill, Daniel Delis. History of World Costume and Fashion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/768100950.
Houston, Mary G. Medieval Costume in England and France: The 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries. New York: Dover Publications, 1996.
Killerby, Catherine Kovesi. Sumptuary Law in Italy, 1200-1500. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/179736332.
Koslin, Désirée G., and Janet Ellen Snyder, eds. Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress: Objects, Texts, Images. New Middle Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/932582835.
Lloyd, T. H. The English Wool Trade in the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967424115.
Monnas, Lisa. Merchants, Princes and Painters: Silk Fabrics in Italian and Northern Paintings, 1300-1550. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/644408684.
Netherton, Robin, and Gale R. Owen-Crocker. Medieval Clothing and Textiles. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/474796956.
Newton, Stella Mary. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1980. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1008198396.
Piponnier, Françoise, and Perrine Mane. Dress in the Middle Ages. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/943018667.
Scott, Margaret. Visual History of Costume: The Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries. 1. London: Batsford, 1986. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/932531120.
Scott, Margaret. Fashion in the Middle Ages. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/777928739.
Spufford, Peter. Power and Profit: The Merchant in Medieval Europe. London: Thames & Hudson, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/65759006.
Sronková, Olga. Gothic Woman’s Fashion. Prague: Artia, 1954. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/540980951.
Stuard, Susan Mosher. Gilding the Market: Luxury and Fashion in Fourteenth Century Italy. Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/475529735.
Thursfield, Sarah. The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant: Making Common Garments, 1200-1500. Carlton: Ruth Bean, 2001. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/862103281.
Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
Van Buren, Anne, and Roger S. Wieck. Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, 1325-1515. New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/921010074.
Vincent, Susan J., and Sarah-Grace Heller, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Medieval Age (800-1450). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
Wagner, Eduard, Zoroslava Drobná, and Jan Durdík, eds. Medieval Costume, Armour and Weapons (1350-1450). London: Andrew Dakers, 1957. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/785276934.
Pinterest. “1300-1400 Extant Clothing,” 1300s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1300-1400-extant-clothing/.
Pinterest. “1300-1400 Fashion in Paintings,” 1300s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1300-1400-fashion-in-paintings/.
Pinterest. “1300-1400 Jewelry,” 1300s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1300-1400-jewelry/.