OVERVIEW

Womenswear

Wikipedia writes of fashion in this era:

“Fashion in 15th-century Europe was characterized by a series of extremes and extravagances, from the voluminous gowns called houppelandes with their sweeping floor-length sleeves to the revealing doublets and hose of Renaissance Italy. Hats, hoods, and other headdresses assumed increasing importance, and were swagged, draped, jewelled, and feathered.

As Europe continued to grow more prosperous, the urban middle classes, skilled workers, began to wear more complex clothes that followed, at a distance, the fashions set by the elites. It is in this time period that we begin to see fashion take on a temporal aspect. People could now be dated by their clothes, and being in “out of date” clothing became a new social concern. National variations in clothing seem on the whole to have increased over the 15th century.”

Porträt einer Dame

Fig. 1 - Franko-flämischer Meiste. Porträt einer Dame, ca. 1410. Oil and tempera on wood; 52 × 36.6 cm (20.5 × 14.4 in). Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art. Source: Wikimedia

The Death of Saint Clare

Fig. 2 - Master of Heiligenkreuz (Austrian, 1395-1430). The Death of Saint Clare, ca. 1400/1410. Oil on panel; 66.3 x 54 cm (26 1/8 x 21 1/4 in). Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1952.5.83. Samuel H. Kress Collection. Source: National Gallery of Art

Des cas des nobles hommes et femmes

Fig. 3 - Anonymous. Des cas des nobles hommes et femmes, ca. 1410. Illuminated manuscript; 40.5 x 29.5 cm. Genève: Bibliothèque de Genève. Source: Pinterest

Illumination from The Book of the Queen

Fig. 4 - Bedford Master (fl. 1415-1435). Illumination from The Book of the Queen, ca. 1410-1414. Illumination on parchment. London: British Library, Harley 4431. Source: Wikimedia

Menswear

Wikipedia writes of men’s fashion during this time:

“The basic costume of men in this period consisted of a shirt, doublet, and hose, with some sort of overgown (robe worn over clothing). Linen shirts were worn next to the skin. Toward the end of the period, shirts (French chemise, Italian camicia, Spanish camisa) began to be full through the body and sleeves with wide, low necklines; the sleeves were pulled through the slashings or piecing of the doublet sleeves to make puffs, especially at the elbow and the back of the arm. As the cut of doublets revealed more fabric, wealthy men’s shirts were often decorated with embroidery or applied braid.

Over the shirt was worn a doublet. From around the mid-15th century very tight-fitting doublets, belted or tailored to be tight at the waist, giving in effect a short skirt below, were fashionable, at least for the young. Sleeves were generally full, even puffy, and when worn with a large chaperon, the look was extremely stylish, but very top-heavy. Very tight hose, and long pointed shoes or thigh-boots gave a long attenuated appearance below the waist, and a chunky, solid one above. The doublet was often elaborately pleated, especially at the back, the pleats being achieved by various means. In Italy both shirt and doublet were often high, tight and collarless at the front of the neck; sometimes they are shown higher at the front than the back.

Men of all classes wore short braies or breeches, a loose undergarment, usually made of linen, which was held up by a belt. Hose or chausses made out of wool were used to cover the legs, and were generally brightly colored. Early hose sometimes had leather soles and were worn without shoes or boots. Hose were generally tied to the breech belt, or to the breeches themselves, or to a doublet.”

Carlo VI di Francia

Fig. 1 - Carlo VI di Francia (French, fl. 1400-1425). Carlo VI di Francia, 1411-1413. Geneva: Geneva Library, Ms.fr.165. Source: Wikimedia

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Fig. 2 - Limbourg brothers (Dutch, 1385 – 1416). Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412-1416. Tempera on vellum; 22.5 x 13.6 cm (8.9 x 5.4 in). Paris: Musée Condé, Ms.65, f.1v. Source: Wikimedia

The Coronation of the Virgin

Fig. 3 - Lorenzo Monaco (Italian, fl. 1391-1422). The Coronation of the Virgin, 1414. Tempera on wood, gold background; 450 x 350 cm (177 x 138 in). Florence: The Uffizi, Inv. 1890 no. 885. Source: The Uffizi

Christ Led to the Praetorium

Fig. 4 - Limbourg brothers (Dutch, 1385 – 1416). Christ Led to the Praetorium, 1412-1416. Tempera on vellum. Paris: Musée Condé, Ms.65, f.1v. Source: Wikimedia

CHILDREN’S WEAR

References:

Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1410-1419
Rulers:

Europa 1400. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Events:
  • 1413 – Henry V becomes King of England
  • 1416 – The Republic of Ragusa is the first state in Europe to outlaw slavery
  • 1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrenders to Henry V of England, which brings Normandy under the control of England.
  • Primary/Period Sources

    Resources for Fashion History Research

    To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
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    Digitized Primary/Period Sources

    Secondary Sources

    Also see the 15th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.

    Online

    Books/Articles
    Pinterest