OVERVIEW

Womenswear

Wikipedia writes of 15th-century fashion:

“Women’s fashions of the 15th century consisted of a long gown, usually with sleeves, worn over a kirtle or undergown, with a linen chemise or smock worn next to the skin. The sleeves were made detachable and were heavily ornamented.The long-waisted silhouette of the previous period was replaced by a high-waisted style with fullness over the belly, often confined by a belt. The wide, shallow scooped neckline was replaced by a V-neck, often cut low enough to reveal the decorated front of the kirtle beneath. Various styles of overgowns were worn. The cotehardie fitted smoothly from the shoulders to the hips and then flared by means of inserted triangular gores. It featured sleeves tight to the elbow with hanging streamers or tippets. The tight fit was achieved with lacing or buttons. This style faded rapidly from fashion in favor of the houppelande, a full robe with a high collar and wide sleeves that had become fashionable around 1380 and remained so to mid-15th century. The later houppelande had sleeves that were snug at the wrist, making a full “bag” sleeve. The bag sleeve was sometimes slashed in the front to allow the lower arm to reach through.”

Le mariage d'Henri V et de Catherine de France

Fig. 1 - Artist unknown. Le mariage d'Henri V et de Catherine de France, ca. 1420. Source: Altesses

Menswear

Wikipedia writes of 15th-century menswear:

“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.”

The Crucifixion

Fig. 1 - Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro) (Italian, 1395-1455). The Crucifixion, 1420-1423. Tempera on wood, gold ground; 63.8 x 48.3 cm (25 1/8 x 19 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43.98.5. Maitland F. Griggs Collection, Bequest of Maitland F. Griggs, 1943. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Madonna and Child with the Donor, Pietro de' Lardi, Presented by Saint Nicholas

Fig. 2 - Master G.Z. (possibly Michele dai Carri) (Italian, 1405-1441). Madonna and Child with the Donor, Pietro de' Lardi, Presented by Saint Nicholas, 1420-1430. Tempera and gold on wood; 112.1 x 106 cm (44 1/8 x 41 3/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 65.181.5. Bequest of Adele L. Lehman, in memory of Arthur Lehman, 1965. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Christ before Herod; to the right Herod is sitting on a throne, to the left Christ is standing, accompanied by a jailer and nine soldiers Woodcut

Fig. 3 - Anonymous (German). Christ before Herod; to the right Herod is sitting on a throne, to the left Christ is standing, accompanied by a jailer and nine soldiers Woodcut, 1420-1430. Woodcut printed on paper. London: The British Museum. Source: The British Museum

CHILDREN’S WEAR

References:

Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1420-1429
Rulers:

Europa 1400. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Events:
  • 1420 – Beijing is officially designated the capital of the Ming Dynasty, during the same year that the Forbidden City, the seat of government, is completed.
  • 1421 – Henry VI becomes King of England, aged nine months.
  • 1428 – Itzcóatl becomes ruler of the Aztecs. He eventually begins the construction of Tenochtitlan.
  • 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 15th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.

    Online

    “Fashion History of the High and Late Middle Ages - Medieval Clothing.” Bellatory, 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.
    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.
    Watt, Melinda. “Renaissance Velvet Textiles.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/velv/hd_velv.htm.
    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.

    Books/Articles
    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.
    Buren, Anne van, 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.
    Byrde, Penelope. The Male Image: Men’s Fashion in Britain, 1300-1970. London: B. T. Batsford, 1979. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/891905981.
    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, Phillis. Costume of Household Servants, from the Middle Ages to 1900. London: A and C Black, 1974. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1369922.
    Egan, Geoff, and Frances Pritchard. Dress Accessories, c. 1150 - c. 1450. New ed. 3. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2002.
    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.
    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.
    Richardson, Catherine. Clothing Culture, 1350-1650. New York: Routledge, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/976442537.
    Scott, Margaret. Visual History of Costume: The Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries. 1. London: Batsford, 1986. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/932531120.
    Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
    Vincent, Susan J., and Elizabeth Currie, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Renaissance (1450-1650). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
    Pinterest
    “1400-1450 Fashion in Paintings.” Pinterest, 1400s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1400-1450-fashion-in-paintings/.
    “1400-1500 Extant Clothing.” Pinterest, 1400s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1400-1500-extant-clothing/.
    “1400-1500 Fabrics & Textiles.” Pinterest, 1400s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1400-1500-fabrics-textiles/.