Wikipedia writes:

“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.”


Fig. 1 - Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, 1398-1482). Paradise, 1445. Tempera and gold on canvas, transferred from wood; 47 x 40.6 cm (18 1/2 x 16 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 06.1046. Rogers Fund, 1906. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement

Fig. 2 - Fra Filippo Lippi. Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement, ca. 1440. Tempera on wood; 64.1 x 41.9 cm (25 1/4 x 16 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 89.15.19. Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Wikipedia writes:

“The basic costume of men in this period consisted of a shirt, doublet, and hose, with some sort of overgown (robe worn over clothing)…. 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.”

Portrait of a Carthusian

Fig. 1 - Petrus Christus. Portrait of a Carthusian, 1446. Oil on wood; 29.2 x 21.6 cm (11 1/2 x 8 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 49.7.19. The Jules Bache Collection, 1949. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1440-1449

Europa 1400. Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • 1441 – King’s College, Cambridge, is founded by King Henry VI of England
  • 1443 – Queens’ College, Cambridge is first founded by Margaret of Anjou.
  • 1444 – Cosimo de’ Medici founds the Laurentian Library in Florence.
  • 1446 – The hangul alphabet is created in Korea, by King Sejong the Great of Joseon.
  • 1447 – The Spanish Inquisition is revived.
  • Primary/Period Sources

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