Medieval Clothing: A Primer

Medieval Dress for the Beginner:


- Tunics
    -Dark Ages
    -The High Middle Ages
    -The Late Middle Ages
Leg coverings (under construction)



Jon at Armlann makes some very nice looking medieval shoes. I don't think you'll find a better shoe at a lower price anywhere, but I could be wrong. You can find better shoes that are made with 100% period techniques, but you'll pay through the nose. You can find cheaper shoes, but they won't look period and they won't be custom made to your feet. Dollar for dollar, Armlann's my choice.

Cy Rudnick's Fine Fabrics:

Cy Rudnicks has the best selection of wool I've ever seen. Located in the Crown Center, in Downtown Kansas City, they buy overstocks from some of the finest designers in the world. This is not your average fabric store ~ wools, linens and silks are all available from this store and they will send samples anywhere at no charge. You won't find any $4 per yard fabric here but it's all high quality and well worth the price. Drop them an email and describe what you're looking for and they'll send out several samples. Tell them we sent you.

Footwear in the Middle Ages:

An extensively researched site detailing shoes from circa 700 to 1500. I. Marc Carlson discusses development of footwear, designs, tools and techniques of making footwear and much more. The most complete resource for footwear on the Internet that I've found. Some of the pictures of shoes used in the article are from his site.

MediŠval Miscellanea:

Makers of Period Patterns. Their patterns are excellent, they have patterns based off of medieval clothing for everything from braes to padded gambesons. I suggest that you trace their patterns onto other fabric or paper; their patterns are overlayed on each other and if one is cut out, all others are lost. Great patterns, well worth the $20 price tag. I recommend buying them from The Millinery, where I have found they are available at the lowest price. Be sure to tell her we sent you.

Regia Anglorum:

A UK based living history group focusing on the Dark Ages in Britain from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Battle of Hastings. Their site is a bit confusing to navigate and could be better organized but there is some very good information about dress in the Dark Ages as well as other good reference materials.

The Society for Creative Anachronism:

The SCA is the largest Middle Age re-creation group in the US, and probably the world. They have some excellent resources for anyone interested in costuming, or any other medieval pursuit for that matter. However, the SCA is far less stringent in their accuracy standards than other groups listed in this section. Researchers must look with a critical eye at some of the things they suggest.

The Vikings:

Founded in 1971, The Vikings claim the title of oldest Dark-Age re-enactment society in Britain. They are extremely stringent on accuracy of costuming and have thoroughly researched the cultures of the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Normans and Celts. Because of their desire to remain strictly accurate, they have very rigid guidelines that do not allow for representations of clothing that are likely to have existed but lack strong evidence. Their resource pages are excellent for anyone interested in this period.

Reference Materials

This list is meant to serve as a resource to those interested in recreating period clothing. Some of the works listed were used as reference materials for the articles, others are included for their value as a resource to garb makers. This list will continue to grow as new resources are found. Those with a "***" after the entry are sources I have found to be exceptional.


Cunnington, Phillis. Medieval & Tudor Costume. Boston: Plays, Inc., 1972.

Davenport, Millia. The Book of Costume. New York: Crown Publishers, 1948.

Kelly, Francis M. and Randolph Schwabe. A Short History of Costume and Armor, 1066-1800. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931.

Lister, Margot. Costume: an illustrated survey from ancient times to the 20th century. Boston: Plays, Inc., 1968.

Owen-Crocker, Gale R.Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. Rochester: Boydell & Brewer, 2004. ***

Piponnier, Francoise and Perrine Mane. Dress in the Middle Ages. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. ***


Weigle, Coryn. Period Patterns, number 16, Tunics, c. 650-1310 A.D. Alexandria, VA: MediŠval Miscellanea, 1988.




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