Fashion Trends for Women in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages, also known as the Medieval period, is dated by some scholars from the 5th century to the 16th century. This period was marked by many changes. The medieval period is divided into three periods: The Early Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages and the Late Middle Ages.
Being well-groomed was not about the wide variety that we have today. Clothing during the medieval period was also restricted to the social status one belonged to. The elite class had a different style of dressing as compared to the peasant folk.
The wealthy were seen in highly fashionable attire. The lords during the period were seen adorned in silks and luxurious fabrics. The Sumptuary Laws that were passed during this period were interesting. Special tailors created clothing in the medieval period for the royals. With the Sumptuary Laws being enforced, people who violated the same faced severe penalty. These laws enforced rules such as the wealthy class of the society would be the only ones seen wearing fashionable clothing. A violation of the same would result in loss of property or heavy fines as well!
Fashion for the common folks was all about loose linen or wool. Men were generally seen in tunics, which went all the way down to their knees. Tunics that were really long, were seen for special events. Such tunics were also combined with long pants. These pants were generally made of wool. For the cold winters, one often saw the use of cloaks.
Women, apart from long tunics, also wore under-tunics made of wool and teamed it with a cloak if they stepped out of the house. These tunics were available in a wide range of colors and sometimes they also adorned fancy hats to strike a statement.

There were certain garments that were considered to be a status symbol for women who belonged to the upper classes. Brighter colors, rich materials, long jackets, elaborate garments, tunics worn with surcoats etc, were all a part of fashion. Women also preferred to wear gowns and used an array of headdresses to make a mark. Leggings and hose were also found in use during this period, but it was not considered to be a mark of the wealthy people. The rich classes were also known to import clothing from other countries such as silk cloth, bleached linen and dyed or patterned prints. On the other hand, people who belonged to the lower segment of the society often wore homespun wool and used colorful borders, which were woven into the fabric in the loom.