Regular folks used to wear a cloth cap, named coif. Coifs were worn by soldiers and nobles as well, but the upper class would have to buy medieval headwear to wear on top. Hats varied, most were made of fabric or felt of a truncated cone shape, with or without brims. Awkward caps have caught the fancy of moralists and pastors, even though the head while wearing a coif resembled a large cabbage.
Another kind of common medieval headwear was a chaperone - a long-tailed hood with pelerine, which was used as a part of traveling dress. In the early 1300s someone offered to wear chaperone putting it on his head through the facial hole, so the tail and pelerine hung on both sides as an adornment. Since that moment its tail lengthened almost to the ground, making the wearer to wrap it around the neck in the manner of a scarf.
Medieval man treasured his hat; some fashionmongers even wore two hats at a time - the first on his head with the second behind his back. If you'd like to join their ranks, now is the time to check our medieval headwear store. Сomplement your period outfit with one of these gorgeous styles:
In those days, a woman could not walk bareheaded. Uncovered hair was generally considered indecent and wearing a headdress was strictly ordained by the church as a sign of reverence. So women used to wear shawls and veils. Thick headbands wrapped around head and chin were equally typical for 12-13 centuries. These modest accessories could be made of expensive, brightly colored fabrics with decorative trim specifically for the rich ladies. The veils were intended to conceal women's face which was declared to be the most dangerous snare, the 'sweet evil' subtly ruling the world.
A woman's outfit was not complete without headwear of some kind. A woman's activity and function would have determined what kind of headwear was required. Many of these were constructed from fabric but some were possibly built on a wire base or used metal in their construction This page takes a brief look at the most popular forms of medieval headdresses.
indicating that these might be made of gold or gold thread. A Dictionary of English Costume by Cunnington and Beard, describes the headdress with the rounded coils worn in the late 13th to end of 14th centuries as bosses. The entry reads:
The Horned Headdress A Dictionary of English Costume by Cunnington & Beard describes the horned headdress as being a that which is worn with wide templers which are wired up to resemble horns from which a pendant veil curtained the back of the head. It was worn from 1410 to 1420, but rarely to 1460, although, the Surtees Society's Townley Mysteries in 1460 notes that \"
indicating that at that stage the style was persisting. The image detail at left comes from the 15th century Guiard des Moulins Bible Historial, and shows the horned headdress style of headdress.
This painting, at right, by Rogier Van Der Weyden in the 1500s of Isabella of Portugal is a fine example of the new richness that this style adopted and the silken veil which was de rigeur. There appears to be a loop at the top of the forehead centrally and it is uncertain whether this is attached to the headdress itself to permit the wearer to pull the piece forward in case of slippage or whether it is a part of a cap which is worn underneath. We see this on the hennin also. There often appears to be some kind of support around the ear, but of what kind, it is unclear. It is unlikely to be a securing cord as it doesn't pass around the ear but rather stops in front of it. Perhaps this was heavily stiffened or wired for the purpose of securing. Along with the hennin, the steeple hennin and the butterfly hennin, the late 15th century saw the return of the horned headdress for the upper classes. The primary difference between this and other previous styles of truncated headdress, is the lack of a padded roll previously seen in earlier versions and the style of gown it was worn with.
Crespines and Cauls The medieval caul was often known as a fret, described by Cunnington & Beard as a trellis-work coif or skull cap of silk thread or goldsmithry, sometimes lined with silk. These were shaped like modern-day hairnets, which is hardly surprising since they performed exactly the same function. Shown at right is a detail from a late 15th century illumination, Mother Nature Forging Babies, showing the crespine with a soft headband. The hair can be seen gathered at the sides of the face through the network and the remainder of the hair hangs loose at the back. Clothing historian and author, Herbert Norris discusses the headdress. usually known as the crespine or crespinette:
\"known in the middle ages as the crespine or crespinette, a network cap to confine the hair... made during the second half of the 13th century, network caps, more properly called cauls, came into fashion for ladies wear. These headdresses were shaped like bags, made of gold, silver or silk network, were worn over the hair... they enclosed the head and hair, and were secured by a circlet or fillet. Jewels were often set at intervals in the band, and also at intersections of the cross-bars. The caul or crespinette was an important headdress worn by noble ladies of this period. The network was made of gold or silver, framed in a border of the same metal about a half or three quarters of an inch in width. At the intersections of the network, a single stone or a cluster of jewels was set. Sometimes the caul was composed entirely of a network of small pearls, and such a caul often had at each intersection a jewel surrounded by 4, 5 or 6 pearls.\"
In his book, Medieval Costume and Fashion, Herbert Norris notes that while the costume for Queen Phillipa shown on her effigy in Westminster Abbey is simple and the headdress is very much damaged, part of the cylinders remain. The effigy is shown at right. Looking at them, I'm still not terribly convinced that they are anything other than braids which are dressed.
In their book, Dress in the Middle Ages, Francois Pipponier & Perrine Mane say that much more voluminous headdresses built up on a padded bourrelet came into fashion. These developed vertically and gave rise to some amazing creations, some spherical, some cylindrical, or even split in two like horns. They are talking of the padded roll incorporated in other headdresses as seen on the heart-shaped headdress.
The Heart-Shaped Headdress The heart-shaped headdress combined two of the medieval woman's favoured headdress elements to make a new style of headdress; the earlier caul or coif, and the padded roll. The coif was no longer made from a softer fabric or network, but a stiffer, more rigid fabric which continued to confine the hair. Instead of a fillet or band, it had a large padded roll affixed to the top of the headdress As the top of the padded roll extended heavenwards, the middle of the roll descended into a V at the centre of the forehead making a heart shape when viewed from the front, hence the name.
This style of headdress was much favoured in Europe and was worn alongside other fabulous headwear such as the hennin and the horned headdress. Shown at left is a painting of Isabella of Portugul from Flanders dated at 1430. The richness of her headdress can be clearly seen, with clusters of pearls and gem stones set in a geometric pattern. She also has a securing band under her ear to support the weight of the coif, which is also jeweled.
The padded roll of the heart-shaped headdress could be made from coloured silks, figured or brocaded velvets. It was often jeweled or decorated and finished off with a small circular veil. These veils differed dramatically in that they were often not white, sometimes daggued and usually decorated at the edges.
The heart-shaped headdress continued to stay in use by the middle classes during the greater part of the 15th century, even after fashionable women had discarded it about 1465-1470. The middle classes versions were more simplified and less jewelled, as befitted their stations in life. This is by no means a comprehensive guide to headdresses in the medieval period.
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The style of the escoffion developed over time, eventually given its own name because of its popularity and distinct features which differed from the original conical hennin. The escoffion was a type of \"reticulated headdress\", meaning that it was bound together by a network of golden thread or wire. The headdress itself was made out of various types of materials, predominantly wool, using looms. The more intricate details were sewn on by skilled craftswomen or men. The hair of the wearer was tucked away under the headdress in a number of ways; the hair could either be braided and tucked underneath the escoffion or pinned into place on each side of the head in configurations sometimes known as \"side-pillars\". Alternatively, the headdress was worn over a wimple or caul, simple pieces of cloth which kept the wearer's hair out of sight and provided a base for the larger headdress to attach on to. The covering of hair, sometimes called a bongrace, was a common custom amongst women of the Middle Ages, and continued to be a prominent feature in headwear for many centuries. The escoffion was usually worn by women of high status, such as those who lived in the court, or those who were a part of the Royal Family. Who exactly could wear headwear such as the escoffion, or other luxury clothing items, was dictated by sumptuary laws which controlled the over-expenditure on luxury items and also maintained a type of social hierarchy based on birth, influence or economic income. While the escoffion was deemed a luxury item for a time, it was later deemed as ungraceful or clunky, as well as being condemned by moralist or religious groups for supposedly depicting satanic imagery. Additionally, the headwear came out of fashion into the 16th century simply because of its size; some wearers were often unable to do certain activities because their mobility was hindered by the weight upon their head. Thus, many women adopted a more simple style of headwear leading into the 16th century, which was both practical and conservatively feminine. 59ce067264