This absorbing survey of medieval clothing makes an important and unique contribution to our understanding of the cultural and social conditions of western Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Drawing on paintings and sculpture, documents and literature, surviving clothing, textiles, jewelry, and armor, Francoise Piponnier and Perrine Mane show that garments and accessories of the middle ages reveal much about life and society of the time.
The authors examine the sources for clothing: what clothes were made of, why, and from where the materials came. They provide a chronology of changes in western European dress during the period, investigating the development and spread of "fashion". They explore the differences between the clothing of men and women, explaining that changes in fashion for women were less spectacular than those for men because of the secondary position of women in medieval society. The authors also discuss the changing significance of clothing to people as they progressed through life, how clothing related to status, the varied work attire of such professionals as lawyers, academics, and members of religious orders, and the clothing of carnival and disguise.
Elegantly written and attractively presented, the book will be of interest not only to students of medieval history but also to anyone fascinated by clothes and fashion.