Dress in the Middle Ages


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Françoise Piponnier and Perrine Mane; Translated by Caroline Beamish

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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, Françoise 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.

Françoise Piponnier is director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Perrine Mane is head of research at the Centre Nationale des Recherches Scientifiques in Paris.

"This book is essential reading for anyone interested in medieval dress and social conditions."—Anne F. Sutton, The Ricardian

"Dress in the Middle Ages offers a comprehensive but lucid state of research currently being conducted on clothing even as it advances a stimulating agenda for the larger cultural history of dressing."—H-France Book Reviews

"This handsome little volume will provide useful to those interested in the history of fashion and costume. It should serve well in undergraduate courses that have a social-history dimension because the book is so descriptive and sweeping in its scope."—Speculum—A Journal of Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780300069068
Publication Date: February 17, 1998
176 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
60 b/w illus.