What did Medieval People Really Wear?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Contrary to popular belief, people in the Middle Ages loved color – and could afford it. They also liked to be, well, naked. Which makes sense, considering how much Medieval people liked throwing rotten vegetables at each other.

Some people take the term “Dark Ages” a little too literally. There is a notion in popular culture that the Medieval Period was a time when everyone lived in absolute poverty, wore clothes that looked like they were sewn together by a 6-year-old, and bathed zero times during their entire lives. The dark-filtered movies and shows depicting the Medieval period are supposed to symbolically reflect how bleak everyone’s life was.

Medieval clothes: Holywood vs. reality

A great example of this is the filter used in the European portion of The Kingdom of Heaven, which holds a rather negative view of Medieval Europe.

Raggedy grey clothing and a dark filter (and swords…

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4 thoughts on “What did Medieval People Really Wear?

  1. One of my memorable ‘life moments’ was the time I was standing in the Louvre confronted by a giant wall-sized piece of art from the late Medieval period, wonderfully restored back to original colour and – well, luminosity. It seemed to glow. I can’t now recall the artist but still remember the intensity of the colour. So much for the Middle Ages being a time of dun colours where people didn’t vote for Kings (though I have to admit that strange women lying in ponds distributing swords isn’t really a basis for a system of government).

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