Legs in Style: Exploring Medieval Trousers Types and Timeline

Step into the world of medieval fashion and discover the evolution of trousers, a garment that revolutionized legwear during this fascinating era.

From humble beginnings to intricate designs, medieval trousers underwent significant transformations in style and functionality.

Lets embark on a journey through time to explore the various types of medieval trousers and trace their timeline. From practical and utilitarian garments to fashionable and elaborate styles, medieval trousers offer a glimpse into the ever-changing trends and social dynamics of the Middle Ages.

Medieval trousers played a crucial role in the wardrobe of men and women throughout the Middle Ages. Here are some intriguing points about medieval trousers:


These early medieval trousers were loose-fitting and typically reached just below the knee. They were secured with laces or belts and were often worn with stockings or leg wraps.


As the Middle Ages progressed, hose emerged as a popular legwear choice. They were snug-fitting garments that covered the legs from waist to foot. Hose were usually made of wool and were worn by both men and women.

Peasants Costume Labelled


Chausses were long, tight-fitting leg coverings that extended from the waist down to the ankle. They were typically made of linen or wool and were worn by knights and men of high social status.

Hosen and Braies

Hosen were separate leg coverings that were fastened to a belt or tied at the waist. Braies, on the other hand, were loose-fitting undergarments worn beneath hosen. Together, they formed the foundation of medieval legwear.

The Timeline of Medieval Trousers

Medieval trousers evolved over time, adapting to changing fashion trends and societal needs. Here is a timeline highlighting the key developments in medieval legwear

9th-11th Century: During the early medieval period, breeches and tunics were commonly worn, providing flexibility and ease of movement.

Short Sleeve Tunics

12th Century: The transition to tighter-fitting garments began, with chausses and early forms of hose becoming popular among the upper classes.

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14th Century: Hose became more refined, consisting of separate sections for the legs and feet. The use of fabric hose with codpieces emerged, emphasizing masculine attributes.

15th Century: The fashion for hose continued to evolve, with styles becoming more elaborate and decorative. Colors, patterns, and embroidery were incorporated into the design.

16th Century: The Renaissance brought significant changes to legwear, with the introduction of trunk hose, which were large, padded breeches worn over the lower body.

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Recommended Books on Medieval Trousers

“Fashioning the Body: An Intimate History of Medieval Dress” by Elizabeth J. Tyler
This book explores various aspects of medieval clothing, including trousers, offering a comprehensive understanding of their cultural and social significance.

created from Middle Eastern and Central Asian Textiles” by Marc Carlson
This book focuses on the influence of Eastern textiles on medieval European clothing, including trousers. It provides a unique perspective on the cross-cultural exchange of fashion during the Middle Ages.

“The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500” by Sarah Thursfield
While not specifically dedicated to trousers, this book offers practical guidance on constructing medieval garments, including legwear. It provides detailed instructions, patterns, and historical context for those interested in recreating medieval clothing.

“Dress in Anglo-Saxon England” by Gale R. Owen-Crocker
This book explores the clothing of the Anglo-Saxons, including trousers, during the early medieval period. It offers valuable insights into the construction, materials, and cultural significance of legwear in this era.

“Medieval Clothing and Textiles” edited by Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker
This anthology covers a wide range of topics related to medieval clothing, including trousers. With contributions from multiple experts, it provides a comprehensive overview of medieval textiles, fashion, and dress practices.

As we conclude our journey through the fascinating world of medieval trousers, we are reminded of the dynamic nature of fashion and its ability to reflect the ever-changing social, cultural, and practical needs of medieval society. From breeches to hose, the evolution of legwear offers a captivating glimpse into the past and serves as a testament to human creativity and ingenuity.