The Medieval Kirtle: Unveiling the Timeless Charm of a Versatile Fashion Staple

Medieval Kirtle: The Essential Medieval Dress

The Medieval Kirtle was an essential piece of attire in Medieval Europe, worn by both men and women during the 11th century.

This Medieval dress was similar to a man’s tunic and was typically worn over a chemise or smock and under a formal outer garment such as a surcoat.

Medieval Princess Clothing
Medieval Princess Clothing – Medieval Kirtle – Dress

In this article, we’ll explore the history and style of the Medieval Kirtle and how it played a major role in Medieval fashion.

11th century European Tunic

In the 11th century, the tunic was a popular form of clothing for both men and women across Europe.

The Anglo-Saxon women’s dress of the time, also known as the “Peplos”, consisted of a long, sleeveless dress made of woolen fabric with a large front opening that was held closed by either a belt or a brooch. The dress was often made in a variety of colors and decorated with intricate embroidery.

Early Medieval Clothing of Women
The tunic worn by women usually carried a slit at the bodice where the slit was then kept together with lacing.

In the mid-11th century, the laced kirtle was introduced, which featured a long, close-fitting dress laced up the front from the neck to the waist.

A more formal variant, the buttoned kirtle, also emerged at this time, featuring an elaborate bodice decorated with buttons.

The short-sleeved kirtle, featuring a high waist and tight sleeves, became increasingly popular in the latter part of the 11th century.

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These styles of dress constituted the major forms of medieval fashion and clothes in Europe during the 11th century, with variations existing between different regions and classes.

Though relatively little is known about the history of these particular kirtles, they played an important role in medieval women’s clothing during this time period.

The Importance of the Medieval Kirtle

The Medieval Kirtle was an essential part of Medieval fashion and is one of the key pieces of clothing that defined the era. Kirtles were a type of dress that came in many forms, and they were worn by both men and women.

Anglo Saxon Clothes

In the 11th century, European Tunics were the main form of dress for men, and kirtles were typically worn over a chemise or smock by women.

woman chemise

During the early medieval period, Anglo-Saxon women’s dress was dominated by two main types of dresses: the Anglo-Saxon “Peplos” and the laced Kirtle.

Later on, during the 12th and 13th centuries, more types of kirtles emerged, including the buttoned kirtle, the short-sleeved kirtle and the particular kirtle. Kirtles are now seen as one of the most important aspects of the history of the dress in medieval Europe and they have come to symbolize the style of clothing that women wore during this time.

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The importance of the Medieval Kirtle lies in its role in influencing and shaping the styles of clothing throughout medieval times.