All About Knight Clothing In The Medieval Times: Materials And Styles

Knight clothing evolved quite a bit throughout the Middle-ages.

Knight clothing evolved quite a bit throughout the Middle-ages. In the 1100's, the Knights' protective armor basically consisted of chain-mail (a rough mesh made of fine chain, woven together to create a cloth-like material.). This was heavy, impractical and took years to make. Only the most well funded soldiers could obtain such gear. While it deflected most sharp projectiles, it didn't provide much protection from blunt force traumas such as rocks, clubs, lances and maces. As people do even today, many metal workers strove to improve these outfits.

In the 13th century, armor plating was added to protect the more "delicate" portions of a knight's anatomy. This was a very important improvement. Helmets began to improve to from being a mere leather cap to an armored head covering to finally a helmet that cover the entire head and included protection for the jaw and back of the skull. Underneath all of the armor and chain, a knight wore a simple linen shirt, "bruchen" (early form of under briefs) and hose (stockings) and a quilted jacket designed to protect the knight from rubbing against his armor called a "gambaison". To complete the ensemble, the knight would wear a loose jacket upon which his coat of arms would be emblazoned. His shield would also bear his coat of arms or his family crest or motto.

In the late 14th/ early 15th century, complete suits of armor began to appear. These were extremely uncomfortable and made mobility difficult however they were much more durable than their previous incarnations, so the discomfort was a trade of for better protection in battle. It was very costly to be a knight so generally knights came from wealthy families or earned the sponsorship of well-to-do feudal lords and royalty. Either way knighthood was not an honor bestowed lightly and was something to be earned.

Before attaining the level of "Knighthood", a male was a "squire" which was essentially a knight in training. A squire would wear simple garb of linen shirt and wool pants or hose. A squire became a knight in a ceremony called a "dubbing". The night before the ceremony, the squire would wear a plain long white shirt or "tunic" and red satin robes. This was symbolic of his praying for a pure soul. The day of the ceremony the squire would be dressed in his best clothing usually consisting of a finely woven shirt and pants along with a vest called a "doublet".

Once a man was knighted, he had to dress as someone of importance because clothing was one of the primary ways that a person displayed their position in society. Knights were members of the ruling class, therefore part of the upper echelon of their world. Their clothing was simpler than that of royalty however it was much more elaborate then that of peasants. Their shirts were of fine linen and a more delicate stitch was used in constructing the garments. Velvet and satin were used in a knight doublet, cloaks and hats. Knight clothing also had more varied colors than that of the lower classes.

To be a knight was an honor. That being said, it did come with a price that very often included ones life. Their battle dress was to protect and their leisure dress was to impress. It wasn't an easy life but a knight's esteemed position made the sacrifice worthwhile during a dangerous period in western history.

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