the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

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Rchave
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the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Rchave » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:03 pm

Hi all,
Probably not the best thing that my first post on here is on a bit of a controversial topic... I've just been reading these forums for quite a while now and eventually decided to move on from just lurking :) It's something that seems to come up time and time again, the issue of not being considered "authentic" as a 15th century male in anything less than the shirt, doublet and gown ensemble. Admittedly I couldn't work the search tool here well enough to find the original discussion on this, but all the time I've seen it mentioned, it reads like it's taken for granted that this is correct, and anyone who doesn't do it is wrong. At the risk of being someone who's not got the same depth of research as many of you, waving a knife around such a sacred cow, just wondering if this idea could be opened up to debate a bit? :worried:

I'd start by agreeing that this way of dressing is probably considered proper and formal... I'm just not sure that the sources that have been used to reinforce this point are completely reliable in how they're interpreted. Mainly the artwork of the time. True, the majority of paintings show people layered up in this way (and I'm aware there are exceptions in some specific cases), but I'm curious about the cultural mindset, and how strictly real people would adhere to the convention even on the sunniest days.

If we were to look at and interpret 21st century stock photos in a similar way 500 years from now, what impressions would we get about current fashions? I'm sitting opposite a big Health and Safety poster that shows immaculately presented builders, in brand new Hi-Vis vests, all the correct PPE etc... And yet when I've worked on building sites, I see dirty hoodies, knackered trainers, stubbled faces, hi-vis vests covered in oil and hardly distinguishable from the rest.

Or perhaps people could look at the "cereal box family" as shown modelling modern camping gear etc. Are they more likely to show dad in a smart-casual check shirt, loafers etc, everyone well presented... or are they more likely to show a more typical situation with bed hair, a mixture of pyjamas and winter jackets etc, and the family arguing over who gets the last of the milk...

Perhaps even more relevant is how businessmen are usually photographed in complete suits. As I see it, it's the closest cultural equivalent, where a certain, smart, dress standard is culturally expected rather than mandatory and enforced. Sure, they'd wear a complete 3-piece suit while meeting customers, while being photographed, while 'presenting' themselves in formal situations, but wandering around the City it's not unnaceptable to just have the shirt, and sling your jacket over your shoulder. I'm not saying that you'd hang a doublet off your shoulder like an 80's yuppie... But in situations where you want to present yourself properly, you'd have these layers... But I don't think everyone would rather die of heat than be considered 'naked'.

So perhaps in the context that medieval paintings would have been drawn, isn't that the same kind of airbrushing we see even nowadays totally misrepresenting reality? I'd agree that the proper and formal thing to do would be to wear these 3 layers, and in 'smart' situations i'd totally agree with needing to wear them. But at a re-enactment we usually portray a siege camp. Would people in siege camps have been so conscious about how smart they look? I think on the really scorching weekends, out of town, camping and campaigning, nobody would really care to see someone wearing just a shirt and pourpoint (admittedly at least something to tie your hose up with).

When I come off the field and de-armour after a battle on a hot day, I take off all the sweat soaked layers, and spend about 20 minutes shirtless before feeling dry enough to put something else dry on. I can't imagine people having been *that* different back then. Surely you wouldn't take off your breastplate and instantly replace it with heavy layers before anyone sees you nude in just a shirt and hose?

Sorry that's long, just my thoughts on the matter. I'm trying to look at more than just the pictures, and consider how the fashionable mindset adapts to 'real life'.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Jim Smith » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:52 pm

Yesss, I'd say you picked a good 'un for your first post. My first thought is that you must get a balance between saying 'Well, my feelings are ... in this situation, so theirs must have been too' and pure common sense. Projecting C21 western European ideas of modest dress onto our C15 ancestors is plainly wrong. In addition, their notions of modest dress were certainly not ours.

You say :'the issue of not being considered "authentic" as a 15th century male in anything less than the shirt, doublet and gown ensemble.' That really depends on context and what you are doing. Your linen shirt is, together with your braies, underwear. However, there are some references showing men engaged in heavy manual work wearing shoes, hose and shirt. Your doublet is a foundational garment and the only people shown wearing just doublet and hose are doing some sort of physical work. That leaves the gown or loose coat. Look at the pictorial references. Those people traveling or walking in the streets are shown wearing some kind of garment over their doublet and hose. (This is a quick and dirty response, but I'm sure later posters will show you the actual references).

From a practical point of view, a lot of the re-enactors I've met who complain about the heat are wearing clothing made of the wrong weight wool. Those who make doublets out of woollen cloth more suitable for cloaks have only themselves to blame when they melt.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:45 pm

I would also be cautious of assuming that "modesty" is the driving factor in the number of layers that people wear.
For that to be the case, I would want to see some evidence.

Everyday fashion is powerful motivator in many periods, even for the lowliest of people, and personal discomfort is often set aside for the sake of what is socially, rather than morally, expected.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Drachelis » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:44 pm

i must say we have always suffered for our fashion -corsetry etc etc

But on your point - I have lived through the fifties and sixties and
there is wide documentation of clothing but............ I know I and my friends wore clothing that isn't evidenced - mostly it is the major trends that are documented.

In 500 years re-enactors or this era will all be wearing jeans because nobody wore anything else!!!!!!!

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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby guthrie » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:21 pm

I believe you are attacking a straw man of your own devising. I don't recall anyone suggesting that you should comeoff the battlefield and put all your nice kit straight back on, or that a gown is compulsory for everyone most of the time. Rather it has been acknowledged that people doing hard work tend to wear less and those who are posher and doing less or no work wear more.
REmember also that the climate was cooler then, and sitting about doing some gentle work does often require a coat or such over your doublet in order to stay warm, hence ending up with 3 layers anyway, even if the top one isn't a gown. And who is to say that all pictures represent life in July heatwaves?



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Strickland » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:59 am

Might I say common sense should prevail?? (Preapres to duck!) For me when its a scorcher, hose, shirt, pourpoint, straw hat! When Im scrapping, all the appropriate gear. When done ,cool off as suggested. Then re-clothe to whatever level you need, remembering you might be on show to the public also. Im no academic when it comes to deep research but Im pretty sure people of the time, like ourselves, employed common sense and were practical.

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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Rchave » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:03 am

Agreed with all of you there actually... From opinions Id seen in the past i was expecting a backdraft when I turned my monitor on :p The impression that I got basically, was that it taken to be was very clear-cut when you'd wear certain layers and when you wouldn't. As in, we have pictures of people manually working in 2 layers, people walking around in 3, so it's assumed that it's a rule of decency to put on a gown as soon as work is done as we have no evidence of someone slouching after work in less layers... (Maybe we do, i'm not sure, just badly trying to illustrate a point)

Jim Smith wrote:My first thought is that you must get a balance between saying 'Well, my feelings are ... in this situation, so theirs must have been too' and pure common sense. Projecting C21 western European ideas of modest dress onto our C15 ancestors is plainly wrong. In addition, their notions of modest dress were certainly not ours.


Quite agreed. I don't agree with the mindset of wearing belted hose and a big doublet as if it's just jeans, shirt and jacket... I guess my way of thinking is to picture how my mindset would be altered by the culture of the time; although i feel properly 'summer' dressed once with a doublet/pourpoint on to hold my hose up, i think (unless you need the layers for the cold) i'd see the difference between having the gown over the top and not as the difference between wearing a smart shirt and a t shirt. Just how well dressed you'd want to be. People in pictures would be shown better dressed i feel, so i guess my point is that despite fashion, people will be lazy sometimes but that won't be as well documented.

Fox wrote:I would also be cautious of assuming that "modesty" is the driving factor in the number of layers that people wear.
For that to be the case, I would want to see some evidence.


Definitely! I don't think the mindset would have been to consider just wearing a shirt and hose the equivalent of standing in public in Y-fronts now. I think it's smartness and effort rather than decency.

Drachelis wrote:I know I and my friends wore clothing that isn't evidenced - mostly it is the major trends that are documented.


Yes. I've been told my chaperon hat is an old mans fashion in the 1470's so I shouldn't be wearing it- but then, here we are in 2010 and I wear flared jeans and drive a Capri.

I think overall I like to adapt the mindset and extrapolate a little bit with common sense... Rather than just saying "x is fashionable 14xx - 14xx but we have no pictures of it in 14xy so there it's not allowed"... Ok, I know most people aren't that extreme on it I think i'd be cautious of the idea that only the things we have absolute, direct evidence of is real and anything else would be wrong. Not wrong, just dubious; down to personal judgement...



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:31 am

Rchave wrote:Yes. I've been told my chaperon hat is an old mans fashion in the 1470's so I shouldn't be wearing it

....extrapolate a little bit with common sense... Rather than just saying "x is fashionable 14xx - 14xx but we have no pictures of it in 14xy so there it's not allowed"


But in that case we do have pictures for it; and look who is wearing them in those pictures.

It a repeated theme in fashion [throughout the ages] that two groups of people wear a fashion that is passed.
  • Old people are often still dressed in the fashion of their youth.
  • And people trying to look respectable or steady often wear a fashion that has slightly passed.
    Look at pictures of doctors and lawyers through the ages, for instance, and often they are wearing "old fashioned" clothes; for example, doctors are often still depicted in top hats at then end of the 19thC when largely they are out of fashion.

To bring it back to 1470 again, look for pictures of people in coifs. They are mostly out of fashion, and it's a very specific subset who wear them.

What I'm saying is that the clothes you choose to wear send a message about what sort of person you are, and we should try to be aware of what that message is.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:41 am

You could always carry your bag hat and wear another, there are images of men doing just that, some of whom are youthful in appearence. There's one of a man carrying a chaperone on the end of what could be a walking stick for extra fop effect.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:52 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:There's one of a man carrying a chaperone on the end of what could be a walking stick for extra fop effect.


The are quite a few pictures of men carrying a hat on a stick, and a variety of hat styles too.

There is a lovely early 20thC book (I think), which has such a picture in it, with the slogan "Fashionable gentlemen carry their hat on a stick". It feels like a motto live by, no?



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Rchave » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:48 am

The point I was trying to make with the chaperon, is that I'm slightly out of date with current fashions- fashions are more of a trend than an absolute rule. I'd have been slightly out of date with that hat, yes, but it could be seen as the same kind of mild pretentiousness where a teenager wears a suit jacket over their otherwise typical teenage garb.

Fox wrote:To bring it back to 1470 again, look for pictures of people in coifs. They are mostly out of fashion, and it's a very specific subset who wear them.


I think it's the "very specific subset" thing that I don't fully agree with. Fashions are trends, and yes there are plenty of cases where people wouldn't be seen dead in certain out of date items.. Something that comes to mind is drainpipe jeans- as far as documenting fashion goes, i'd say they were mainly fashionable in the late 70's - early 80's, then came back into common fashion in the late 2000's... But I don't think in the 90's everyone would completely refuse to wear them, there'd be people who wear them anyway- even if they're not in a specific subset that 'allows' them such as skinheads.

I'm definitely not fully to either side on this one- I don't like the idea of being too pedantic about classifying things, dates, etc, but on the other hand i wouldn't say "i'm a raver-goth in the 21st century, so my 15th century persona would also adopt similarly 'alternative' styles, dye hair with woad, decide to have facial piercings etc"... Just finding common sense in between the two.

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:extra fop effect.


And those 3 words sum up what i like about the whole era :) Do you have an image for that I could see? I could see my 15th century persona noticing various fopperies like this and taking them up. I've never heard of hats on sticks, but I like it already.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Mad Mab » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:18 pm

Rchave wrote:The point I was trying to make with the chaperon, is that I'm slightly out of date with current fashions- fashions are more of a trend than an absolute rule. I'd have been slightly out of date with that hat, yes, but it could be seen as the same kind of mild pretentiousness where a teenager wears a suit jacket over their otherwise typical teenage garb.

Fox wrote:To bring it back to 1470 again, look for pictures of people in coifs. They are mostly out of fashion, and it's a very specific subset who wear them.


I think it's the "very specific subset" thing that I don't fully agree with. Fashions are trends, and yes there are plenty of cases where people wouldn't be seen dead in certain out of date items.. Something that comes to mind is drainpipe jeans- as far as documenting fashion goes, i'd say they were mainly fashionable in the late 70's - early 80's, then came back into common fashion in the late 2000's... But I don't think in the 90's everyone would completely refuse to wear them, there'd be people who wear them anyway- even if they're not in a specific subset that 'allows' them such as skinheads.


I feel I would possibly be wary of applying C20th ideas and values to an older period. For a lot of people, it wouldn't be following fashion to be fashionable, it would be more statement of where they stood in the social order (and would also have advertised what they did for a living) which was very important (I think more so than we realise nowadays) and would influence how you were treated.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:37 pm

Mad Mab wrote:I feel I would possibly be wary of applying C20th ideas and values to an older period. For a lot of people, it wouldn't be following fashion to be fashionable, it would be more statement of where they stood in the social order (and would also have advertised what they did for a living) which was very important (I think more so than we realise nowadays) and would influence how you were treated.


Yes. Yes, that is the point I was failing to make.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:19 pm

Hi Rchave,

Very brave of you taking a prod at this in your first post. Well done.

Now, out come the knives! :D

Be very careful of your assumptions. In many respects, society has changed more in the last 100 years than in the 1000 before it. This can render many of our modern assumptions completely meaningless when trying to understand the medieval mind.

You talk of not being 'formally dressed' in a seige camp. Do remember that your boss is also in that camp, his wife might also be there, as might HIS boss. Does that influence how formal you want to look? If you're just scum, destined to remain scum, there's probably some-one above you who wants you to make him look good and will hastle you to dress properly. If you have hopes of promotion, dressing well is a good start. These kind of rules will apply in many situations.

That said, after a battle is not one of them. After a battle, your hot, shaken up and lucky to be alive. This goes for the nobles as well as the commons. So you probably take off all your armour and strip down to your underware (or possibly even naked) to cool off and pull yourself together. You'll probably want to was some of the crap off of you too while you're at it. After a few minutes like this, you'll be feeling a bit more like yourself (and cooler) so it's time to start putting on your 'day face', i.e. time to get dressed as you want those around you to see you. If it's a blazing hot day, you may stop at your doublet (unless you're trying to impress some-one), if it's not a coat of some form (gown, jacket, huke, etc) is the normal thing to wear.
You do have the lee-way, we are after all the same human species, but we're not in the same society, so that's the gap that we need to bridge.

When looking at what people are wearing, try looking at unposed pcitures and films of the beginning of last century and see how many people are walking around in shirts (probably equivalent to just wearing your doublet) and how many have some form of coat or jacket on (coat, jacket or gown equivalent) and how many wear (or carry) hats. That's the kind of mindset that you want to look for.

Finally, remember that if some-one says 'wearing just doublets is okay', you'll have a lot of re-enactors wearing just doublets because 'it's okay', without reading the context that makes it okay. This tends to lead to very strict 'swing the other way' statements to try and bring people into the right area (like H&S legislation/interpretation does).

Congratulations on some well argued points though, you've made a decent debate out of this hot potato!

Best wishes


That said, you've put together some well


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Jack the dodgy builder » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:49 pm

I am not interested in the martial side of life but I am interested in building . I have to disagree with Mr Smith when he says there are "some " pictures of people working in little clothing . I have dozens and dozens examples of such in my collection I would guess that 50% plus of all pictures of building activity have at least one person shown in or showing their undies( braies shift) along with quite a few folk without hats of any sort.. A lot of pictures have people dressed in a range of clothing. So with one layer, most with two and others with 3 or more.There are also many pictures of farm workers doing the same. However when not working they are shown in at least doublet and hose.
Having served for 28 years I can tell you that in barracks all around the world at least half of the off duty squadies are wandering around in there undies ! I cant see that ever having changed.
For me its about balance in what your trying to show . We should look at all of the picture not just the bits we like . If the building pictures tell me anything its that if one bloke decided to take of his hose and work in his braies no one much minded !

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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Rchave » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:57 pm

Mad Mab wrote:I feel I would possibly be wary of applying C20th ideas and values to an older period. For a lot of people, it wouldn't be following fashion to be fashionable, it would be more statement of where they stood in the social order (and would also have advertised what they did for a living) which was very important (I think more so than we realise nowadays) and would influence how you were treated.


Very true. I think I strayed myself there from my original point, talking about the chaperon using loose 20th century equivalents, and certainly there is a limit on my thinking here... I definitely wouldn't turn up in a tweed houpellande as an 'ironic' fashion statement, with the mindset of a modern indie kid :devil: But i think for a style of hat it would be a minor enough thing that many people might stick to what they like rather than purely to the latest trends.

Colin Middleton wrote:Do remember that your boss is also in that camp, his wife might also be there, as might HIS boss. Does that influence how formal you want to look?


That's an interesting one- I think that bit's gonna depend on who you're with! I can imagine some chaps having a pretty laid back vintner who's not going to care, be every bit as crude himself.. and other guys putting up with a constant barrage of "shave that bloody stubble off your face and dress properly you scruffy bastard, do you want the enemy to see you looking like that?" and the like.

Something that's always appealed about history is how despite a massive difference in cultures over time, blokes will always be blokes... As in, I think a bunch of soldiers on campaign in any point in history, especially on campaign, are usually going to be rough, crudely spoke, coarse guys. A barracks mentality..
Jack the dodgy builder wrote:Having served for 28 years I can tell you that in barracks all around the world at least half of the off duty squadies are wandering around in there undies ! I cant see that ever having changed.

Jack the dodgy builder wrote:If the building pictures tell me anything its that if one bloke decided to take of his hose and work in his braies no one much minded !

I'd guess in any setting dominated by a bloke mentality, "roughing it" on campaign, doing building work, shovelling dung or whatever- looking smart isn't on the agenda unless it has to be.

Colin Middleton wrote:try looking at unposed pcitures and films of the beginning of last century and see how many people are walking around in shirts (probably equivalent to just wearing your doublet) and how many have some form of coat or jacket on (coat, jacket or gown equivalent) and how many wear (or carry) hats. That's the kind of mindset that you want to look for.

Certainly see your point here. I think maybe the 3 layers is more appropriate in a town setting, where people would be presenting themselves to go out, their 'day face' as you say :) My ideas i guess spring from what those people would be dressed like if they'd crawled out of their tent in a seige camp that morning, hung over and expecting a fight.

Perhaps the hardest bit about all this though is the situation we're portraying. How can we know how medieval man would have dressed and acted on a hot summer's day with a morning battle, a market around lunch time, and another battle in the afternoon? In this situation I usually start the day pointing my hose up on my arming jack and leaving that on... I think if someone in the 15th century had the same plans for the day they'd be likely to do the same. Although I wouldn't necessarily be engaged in manual labour or exercise at every given moment, I wouldn't be bothering to dress smartly in between (unless wanting to make an impression round the market!)

I think the bits of 21st century mindset i'm mixing here, is what I see as a timeless and universal mindset of a load of blokes in a rough situation...



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:00 pm

Jack the dodgy builder wrote: in barracks all around the world at least half of the off duty squadies are wandering around in there undies !
Jack


Oh, thank you for that lovely thought for my tea break...
:D made an old woman very happy :D


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Jenn » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:10 am

You see whilst I take Jack's point about builders and you perhaps taking some layers off when you're working in addition to Jack's pictures there are one's of people like potboys for example too although to be honest not as many as many modern men probably think are necessary or would do so ( think of all those pictures of men in 1930s and 1940s and before doing hard physical labour in the hot sun in shirts and sports jackets often wearing hats too because that's what you did - these were not posh men). It also depends who you are portraying - no matter how warm he is the Earl of Oxford is not wandering around in his pants in public ever.
A couple of things that a lot of re-enactor men miss because of different ways of thinking - 1) as soon you stepped away from your work place however you'd been dressed before then you would be looking to conform to societial norms as there was enormous pressure to do so - that means more clothes. It does not mean wondering around in your underwear - there are very few societies in which that has ever been acceptable and medieval England was not one of them (not even if you were a soldier and remember most of the soldiers you portray in 15th century re-enactment say weren't just soldiers so it's not like being a squaddie at all actually).
2) medieval society even if they didn't all die at 30 was a young society and they wanted to look good and fashionable (something not all re-enactors are that bothered by) but in general they were - as in absence of other ways to do so, in a status obsessed society, using their clothes to show their status therefore you are going to dress as well as you can in the best, most fashionable clothes you possibily can at every opportunity you can. You are not going to wander about in your pants with a belt around your shirt and an old fashioned hat on your head - as everyone will laugh and assume you have no money, not talk to you - which is a big deal in a small town. I agree you may take your shirt off for a few moments as you came off the battlefield, back from work, practising weapons etc to change but then you'd put all the clothes back on.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:58 am

I agree with most of what Jenn says.
The problem is the unrealistic setting of most "medieval camps". I actually beleive that many of the very young men who fought in the WOTR did so because they ahd been brought up on tales of France and thought that they would find it very easy to get rich, laid and drunk, that's if they wanted to fight at all and had not been "volunteered" by their community or coereced into it.
A real WOTR camp would have been an essentially all male affair with all that goes along with such assemblies (excessive displays of manliness and stupidity) and may have been the only time when a young impressionable man might be able to shrug off normal social conventions and do what he liked away from the prying eyes of the local/guild elders. A stag weekend with weapons.
It may be that this could involve doing normally unthinkable things such as (don't tell anyone but I'm just going to wear a doublet today).
A real camp would be set up after a long days march, manhandling carts, livestock, guns, scouting for the enemy or foraging for food, fixing stuff, breaking stuff, cooking, cleaning kit, cleaning your boss's kit, setting up your boss's tent, pitching a bivy (or a tent of your own if you'd clubed together with all your mates to get one). All hard work that falls into the wearing of shirt and braies.
But we don't have that, we have a camp that trys to be a medieval village where most of the time people are sat around doing nothing or visting another camp that is meant to be a village market shopping for things that would actually never be in a village market like a new bill. In that case deceny and socail conventions as they were should be the norm.
So I'm going to agree with both arguments for different reasons and at different times.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:10 am

And as an aside if you are portraying someone higher up the social scale then dressing good all the time is the best way to get richer, pull more women and get invited to the best watering holes regardless of where or what you're doing (Charles the Bold was happy to ruin "most costly garments of clothe of gold including a gown full in length and crusted with gilt at the cuff" helping his soldiers erect a barracade in 1474) which was why some suits of armour were works of art worn as much to show the wearers wealth as to protect him.
Giovanni Medici (of the Black Guard) after a battle against the Austrains was slucied down with water (poured inside his harness as well as outside it), changed his helmet for a borealis and donned an ermine gown and was instantly ready for an evening dinner do with his employers.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Rchave » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:38 pm

I think I can see here a certain amount of difference in view, coming from whether you look at it as a battle re-enactment group or a living history group. With the focus on battle re-enactments, the main spectacle for the public is a big clanky fight... And as we stand around in kit in between, I feel it's my aim to talk to people and explain things about the era as just myself, rather than having a 'character' as such to portray things about the era.

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:A real camp would be set up after a long days march, manhandling carts, livestock, guns, scouting for the enemy or foraging for food, fixing stuff, breaking stuff, cooking, cleaning kit, cleaning your boss's kit, setting up your boss's tent, pitching a bivy (or a tent of your own if you'd clubed together with all your mates to get one). All hard work that falls into the wearing of shirt and braies.
But we don't have that, we have a camp that trys to be a medieval village where most of the time people are sat around doing nothing or visting another camp that is meant to be a village market shopping for things that would actually never be in a village market like a new bill. In that case deceny and socail conventions as they were should be the norm.


The unrealistic setting we have our events in to me suggests that there's quite a bit of license as to how we see it. Some people see the camp as a simulated medieval town, some people see it as a simulated siege camp. I've made the mistake of just assuming the latter, and from that point of view I'm totally in agreement with that whole post. But for those who see it from a more living history perspective, then I think it is more correct then to dress and act as if you are in town, with all the social norms of civilian life in consideration.

So throughout this i think there's the conflict of whether we see our events as a siege camp or a town. Are we portraying roughed up fighters on campaign, or are we demonstrating as fully as possible daily 15th century life? Both views are pretty valid, especially considering how our events can't really be practically set up to be either.

All in all, i'd be happy to be kicking back before battles in just arming doublet, hose, hat and feel authentic enough in the mind of someone who's not presenting themselves to anything but fighting. I'd certainly want to be dressing well and showing status in a more civilian setting though. So maybe the answer to this all along is whether a 'medieval fayre' counts as a military or civvy environment?

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:And as an aside if you are portraying someone higher up the social scale then dressing good all the time is the best way to get richer, pull more women and get invited to the best watering holes regardless of where or what you're doing (Charles the Bold was happy to ruin "most costly garments of clothe of gold including a gown full in length and crusted with gilt at the cuff" helping his soldiers erect a barracade in 1474) which was why some suits of armour were works of art worn as much to show the wearers wealth as to protect him.
Giovanni Medici (of the Black Guard) after a battle against the Austrains was slucied down with water (poured inside his harness as well as outside it), changed his helmet for a borealis and donned an ermine gown and was instantly ready for an evening dinner do with his employers.


And as for that post, certainly if i were rich enough I'd be arrogant and do things like that- there's being rich enough to afford amazing things, and then there's being rich and flash enough not to appear to care about them! (i remember liking seeing a really riculously decorated, gilt harness of tudor armour that looks like parade kit, until you see the massive lance dent on the breastplate- sadly cant remember the reference) The latter bit about Mr. Medici I think is worth a few man points for him. In as many settings as possible, if you've got it, flaunt it, and the arrogance of rich nobility does make me smile cause I think they knew how to be cocky with more style back then.

I think though if you can't afford to flaunt as much, you'd be more careful when to wear the 'sunday best', or even just your smarter outfit...



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:25 pm

Some thoughts and queries:

1. Why do we feel that a 'seige camp' is dramatically removed from 'village life' (appart from the dysentry, obviously). Inspite of the best efforts of the great captains, many armies traveled with a baggage train 2 or 3 times the size of the fighting force. Particularly if you expected to be away from home, many men took wives allong with them (or at least prostitutes) for the company, to look after them (food, wounds, etc) and help them 'unwind' after a stressful day (the church men must have been spinning out of their graves). Once you've settled down for a seige, you tended to get markets and workshops springing up behind the lines because people needed the necessities of life inbetween the dangerous 'climbing the walls' bits.

2. I don't know how much you can compare a modern professional soldier with a medieval fighting man. The best comparison that you can make for most of them is the TA. Most of the soldeirs in the WotR had day jobs and were sent away fighting for a few days every now and then. In reality, they were carpenters, butchers, waiters, dung-gatherers, or whatever.

3. Wearing your arming jack is wearing a coat and is decent wear when you're in a 'dangerous area', such as near a likley battle. It still conforms to the 3 layers rule (shirt, doublet and then jack).

4. Remember that there was no central heating. You didn't want to let your body temprature drop too much after exercise, or you needed to bring it back up again, which was hard work. You will have been used to wearing your coat/jacket most of the time from child hood, while we're used to wandering around the house in very little and letting the boiler protect us from the cold. Obviously this doesn't apply as strongly on a hot day, but if there's doubt, then assume that you'll have not heating tonight.

5. Many of those pictures that look like men walking round in their doublet are actually men walking round in short jackets, over their doublets.

Best wishes


Colin

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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:24 pm

I'm increasingly depressed by this conversation.

[RANT]
We're being driven ever closer to a dogmatic, unflexible viewpoint; a rule that is probably as inaccurately a re-enactorism as ignoring it completely.

Let's forget all the pictorial evidence for a wide range of clothing variations, styles, number of layers and so on, depending on status and the activity being carried out.

Let's forget that generally the weather at re-enactments is warmer than would be typical in medieval illustrations (both because we mostly re-enact one season of four, but also because of lower annual temperatures).

Let's forget that every subtely and nuance of our limited understanding; let's forget the, admittedly unanalogue, parallels we can draw with more recent times that are better understood and documented.

Let's just have a rule.
And why?
Because most re-enactors care much less about history than they claim. They just want to do what they've always done, or what makes them most comfortable or even just what the hell they like.
Because given any excuse or tiny justification at all, they'll make the evidence fit what they want rather than wanting really to be as right as possible.

:@
[/RANT]

And sometimes, I'm probably as guilty as the next person.
:worried:
And that's really depressing.

Sorry. Don't mind me. You just carry on.



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:04 pm

There is no set rule here though Fox unless you are seeing one being present.
I have said that there is room for people dressing down because a camp could be a hive of activity with heavy manual labour going on or a place where people dressed to impress.
That covers just about everything.
I'd also call into question H&S as there have been some events this year that you would have to be daft to wear shirt, doublet, coat and gown at because you'd cook in your own skin.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:11 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:There is no set rule here though Fox unless you are seeing one being present.
I have said ....

Unfortunately, Marcus, I do not feel your point of view to be the prevailing one in the conversation.
I feel that the loudest voices are those at the extremes.

Perhaps it's just me and I'm not in an objective state of mind today.
[Could you pass me my own petard, please, chap? Fuse already lit? Ta.]



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:59 pm

Fox wrote:I'm increasingly depressed by this conversation.

[RANT]
We're being driven ever closer to a dogmatic, unflexible viewpoint; a rule that is probably as inaccurately a re-enactorism as ignoring it completely.

Let's forget all the pictorial evidence for a wide range of clothing variations, styles, number of layers and so on, depending on status and the activity being carried out.

Let's forget that generally the weather at re-enactments is warmer than would be typical in medieval illustrations (both because we mostly re-enact one season of four, but also because of lower annual temperatures).

Let's forget that every subtely and nuance of our limited understanding; let's forget the, admittedly unanalogue, parallels we can draw with more recent times that are better understood and documented.

Let's just have a rule.
And why?
Because most re-enactors care much less about history than they claim. They just want to do what they've always done, or what makes them most comfortable or even just what the hell they like.
Because given any excuse or tiny justification at all, they'll make the evidence fit what they want rather than wanting really to be as right as possible.

:@
[/RANT]

And sometimes, I'm probably as guilty as the next person.
:worried:
And that's really depressing.

Sorry. Don't mind me. You just carry on.



Are you reading my mind? :D


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:09 pm

What should be done is a bit of thinking on the part of the individual re-enactor rather than a hard and fast rule.
I sometimes wear three layers (or even four), but even when I put on my finest it might be only a doublet and hose (albeit an exquisitly cut and hand made ensemble in brilliant white) because that was the norm in Florence for "walking out" (I can providence "being dressed down to the privy member" for manual and field work as noted by pilgrims on their way to Rome). But the cut of my doublet and even the style of my hose would have been a give away to any Englishman of the time that I was not one of them, perhaps the London edicts against men strating to adopt Lombardic fashions was just English youths walking around in a doublet and hose.
A portrayal of a smith or farm hand would be unlikely to follow any rule of 3 whereas anyone trying to pass themselves off as well to do merchants or gentry should do so unless they too are engaged in heavy labour, such as getting ready to fight. That would make more sense then one size fitting all.
I myself would be happy to see people in just doublet and hose rather then the generic belted shirt and breeches for all seasons and time frames that is often prelevent.


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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby guthrie » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:34 pm

I dunno, I thought Marcus, me and Jenn were broadly agreed on it all. You'll have to be a bit more definite, Fox.

(Mind you I'm getting a little fed up of seeing people at WotR events with their doublets hanging down over hose in their shirtsleeves and their hose magically staying up)



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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby narvek » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:45 pm

Fox wrote:[RANT]
Let's just have a rule.
And why?
Because most re-enactors care much less about history than they claim. They just want to do what they've always done, or what makes them most comfortable or even just what the hell they like.
Because given any excuse or tiny justification at all, they'll make the evidence fit what they want rather than wanting really to be as right as possible.

:@
[/RANT]

You're a liberal and I claim my twopence!


Eurototty reporting in for duty!

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Re: the 3 layers rule of mens clothing

Postby Fox » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:24 am

narvek wrote:I claim my twopence!

Sure. You can collect her from Nigel.




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