Just a very quick post showing images of English costume during this transitional period .It’s hard to accurately date some images but unlike the later Tudor era, costume was at this stage more static and changes in style were less rapid so that a period of less than three years either way is rarely as important.It should also be born in mind that there was not an instant transition from one style to another by everyone .
Briefly however I would suggest a Henin ,its the definitive headdress of the medieval era and instantly recognisable .Apart from the headdress common traits are fur trimming at neck and cuffs,high-waisted gowns.
Its important if you can to recreate at least two layers as this much more than detailing gives and impression of accuracy,if you contrast my blue “costume” gown above with the red damask replica you will see that the Damask gown looks much more historically correct.
Medieval gowns didn’t have corsets or stays under them.Support for the bust may have been with a modern bra style garment as one has been discovered dating to the medieval era but was more probably provided by some tightly tailored undergown in the style of the moy gown which supported the bust ,uplift bras and corsets should therefore be avoided.A T shirt with a bust support panel gives the nearest modern equivalent .Its essential to wear some long layer under any gown or the gown will not fall properly or move properly .A modern strappy evening gown or a evening /prom skirt would work quite well.
I will do a post on how to make “Faux medieval garmentsincluding a Henin in the next few weeks)
.For men long loose gowns and Henry Tudor style hats.
I also feel that if the costumes are for wearing in a context were accuracy is less important than perceived accuracy then some account of popular recreations or art should be considered.Its possibly more important in such cases that people believe you have recreated the era than that you do recreate it yet give the appearance you have not.
Mnay people may have ideas based on illustrations from books of hours which are often the source of movie costumes
These are actually much too early but elements such as dragged sleeves or butterfly headdresses could be added to a costume without doing too much violence to accuracy.What should be avoid however are very much earlier styles or those based on pre raphelite or movie images,where the cut and function is completely at odds
If you prefer to be striclty accurate I have complied a slection of original items and medieval images
First extant garments or fragments of garments
The Moy Gown
This was found on a “bog body” from Ireland ,unfortunately it has never been accurately dated but costumers have assigned a date between 1380 and 1500 ,this would probably have been outer wear for lower classes and partial outwear for the upper classes with thwe gown peeping out from under a surcoat or overgown . By the 1500 it would form the base layer for the more complex styles.Its a cotehardie and they are incredibly difficult to make and require good quality fabric.This garment is visible on many tapestries ,tombs etc but a 1490s example can be seen here
The other very famous extant gowns are in one case slightly earlier andin the other slightly later but both show elements seen in gowns of the era and are particularly useful for fabric references
The golden gown of Uppsala .Queen Margret’s burial gown approx date 1410
This is very similar in appearance to the Moy gown and may be useful for considering the cut of under layers but is especially useful as a fabric source.Its not acceptable as an outer layer as its too low waisted .
The gown of Mary of Habsburg 1520
While this seems initially far too late the style of the gown and its cuffs are clearly very similar to those of late medieval /early Tudor portraits and it can be useful for construction tips and valuable as a source of fabrics likely to be used in earlier gowns.Close ups of the gown can be found here
The very common gown for both male and females throughout the medieval period was the houppelande and thought it was theoretically long out of fashion by the 1480s does appear from time to time ,occasionally .In addition it is so firmly linked in the popular mind and in art to the medieval era its useful to have some images of both extant gowns and portraits
The version below dates from approx 1400
By the 1480s this had usually evolved into a more fitted gown,but there are still images showing similar garments being worn
The more fitted version
The image above is particularly useful as its shows all three styles of gown worn simulaitusly,a loose almost houplande style gown ,a fitted gothic era gown and a front lacing transitional style gown.The iamge below shows a back view of the fitted form of gown and an interesting variation of the pointed henin
The gown below is a truncated form of the Henin and the cuffs are again similar to those on the Hapsburg gown.
Another image showing a mix of both houppelande style gown and later gown
This is somewhat outside my area of study so I will only add a few refences
Extant items either from the era of in a style consistent with it
As a basic under tunic this works for many more fitted styles
In assorted lengths this was worn by both men and women , early mens tunics are cut in roughly this shape too
An earlier 1470s image shows how both the long houppeland and jacket could be used as a basis for a later look
Portrait of Richard III showing tunic similare to the extant version and fabric simialre to the Uppsala gown
later altered portrait showing houppeland style over gown/mantle
Three portraits of Henry vii show tunics sleeveless houplenad style mantles and also some later hats
(A very similar fabric to the one above can currently be bought online at around £8 per metre I used it for both the Hnein and damask gown)
Finaly some random less typical images and a couple showing fashions from Italy and Spain
The image above and below are useful as they not only show layers and accessories but I think it likely that not all dresses had sewn in sleeves and sleeves may have been laced on even in many English gowns.Thje gown below is Italian from 1490s
The gown references
Moy gown references