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at this period: "The commons were besotted in excess of apparel, in wide surcoats reaching to their loins; some in a garment reaching to their heels, close before, and strutting out on the sides; so that on the back they make men seem women, and this they call by a ridiculous name, gotcne. Their hoods are little, tied under the chin, and buttoned like the women's, but set with gold, silver, and precious stones. Their liripipes, or tippets, pass round the neck, and, hanging down before, reach to the heels, all jagged. They have another weed of silk, which they call paltock. Their hose are of two colours, or pied with more, which they tie to their paltocks, with white lachets, called herlots, without any breeches. Their girdles are of gold and silver, and some of them worth twenty marks. Their shoes and pattens are snouted and piked, more than a finger long, crooking upwards, which they call crakowes, resembling devil's claws, and fastened to the knees with chains of gold and silver." "Alas!" exclaims another writer of that day, "may not a man see, as in our days, the sinful costly array of clothing; and, namely, in too much superfluity of clothing, such that maketh it so dear, to the harm of the people; not only the cost of embroidery, the disguising, indenting, or barring, ounding, paling, winding, or bending, and semblable waste of cloth in vanity, but there is also the costly furring in their gowns; so much pouncing of chisel to make holes, so much dagging of shears, with the superfluity in length of the aforesaid gowns, trailing in the mire, on horse and also on foot, as well of man as of woman."
The testimony of two writers at the end of the fourteenth century, has fully established the extravagance and splendour of the costume of that time; and it is not to be wondered at that it continued, and even increased rapidly: for Richard himself was fond of the most varied and costly apparel, and, says Holinshed, "he had one cote, which he caused to be made for him, of gold and stone, valued at thirty thousand marks."
Dr. Grey remarks, that "Richard's expense in regard to dress was very extraordinary." In a picture of the king, painted in 1377. he is represented in a robe adorned with white harts and broom pods, alluding to his mother's arms and his own name of Plantagenista.
The gentlemen, like the ladies, besides emblazoning their robes, and wearing them embroidered with precious stones, had letters, mottoes, and various devices worked upon them, and the mantles were frequently "jagged" and "indented." Jackets, cassocks, and party-coloured garments, were also the mode. Sometimes the robe was exactly divided into two colours, or the hose were different, the one leg being clothed in red, the other in blue. The tight sleeves also vanished, and large wide ones supplied their place. "They were called," says the Monk of Evesham, "the devil's receptacles, for stolen goods were easily concealed in them. Some fell to the feet, others swept
the ground, and were full of slashes :" and we are told these wonderful inventions gloried in the euphonous title of Pokys.
At this time, the hair was worn long and curled, the beard large, and the moustaches very thick and drooping. Hats, hoods, and caps were worn. One of the latter was particularly frightful; it rose in an immense cone, and part of the material of which it was composed fell down the back, forming the segment of a circle, the edges retiring towards the temples. This cap, when, as was frequently the case, it was ornamented with grotesque figures of men, women, and animals, and worn with armour, must have had a very ridiculous effect; but the magic name of Fashion overcame all objections that Taste brought forward, and this ugly coiffure was long admired by all.
Double vests were now introduced. The upper one was without a collar, and open down the sides, with large sleeves, and an embossed girdle; and the under garment, or doublet, had very tight sleeves.
Many of the London citizens, at this period, wore their hair short and curled. Their caps were of two kinds; one was tied under the chin; the other had a peak in front, and was turned up at the sides. They also had doublets with sleeves, short coats, with enormous sleeves, collars, and flaps, surcoats, hoods, and scarlet gowns.
Soon afterwards, other caps, round and high, banished those just described. It is said, that among the lower classes, cloth stockings, breeches, and a doublet buttoned in front, were worn. "The vanity of the common people in their dress was so great," says Knighton, "that it was impossible to distinguish the rich from the poor, the high from the low, the clergy from the laity, by their appearance."
Richard, alarmed at the extent to which extravagance in dress was now carried, made various sumptuary laws, but very little attention was paid to them. The crakowes were supposed to be of Polish invention; they were as ridiculous as the choppiness, which, some years later, were imported from Italy."
In the succeeding reign, the cdte-hardie was universally worn by all classes. The gowns had long trains, and the sleeves, which were generally tight, had very small ruffles at the wrist. The girdle rested negligently on one hip, and fell down loosely on the other side, having a jewel or golden ornament appended to it . From the latter hung a chatelaine, or cordeUeVe, curiously wrought in gold and precious stones.
Besides this habit, a long mantle was generally worn, and the ornaments then the mode were rich and beautiful. They consisted of a necklace, composed of four rows of precious stones, and a cross on the bosom; the mantle was confined at the neck with brooches or golden trinkets; and the girdle often hung to the feet, and was terminated with tassels. This costume was altogether a very graceful and elegant one, and, if we except the head-dress, few of the succeeding fashions can be compared with it.
The coiffure to which we allude was not very
• Chaucer's description of the Canterbury pilgrims may be referred to for information respecting the dress of nearly all ranks at the end of the fourteenth century, from the knight to the poor ploughman.
much unlike the pediment of a portico, with two
square horns standing out sidewars from the forehead. It was composed of a variety of materials, generally of silk or fine linen, interwoven in a curious manner with bands of rihand and gold and silver cord; from it was suspended behind, a drapery or veil, edged with embroidery. The hair was seldom seen underneath this mighty fabric Some ladies, however, preferred a crescent-shaped coiffure, with long lappets; some a heart-shaped head-dress; and others shewed their taste by merely confining the hair in a net-work covering, over which was placed a long veil
A French writer of this period severely censures the female costume. He declaims with much eloquence against the quantities of fur employed for trimming the tails of the gowns, the hoods and the sleeves, and laments that the love of useless and extravagant fashions has become so prevalent among the lower classes.
It is stated by authors of the time, that some ladies, not content with the shapes that Nature had bestowed upon them, stuffed their petticoats at the hips, till they resembled the far-famed and much-reviled hoop of later years.
An illumination painted during this reign, represents the gentlemen habited in close gowns, with armholes opposite the elbows; a tight vest underneath, and the dress confined by a girdle, which supports the sword.