In Medieval Europe, different people had clothing based on their rank in society, or their social class.
In Medieval Europe, the queens and kings had the nicest outfits money could buy. Made with lincoln scarlet, kersey, russet, burnet, perse, damask, chalons, and sandal, these outfits were comfortable, stylish, and were sure to make an impression on the lower class in the kingdom. The upperclassmen were rich enough to have people make their clothing for them. Tailors made clothing for the upper class. Some would travel across many countries just to deliver an undergarment on time.
Queens and kings would wear bright, colorful, and vibrant clothing, full of shape and character. They would be long, because longer clothes would symbolize their reign over the social structure. Women would have long dresses or gowns in lively colors. Accompanying these dresses were tall headdresses, usually shaped as butterflies or hearts, though there were some beautiful Italian designs as well. Every woman would wear pointed shoes. Pointed shoes were especially important to women, as they are now, but for different reasons. In Medieval Europe, the pointier the shoe, the more important a woman was, and the more they mattered in society. This is why everyone, not just royalty, tried to have nice shoes. Men, and kings, did not worry much about shoes, but they did care about how they looked. This, was to intimidate the lower class. For men, the longer the coat or jacket, the more important they were. Along with these, they wore hose, or fancy pants, with fancy designs on them. This outfit was topped off with a nicely sewn tunic of a nice color. Upperclassmen were always the best groomed in the kingdom, because they never had to work.
Since all knights were noblemen, they had nice battlewear and everyday wear. In medieval times, knights used to wear protective battlewear during battle, and fancy clothes away from it. All knights wore the same things, and this might have been a way for people to recognize them as fighters for the kingdom. Knights usually wore long tunic, with a stiff belt around it. On the tunic was a red cross and a sword. This was usually across the front. This outfit was finished with some chainmail pants.
Holy Orders (Priests and Those Who Worked in a Church)
In the Middle Ages, even the most religious people had their own styles, some of which are similar to the ones today.
Most priests, friars, and nuns would wear cloaks or habits. They always had something to cover their heads with.
There were two specific types of religions: Benedictines and Cistercians. Cistercians would wear white or colorless, comfortable wool. Benedictines would wear black clothing, which was usually very comfortable, too. They wore black clothes because this was a way to tell them apart from Cistercians. Also, St. Benedict said they should wear black clothing. They were usually made of linen. St. Benedict once said that monks should wear simple and warm clothes, with a linen coif or hood to cover their heads for warmth.
A merchant's clothing was based on how wealthy he or she was.
Wealthy merchants usually had clothes not as fancy as noblemen, but definitely nice. A merchant became wealthy based on how well he sold things. If he was successful and rich, he could afford nicer clothing. A wealthy merchant would have clothing that was intricate and detailed in it's details. Some designs could be beaded, and the clothes would be more colorful or have a picture on them.
When first born, babies were wrapped up in linen or flannel, which was most comfortable for their sensitive skin. As they grew up and became children, young teenagers, teenagers, and adults, their outfits gradually changed. Different fabrics usually symbolized the child growing up. They could have gone from linen, to cotton, muslin, or silk depending on how rich or poor they became. Boys wore a doublet, skirt, and a coat. A girl would wear a bodice that fastened at the back. A doublet was a tight fitting jacket that either did or did not have sleeves. A skirt was an open piece of clothing that fell from the waist or hips. A bodice was a tight-fitting top that was laced up at the back. When an adult, their clothes would represent what they are, if a queen or king or a peasant.
Women of the middle class had moderate clothing.
Married women and unmarried women had some differences in how they dressed. Married women would wear tight hats over a small bun, but unmarried women would wear their hair down or braided, covered with a veil. This might have been a way to tell men that they were married or single. Aside from that, the women would either wear a tunic or a small dress, usually handmade from linen or cotton.
Men of the middle class were usually successful workers, such as shoemakers or manor owners.
The shoemakers would wear soft coats with soft, fluffy sleeves. Manor owners wore felt hats, brown coats, and stirrups daily. These outfits were, homemade, comfortable for a hard day's work, yet likely to make a good impression on someone or thing. This was important to the middle class men, who wanted to make a fine impression on those single ladies mentioned above.
Peasants always had the worst clothes.
In Medieval Europe, peasants had simple clothing, such as linen shirts, pants, and straw hats. They would wear tunics with slits in the side, so that working in the field was easy. Despite the fact that they were very poor, peasants always had a pair of nice clothes to wear to church every Sunday. Their clothes were always shapeless and colorless; they were brown or gray. This could have been that peasants rarely washed their outerwear.
They also made little trinkets and amulets for good luck. Since the peasants were busy trying to earn some money, they did not bother to try to impress warlords with fancy clothes. Sometimes, to make money, they would sell homemade clothes on the street.