Symbolic Headgear and Fashion in Medieval Times

Medieval Clothing Hats

In the medieval era, your headgear did more than just protect your head from rain and sun. It was a symbol of your occupation and rank.

For example, the hennin style of female hat was known by many different names including the escoffion, double-horned hennin and heart shaped hennin.

Flat Cap

A rounded cap with a small stiff brim in front, the flat cap was a staple piece of everyday apparel for lower class men. It acted as more than just a hat – it was an emblem of their work ethic and down-to-earth attitude.

While it might not seem as stylish as the flat caps worn by David Beckham, this style of hat dates back centuries. It was the default head covering for the majority of the lower classes in England, Ireland, and northern and western parts of Scotland.

Peasant men also wore leather hooded cowls and caps. These were made of leather that came from the skins of animals raised on farms or hunted in the woods. No part of the animal went to waste in medieval times, and this material was used for clothing, tools, and food.


The coif was a close-fitting cap worn by both men and women during the medieval period. It covered the top, back and sides of the head, but was not designed to cover the ears. It was usually made of linen and worn tied under the chin. For upper-class wearers, silk was also used.

In the early medieval period, the shape and color of hats was often a sign of the wearer’s occupation. The hats of the commoners were very simple, while those of the nobility were elaborately decorated and reflected their social status.

In the fourteenth century, mail coifs became increasingly popular as a form of protective headwear. The laced coif was a good defense against missiles and could be connected to a hauberk to offer full protection of the throat. This hat was very expensive and a symbol of high status, as well as of military service. It was created using a 4-to-1 pattern and alternated rows of solid rings with those that were closed.


Authentic medieval clothing and renaissance headwear made in cotton for reenactors, LARP groups, living historians and medieval themed events. Authentic hoods and capes, too.

During the early and middle medieval times, hats were used mostly as functional apparel, providing warmth and protecting from the sun and rain. But as the economy improved in the late medieval period, hats became a fashion accessory that reflected a person’s social status.

The most basic hat for men was the coif, a linen cap that tied under the chin to keep hair clean and warm while working on the fields. But women also wore a variety of hats, from turbans to tall, pointed hennins and even simple linen wimples. The hats of the nobility differed by shape and color, reflecting their occupation or their place in society. They were often adorned with lace or other ornaments and sometimes included a veil. Unlike the peasant’s hats, which were worn daily, the hats of the nobility were typically reserved for special occasions.


The liripipe was a long extension of the hood. It appears to have been popular between the mid-14th and the end of the 15th century. It may have been used to display status as the length of a liripipe could be as long as desired and was a good way to show off wealth.

This type of hood is often found with a chaperone, but it can also be worn as an independent headpiece. It is a very decorative piece with a long peak that may be adorned with jewels.

The two gentlemen on the right are wearing houppelandes that exhibit new fashion trends of the 15th century. They both have slashings in their sleeves that may be functional or purely decorative. Their shirts have magyar or dolman sleeves that are fitted from the elbow to the wrist and gently curve up toward the torso under the arm instead of creating a straight angle like a “T” shirt.

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