Generic - Women
Generic Women's Fashion
Generic kit (sometimes called basic kit) is a term applied to a generic set of clothing that is acceptable throughout Regia Anglorum’s periods of interest and for all the ethnic groupings that we portray. All members should have a set of generic kit available at every event.
Generic kit largely reflects the common style of clothing worn in Britain by Christian women. By simply changing the style of head coving it also serves reasonably for Viking characters as well.
Clothing during Regia’s period largely consists of a woollen or linen ankle length dress and a head covering. For extra warmth or comfort a shift could be worn beneath the dress and a woollen cloak or over-dress could be worn over it.
Other optional items such as shoes, belts or leg wear can also be worn.
|“||…any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.||”|
|St. Paul, Letter to the Corinthians|
All women and girls who have passed puberty must cover the tops of their heads. A simple headscarf is sufficient for “domestic” purposes, such as working around a fire.
However, for “going out” or performing high status activities (such as embroidering or music) a more formal style of head covering must be worn over a cap or scarf. All outer coverings should partially cover the lower neck and breast bone; a good rule of thumb is that they should hide the neckline of the dress underneath and no hair should really be easily visible.
No circlets or bands should be worn over the head covering. Embroidery is for RICH English only and is only found on headbands worn under the head covering. Simple decorative stitching is allowed, but most outer coverings should to be plain and ideally of natural or bleached linen or wool. It is worth noting however that pure white linen is considered RICH.
So basically a lady should wear a head covering consisting of two parts, a base layer that may be a cap, headscarf or headband. Over this should be worn the outer covering of a wimple or veil that is typically pinned in place.
This undyed linen garment is worn under the dress. It can cut in a number of different ways but it is rarely ever seen. In its simplest form it can be a simple tunic shape although sleeveless or longer versions are also fine.
A simple style of dress is worn throughout, coming to the ankle and to the wrist. The cuff of the dress can be either worn tight to the wrist or else loose, showing the cuff of the shift underneath. Neck-holes are either round or oval, and can have a keyhole opening. Decoration, in the form of facings, embroidery or tablet weave, is generally only applied to the cuffs. Dresses are usually made from wool but can also be from linen.
For additional warmth a cloak or mantle can be worn. Cloaks are made from a simple rectangle of cloth. Before AD 980 they are worn by all social classes. After this the mantle seems to be preferred by women of improved status until the late C12th when cloaks come back into fashion. Cloaks must not be lined in a different coloured material.
The mantle is an un-split garment of approximate cone shape, with a hole for the head at the point. It is worn like a poncho, and should reach mid-calf when worn loose. When a mantle is worn, the head covering must sit over it. The front of the mantle may be belted with a wide sash made from the same cloth as the mantle in order to free the arms.
(B.L. Cott. Cleo. F.7v)
Belts, waist ties and sashes
Going without a belt is Encouraged. Tied belts of simple braid or cloth can be worn, but never belts of leather. Cloth or woven sashes worn over a woman’s mantle may be wider.
Ornamental brooches, pins & necklaces
Small delicate dress brooches are also sometimes worn such as the cloisonné brooches or bird brooches.
Delicate pins of bone, copper-alloy or silver were used to help secure clothing especially the head covering.
English women don’t seem to have worn necklaces in Regia’s period of interest.
Pouches & bags
-- This section is also transcluded to page 'Generic - Men'. Please take this into account before modifying. Shoulder bags should be approximately U shaped, closed with a flap at the top and may be fastened with a leather toggle or pin. They can be of wool, linen or leather. Pouches worn at the belt should be no larger than fist sized, and closed either with a drawstring, a flap or a hook of authentic design.
Mittens & gloves
-- This section is also transcluded to page 'Generic - Men'. Please take this into account before modifying. Although we have little evidence for gloves, people did have woollen mittens. These can be made either by nålebinding or from woven cloth.
Shoes & boots
-- This section is also transcluded to page 'Generic - Men'. Please take this into account before modifying. Shoes are of the simple, two-part turn shoe construction and are usually low, coming to below the ankle. These must be made of vegetable tanned leather. Applied soles and heels made from suitable leather may be used to prolong the life of the shoes.
Shoe leather must not be left as 'pink' veggie tan and must be stained brown. It would be unusual for shoes to be any colour other than brown but red dyed shoes are considered 'Allowable'. Shoes must be constructed from a single colour of leather.
Shoes from Regia's period were not closed by laces and front laced shoes are considered 'Unacceptable'. Some shoes were however closed by a single leather lace around topline of the upper (the opening that you put your foot in).
Most of the evidence from Regia’s period points to people mainly wearing shoes rather than boots. Boots are considered to by any footwear that are higher than then ankle. Boots are not considered to be Generic Kit as these are period and ethnically restricted.
-- This section is also transcluded to page 'Generic - Men'. Please take this into account before modifying. People from the period may have generally gone without socks. Woollen socks made using the Nålebinding technique can be worn and the easier to make crocheted socks are ‘allowable’. Tailored sewn cloth socks are also a good option.
Alternative methods of covering the foot include foot wraps or starting the leg binding from the foot rather than the ankle. Trousers with integral feet also achieve the same result.