Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Medieval Accessories

You can get nice dresses and tunics for the wedding for both guests and yourselves but what really makes it all come togehter are those little details that, unfortunately, also can be very costly. Still if your guests aren't crazy about spending a lot of money on a one night costume (understandable), they can still find some of these accessories in a modern form. A medieval bride will most likely love shopping for shoes and jewelry as much as the classic bride. You don't need to find all of the items listed below, but even one or two might help you get more into the medieval spirit.

Most of these items should have an entry of their own (and may still get it) but for now a list an examples should aid in creating a wholesome look. Prepare for a looong entry :-).

From the danish medieval shop:

The belt:
Both men and women wore belts for decorative and funktional purposes. A warrior would fasten his sword to his belt, a merchant his leather pouch and a woman her bag of everyday tools, her eating knife, needle and so on. The fashion changed it as does today, but you can't go wrong with a long leather belt with the end hanging down. In sted of a belt a woman would also often wear an apron.

From DaisyViktoria

The girdle belt was a decorative women's belt that could be made from metal or fabric. In the English Tudor periode the belts became very elaborate and rich with pearls and precious stones. But in medieval times they where simpler. As with many of the accessories you could see whether the owner belonged to a noble's or a peasant family. The later's belt would consist for example only of leather and a simple buckle while the wealthy men and noblemen would have additional decorative metal rivets of gold or silver.

Middelaldercentret Falster

The shoes:
These may be hard to find in replica without spending quite a bit of money but luckily the medieval shoes weren't so complicated and you can easily find someone that looks the part. As long as they are made of leather you will already be halfway there. The men and women's shoes look very much the same. Before the 13th century these long toed shoes were popular and could sometimes be seen in insane shapes, such as the fish tale. The picture below is from, where you can read a lot about medieval shoes and get some help to make some yourself.

The purse:
Most people would have a purse or pouch in their belt to carry things like utensils, coins or other small necessities at the time, even the men. The fine ladies would have silk pouches vowen in pretty colors while others were made to last through a more intesive use and therefore constructed in leather.  

It shouldn't be too hard to find some little pouch you can use for this purpose, and you could even make it yourself. Lots of medieval shops sell these sort of bags in leather too.

The hat:
I have already posted an entry on some of the many female headdresses of the periode and the men's hats are still to come. Suffice to say that depending on what part of the middle ages you have chosen to act out in your wedding there are many different hats to choose from. So google away or wait for the next entry about hats. The women would wear something over their hair once they were married such as a veil. To give you an idea of the complexity and variation here's a little collage:
Also a nice overview of the English fashion development through the Middle Ages

The weapon:
I would like to mention that you should check your country's laws on carrying things like swords and knives on you on your wedding day. In Denmark it is forbidden, without police permit, to carry any blade longer than 7 cm. But if you have that in order you could really make the costume great by having a long sword or a knife attached to your belt.

The jewelry:
This is a subject I would also prefere to post a seperate entry on. It's hard to give any generel advice because like with the hats there are so many different rings and pendants. A pendant in shape of a cross is alsways usable. I have replica of the Dagmar cross found underneath a dansish church and allegedly belonged to a danish medieval queen. Another common piece are the rosaries. A lot of the jewelry from the period is religious like the brooch/ pendant called God's Lamb. Rings with small hearts and hands were common as a token of betroel from 1200 - 1500.

The cloak:
A cloak is easy to make or cheap to buy and if you don't want to get all dressed up, a cloak can be all you need. I would suggest that you use it in spring, fall or winter, because cloaks do actually keep you nice and warm, so it might kill you to wear it in the summer. The cloak can be a simple half circle of fabric or it can be a detailed piece of clothing with a hood, metal clasps and lined with fur. It's also a simple thing to make yourself.

Other fun stuff:
Finally I would like to suggest some other fun elements you can find and add to you costume:
  • A bottle of mead and a drinking horn - for the town's likable drunk
  • Medieval hand cuffs - for the sheriff
  • Pouch of herbs - for the Wise Woman
  • Golden chocolate coins - for the wealthy merchant
  • Leather gloves - for the hunter with his falcon
  • Bells - for the musican
  • Bone cubes - for the gambler
  • Comb, needle - for the seamstress
  • Feather pen - for the scribe
  • Balls - for the juggler
  • Bibles -  for the munks

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