14th c. Men’s Braies

14th c. Men’s Braies

$54.95

    • Based on contemporary medieval artwork(see Historical Inspirations below)
    • Generous, flattering and authentic fit
    • Comfortable and authentic sleep or lounge wear
    • No visible machine stitching with the exception of lace holes and hidden waistband
    • All interior seams finished
    • Cut very full and long enough to keep braies tucked into chauses
    • Please don’t hesitate to email  call or text us(708-502-1937) with any questions about stock or availability.

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About our 14th c. Braies

For the majority of the Middle Ages, the idea of trousers was simply unknown. Rather, men (and possibly women) of all classes wore a pair of baggy drawers under their normal clothing. Laced to these braies was a pair of tight-fitting hose or chauses to cover the legs. Normally made of linen or wool, they are best cut on the bias (diagonal) across the warp and weft to increase their elasticity. While some hose stopped at the ankle, others incorporated feet, and some even had leather soles stitched on to take the place of shoes. These chauses were often further secured beneath the knee with a simple fabric or leather garter. While braies are always depicted as being white, chauses came in a variety of colors.

Our braies are based on surviving historical artwork. Like many other elements of clothing, braies went through some substantial evolution in the late Middle Ages. Artwork from the 13th and early 14th centuries depict massive, voluminous shorts, while by the 15th century, these had been reduced to the medieval equivalent of briefs. Our braies depict a moment in time in this evolution. Made of a stout linen, they are mid-thigh length and full, but trim enough to avoid causing bunching or unseemly lines and bulges when worn under a cotte, cotehardie or gown. Placing the lacing point for the chauses at the drawstring allows them to pull against the hips, reducing the drag on the braies, making sure your pants stay up when you want them to. A final advantage to historical underwear that is often overlooked is comfort. The relaxed fit of the braies is of great comfort when lounging around camp, and in hot weather, the chauses can be rolled down and worn around the ankles, for the medieval equivalent of shorts.

How to point your Braies and Chauses

Our braies are designed to have the chause pointed to the drawstring at the waist rather than the fabric of the braies themselves. This method puts less stress on the the linen of the braies as well as lessening the pull of the chause points on the top of the braies which tends to drag the waist down toward the hips. It also gives you complete flexibility on how high or low you can point you chauses to your braies. When you first get your braies you will need to adjust the waistband to your liking as well as the part of the drawstring which you will use to point the chauses to.
To adjust your braies and chauses: Put on your braies and tighten the drawstring to the point where it feels comfortable on your waist and the fabric at the waist is distributed evenly on all sides, tie it loosely leaving a little slack. Use the slits at the side of the waistband to pull out a portion of the drawstring on each side - this will pull some of the drawstring from the center to the sides, let that happen. Once you've adjusted it so that you have a small loop at each side and it fits comfortably on your waist, you can tie the drawstring in a tighter knot in front. Tie a knot at the base of each loop you've pulled out to keep the loop from retreating back into the waistband. These are the loops you use to tie your chause points to. You can point your chauses to this loop with either a bow or a knot (its show with a bow in the sketch). The loop extending from the braies can be made longer for extra length in the fit of your chauses, or left short for higher fitted chauses. Lastly, once you have the braies waist fitting well, you can trim the extra long drawstring to a desirable length (being sure that you leave enough length to stop the drawstring from being lost in the waistband during washing) and finish the ends with knots to keep it from fraying.

 

Video How To

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Size Chart

Note: Sizing on our Braies is very general because they are such loose fitting garments. In general terms we recommend Small for up to a 44″ waist, Medium for up to a 56″ waist and for those who prefer a looser fit in the waist. In general, the looser, larger fit is better for earlier portrayals while braies get smaller and more fitted toward the turn of the 15th c. The Large usually works better for those with a 48″ waist and above and for larger thigh circumference. Both the Large and the X-Large work well for those who like the very full look, as it is represented in some earlier medieval artwork. All sizes are generously cut in the length so they stay tucked into chauses.

 

 

 

Size Recommended Waist Measurement Ungathered Waist Max Thigh Size Length
Small

up to 44″/112 cm

(or for a slimmer fit)

48″/122cm 24″/61cm 22″/56cm
Medium

44″/112 cm to 56″ / 142 cm

(or for a looser fit)

60″/152cm 24″/61cm 23″/58cm
Large

48″/122 cm to 74″/188 cm

(or for the fullest fit and/or a very gathered waist look)

78″/198cm 30″/76cm 26″/66cm

Only available in White.

For the majority of the Middle Ages, the idea of trousers was simply unknown. Rather, men (and possibly women) of all classes wore a pair of baggy drawers under their normal clothing. Laced to these braies was a pair of tight-fitting hose or chauses to cover the legs. Normally made of linen or wool, they are best cut on the bias (diagonal) across the warp and weft to increase their elasticity. While some hose stopped at the ankle, others incorporated feet, and some even had leather soles stitched on to take the place of shoes. These chauses were often further secured beneath the knee with a simple fabric or leather garter. While braies are always depicted as being white, chauses came in a variety of colors.

Our braies are based on surviving historical artwork. Like many other elements of clothing, braies went through some substantial evolution in the late Middle Ages. Artwork from the 13th and early 14th centuries depict massive, voluminous shorts, while by the 15th century, these had been reduced to the medieval equivalent of briefs. Our braies depict a moment in time in this evolution. Made of a stout linen, they are mid-thigh length and full, but trim enough to avoid causing bunching or unseemly lines and bulges when worn under a cotte, cotehardie or gown. Placing the lacing point for the chauses at the drawstring allows them to pull against the hips, reducing the drag on the braies, making sure your pants stay up when you want them to. A final advantage to historical underwear that is often overlooked is comfort. The relaxed fit of the braies is of great comfort when lounging around camp, and in hot weather, the chauses can be rolled down and worn around the ankles, for the medieval equivalent of shorts.

How to point your Braies and Chauses

Our braies are designed to have the chause pointed to the drawstring at the waist rather than the fabric of the braies themselves. This method puts less stress on the the linen of the braies as well as lessening the pull of the chause points on the top of the braies which tends to drag the waist down toward the hips. It also gives you complete flexibility on how high or low you can point you chauses to your braies. When you first get your braies you will need to adjust the waistband to your liking as well as the part of the drawstring which you will use to point the chauses to.

To adjust your braies and chauses: Put on your braies and tighten the drawstring to the point where it feels comfortable on your waist and the fabric at the waist is distributed evenly on all sides, tie it loosely leaving a little slack. Use the slits at the side of the waistband to pull out a portion of the drawstring on each side – this will pull some of the drawstring from the center to the sides, let that happen. Once you’ve adjusted it so that you have a small loop at each side and it fits comfortably on your waist, you can tie the drawstring in a tighter knot in front. Tie a knot at the base of each loop you’ve pulled out to keep the loop from retreating back into the waistband. These are the loops you use to tie your chause points to. You can point your chauses to this loop with either a bow or a knot (its show with a bow in the sketch). The loop extending from the braies can be made longer for extra length in the fit of your chauses, or left short for higher fitted chauses. Lastly, once you have the braies waist fitting well, you can trim the extra long drawstring to a desirable length (being sure that you leave enough length to stop the drawstring from being lost in the waistband during washing) and finish the ends with knots to keep it from fraying.

Drawing after a detail from the Maciejowski Bible circa 1250 Pierpont Morgan Library New York City, USA

Drawing after the Album of Villard de Honnecourt circa 13th c. Bibliotheque National Paris, France

Drawing after the Maciejowski Bible circa 1250 Pierpont Morgan Library New York City, USA

Drawing after Le Parement de Narbonne circa 1375

Drawing from a details of Grandes Heures de Rohan circa 1415 Bibliotheque National Paris, France

Drawing after an illuminated manuscript circa 14th c. Roy. MS.16 Gvii in the British Museum, London, England

Drawing after an Hungarian illuminated chronicle fol.41 circa 1360 in the National Szchnyi Library, Budapest, Hungary

Here we have an example of Chauses that have been rolled down instead of tied to the Braies. This is often done for comfort due to overheating!

This knight is caught in the midst of dressing. They have donned their gold linen Chauses and white Braies and Shirt. Their waist is belted with a simple brown Belt, and wool Garters prevent their Chauses from falling past their knees.

This gentleman is only partially dressed! He is seen with only his Braies and Chauses! Avert your eyes for the sake of modesty!

Here our Slim Cut Shirt is paired with a set of 14th C. Braies. These undergarments are essential to any outfit of the time!

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