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|
up to 44″/112 cm
(or for a slimmer fit)
44″/112 cm to 56″ / 142 cm
(or for a looser fit)
48″/122 cm to 74″/188 cm
(or for the fullest fit and/or a very gathered waist look)
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.
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