In the Middle Ages, the well-dressed (and well-behaved) lady did not run about town with her head completely uncovered like a maid. Even if she decided to forego any sort of elaborate headdress, she would be adorned with the simple veil. Throughout the period veils came in both oval and rectangular configurations, which could be worn in a wide variety of ways – both alone or with wimples, barbettes, or any number of different headdresses and hats. We have replicated both shapes in white linen, and generously sized them to create an elegant, flowing look. For more formal wear, and in order to secure the veil to your head, we offer both a barbette and a wimple. The barbette’s origin has been attributed to Eleanor of Aquitaine in the mid-12th century, and was a simple band of cloth used to secure a veil or hat, worn vertically around the head and fastened closed with a pin. It remained in use into the 14th century. The wimple also developed in the 12th century as a way to conceal feminine charms, and was adopted by both modest and fashionable women. Although less ubiquitous by the 14th century than in earlier centuries, the wimple remained a common piece of female attire throughout the period, and was a natural way to attach the veil. Our wimple has a smooth, elegant line that frames the face, and is specifically designed to be integrated with our veils. It can be worn to completely conceal the hair or not, as you choose. We have made all these items out of lightweight linen for comfort, even during the heat of summer.
Drawing after a detail in the Cathedral Treasure circa 1300 Minden, Germany
Drawing after a circa 1270 statue in the Cathedral in Rheims, France
Drawing after a brass of Lady Alyne de Creke in Westley Waterless Church, in Cambridgeshire, England