Women’s Medieval Linen Surcoat

SKU: 4569HZ-1-1-2-1-2-2.

Women’s Medieval Linen Surcoat

$159.95$209.95

    • Based on contemporary medieval artwork(see Historical Inspirations below)
    • Also available in Wool or Brocade
    • Available in a medieval palette of natural and jewel tones
    • The perfect outer layer for over medieval gowns – flattering and elegant
    • Neck and armhole finished with self bias edge and all interior seams finished
    • Stocked in two sizes (2/3 and 4/5) that coordinates with our gown sizes
    • Can be custom ordered in any color combination as a Parti-colored surcoat +$50
    • If you choose parti-colored option add your color choices in the comments box during checkout
    • 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 Women's Medieval Surcoat

The lady's sleeveless surcoat first appeared during the mid-13th century and was initially similar to the same garment worn by men over their armour. Within a few years a full train was added, Queen Eleanor, wife of Henry III of England, becoming so fond of the fashion that not only did it trail behind her, but the front was equally long, requiring her to carry the front of the surcoat in her hand or risk falling. An etiquette writer of the 13th century advised, "if the lady's feet and ankles be not small and delicate, let their robes fall onto the pavement to hide them; but those whose feet are beautiful may hold up the robe in front, under pretense of stepping out briskly."

By the first years of the 14th century the train had become far more manageable, particularly in the front, and the lines of the garment were further altered by widening and deepening the armholes. These trends continued with the increasing adoption of fitted dresses; by the mid-14th century, versions with and without trains existed, and the armholes had been cut low enough to show the hip belt worn under the surcoat on the gown below, emphasizing the female silhouette. The Church found the new fashion scandalous, some prelates dubbing the garment the "Gates of Hell" in honor of what its gaping sides did not cover. Seeing as the bodice of the surcoat only continued to grow narrower into the 15th century, the Church's concerns seemed to have had little impact on the ladies of high fashion.

Surcoats were made of any variety of fabrics and patterns - from simple linen and wool in solid colors to elaborately patterned silks, velvets and brocades; wealthy women often trimming or lining their garments with fur. Our full-length surcoats are based on historical artwork from the mid-14th century and are made of a mid-weight linen, wool, brocade and velvet brocade with self bias edging on neck and armholes.

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Size Chart

Note: In our women’s clothes we’ve abandoned ‘standard’, modern sizing because it is far from standard, and tends to cause more confusion than provide accurate information. So, please judge your size for this style by your hip measurement. We do not give chest and waist measurements for this item because the large side openings allow for a good fit in a wide range of sizes. Please use the chart below as a guide to judge your size.

Size Max. Bust Measurement Length (from shoulder)
2/3 up to 49″ / 124cm 57″/ 144cm
4/5 up to 65″ / 165cm 57″/ 144cm

Linen:

White, Black, Red, Royal Blue, Burgundy, Purple

Slate Blue, Sage, Dark Green, Oatmeal, Dark Brown, Gold

The lady’s sleeveless surcoat first appeared during the mid-13th century and was initially similar to the same garment worn by men over their armour. Within a few years a full train was added, Queen Eleanor, wife of Henry III of England, becoming so fond of the fashion that not only did it trail behind her, but the front was equally long, requiring her to carry the front of the surcoat in her hand or risk falling. An etiquette writer of the 13th century advised, “if the lady’s feet and ankles be not small and delicate, let their robes fall onto the pavement to hide them; but those whose feet are beautiful may hold up the robe in front, under pretense of stepping out briskly.”

By the first years of the 14th century the train had become far more manageable, particularly in the front, and the lines of the garment were further altered by widening and deepening the armholes. These trends continued with the increasing adoption of fitted dresses; by the mid-14th century, versions with and without trains existed, and the armholes had been cut low enough to show the hip belt worn under the surcoat on the gown below, emphasizing the female silhouette. The Church found the new fashion scandalous, some prelates dubbing the garment the “Gates of Hell” in honor of what its gaping sides did not cover. Seeing as the bodice of the surcoat only continued to grow narrower into the 15th century, the Church’s concerns seemed to have had little impact on the ladies of high fashion.

Surcoats were made of any variety of fabrics and patterns – from simple linen and wool in solid colors to elaborately patterned silks, velvets and brocades; wealthy women often trimming or lining their garments with fur. Our full-length surcoats are based on historical artwork from the mid-14th century and are made of a mid-weight linen, wool, brocade and velvet brocade with self bias edging on neck and armholes.

Drawing after a detail of the painted ceiling in the Hall of Justice c. 1354 in The Alahambra, Granada, Spain

Drawing after an illuminated manuscript Royal MS 19.D.ii circa 1350 in the British Library, London, England

Drawing after a 14th century illuminated manuscript MS Reg.2Bvii

Drawing after a14th century illuminated manuscript Royal MSS 20Cv. in the British Library, London, England

Drawing after a 15th c. illuminated Bible Sloane MS 2433 in the British Library, London, England

Drawing after a detail in the Coronation Book of Charles V of France c.1364-78 in the British Library, London, England

This Royal Lady dons a royal purple linen Surcoat with her red linen Kirtle peaking out beneath and on the sides. She scandalously flaunts her figure with a waist cinching Decorated Belt. A Tasseled Pouch with her coins hangs down and matched with her linen gold Turret Hat. Beneath are her Chemise, linen Stockings, and Ankle Boots.

This Noble Lady welcomes the spring with her golden Kirtle peaking out beneath her dark green linen Surcoat. She pins her linen Veil to her Barbette. Her crowning glory is her black Turret Hat. Beneath are her Chemise, linen Stockings, and Ankle Boots. A vision of spring if ever there was one!

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