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The Peasants Clothing

What They Wore

The clothing of the peasants and other lower class people was usually made of rough wool or linen. Peasant women spun wool into threads and wove cloth that was turned into clothing for their families. Peasants probably had only one set of clothing, two at most. Men wore coarse tunics, and long stockings or leggings. Women wore long dresses of coarse wool, and stockings. Some peasants may have worn linen undergarments to offset the uncomfortable wool clothing. The outer garments were almost never washed, though the undergarments were laundered regularly. Wood smoke permeated the clothes and acted as a kind of deodorant for peasants. The base for the cloth was usually a russet (brown), so most clothing was a fairly drab combination of browns, reds, and grays, with only small variations. Children were dressed as miniature adults. Both men and women wore wooden clogs or shoes made of thick cloth or leather. In cold weather, peasants would have worn sheepskin or woolen cloaks, woolen hats, and woolen mittens to keep out the rain and cold. Many peasants died during the winter months from over exposure to the elements.

Peasant Womens Clothing

From Anglo-Saxon days, the wimple of white cloth furnished head covering for all peasant women until, with chin and forehead bands added, a stiffer style developed. The hair for centuries remained covered by starched linen, whether in the form of wimple, gorget, turban and chin-band, chin clout or mob cap. Aprons, offering space for effective decoration, have been common in all countries. Bone lace and embroidery, products of arts plied by the peasants for centuries, have naturally adorned their own garments.Lace, bandings of bright braid and many buttons, appeared on the costume of French peasants, especially those of Brittany. The smock superseded the more colorful attire. Long cloth capes were much used by men ; even schoolboys playing on the streets of Paris wore them. The dresses of the peasants had many holes and they were strange compared to the clothes we have today. Their dresseswere made of cloth. Sometimes, but not always, the shoes of the peasants were made of bands or of pieces of cloth. Their dresses were very dirty, because they worked all day long. They rarely cleaned their own dresses because they needed to work. When it was winter, the peasants were very cold because their dresses had a lot of holes. They rarely changed their dresses because they didn't have much money for new clothes. Poor peasants, they had horrible dresses and shoes.