- 15th Century Fashion -

NB: The dolls used here to illustrate 15th century fashion are by Kate's late mother Jill Bennett, they are not available for sale.

Reigning Monarchs

Henry IV - 1399 to 1413
Henry V - 1413 to 1422
Henry VI - 1422 to 1461
Edward IV- 1461 to 1483
Edward V - 1483
Richard III - 1483 to 1485

Henry VII - 1485 to 1509


A Nobleman

Above, this Nobleman is wearing a pair of 'Crakow' shoes the length of the toe points (called poulaines) were indicators of his social status. Toe lengths were tightly regulated from 75cm for a prince, 45cm for a knight, down to yeoman farmers who had to be content with just 15cm. His long tailed hat is called a chaperone.


A Gentleman

The extravagant conical headdresses are said to have been inspired by the 'boghtaq' headgear of Mongol warrior queens. Marco Polo brought at least one 'boghtaq' back from his travels and the fashion took off. The tall conical spires or hennin were very popular, the version shown here using twin conical shapes is called a rams horn.


A Lady with rams horn headgear


Below, are two Liverymen, the first has a leather apron. Liverymen were members of a livery company and freemen of the City of London. In London's streets those working in the same craft found advantages in living and working near each other, grouping together to regulate competition within their trade and maintain high standards. Some guilds introduced their own distinctive clothing or livery to distinguish their members from those in other guilds, soon they became known as livery companies.


Liveryman with leather apron Liveryman with decorated cuffs


Below, the costume of the lower classes changed imperceptibly over the century and in no way reflected the high fashions of the court and prosperous merchant class.


A Baker and his son


Below, The piper with his recorder has added feathers to his cap. A bunch of small feathers were often added at the knee, especially towards the end of the century when showing more leg became the fashion for men.


The piper

Dolls and top-head illustration by: Jill Bennett (1934 - 2019)