Saturday, January 4, 2014, 10:43 AM
Ladies' headdresses – what NOT to wear in 14th and 15th century


These are the evergreens of late 14th and early 15th century reenactment. They have become ubiquitous among reenactors. I don't mean to name and shame nor do I intend to make fun of anyone.That's why the 'bad' examples are presented on me. I have an ambitious plan to present the proper types of headdresses later on/someday :)

To the point.

1. Turban.

That's the most common mistake. Because it's the simplest. 'Chop chop and my authentic headdress is done'. I am not the one to cast a stone. Not more than a year ago I used to wear this little 'beauty' on occasions.. You live and learn.
I haven't seen anything like them in period sources. Yes, there are SIMILAR (that means not the same!) examples of tied kerchiefs but: 1. they are very rare, 2. they occure in quite specific environment usually involving hard labour. When you come to think about it – there is no excuse for it at the events. NO to the turbans!

no1
 

2. Milkmaid.

My observation is that this type of headdress is a favourite amongst young girls with long hair. But again: there is no evidence of it in period sources and absolutely no excuse to wear it. Not even being young and having long hair. It brings to my mind a milkmaid from the beginning of 20th century (and not the real life one but from the movies or cartoons) – that's where the name came from. As it happens long hair can be very helpful while making a proper period headdress and I promise to show you my ideas someday. GO HOME milkmaid!

no2
 

3. Spaniel.

Ok, so we are one step further. We already know that in 14th century women tend to pin they braids in some ways. Voila! - it's done. Well, that's not exactly it. If we went that far, why not to spare few more minutes and take a closer look at the period miniatures and paintings. No woman (no matter if a maid, a lady or a queen of the universe) has her braids hanging lower than 2cm below the chin. And they tend to stick to their temples.
My friend calls this headdress a 'cocker spaniel ears'. And she's quite right – they kinda dangle :) We like spaniels but that does NOT mean we should look like them!

no3

 

These are just 3 out of many examples. Remember that details do matter and even the most authentic headwear can be spoiled by something as simple as bangs sticking out.


To be continued...