Monday, January 6, 2014, 1:08 PM
Late 14th century ladies' headdresses – the basics

Many of the haircuts we wear today do not correspond well with medieval reenactment. This is not a problem, even for those not having a waist-long and wrist-thick braids :)

The 'St Birgitta's Huva' or 'St Birgitta's Cap' is a great foundation for many of the 14th century styles (it can be easily found in 13th century sources, too). It is the best substitute for the 'turban'. It's even easier to put on and comfier to wear. The artifact (the real St Birgitta's Cap) is in Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm as far as I know, and it can be found in art made as far from Sweden as Italy. That gives me reason to assume that it was known in most of Europe.
You can find many instructions on how to make a Birgitta's cap on the web, so I will skip that part. Here's just a link to it's most probable pattern (in my opinion):
You can wear it without any cover for most of the time and on informal occasions.



On this pic I look a bit stupid cause I've put on The Cap without a mirror..  


so there's the second photo to show you how it looks when worn properly (on this one I have 2 small cushions which I use when I want to add some volume to my hair – it can be worn without them).


As soon as you stop chopping wood and gutting poultry, you can get yourself transformed into a respectable lady in just a few quick moves ;) All you need is three pins and a round, rectangle or D-shaped veil (I love the D-shaped ones, cause they give you a choice – you can wear it with the straight edge or with the round edge on the front). Just pin it to the Birgitta's cup on the top of your head and on the both sides above the ears and you're good to go :)



The third and the last solution (among the basic ones) is for those who want (or should) look dignified. And still it's much simpler than it looks. First put on the Birgitta's cap. Then prepare the wimple (I use a rectangular kerchief 60 x 75cm). Put the middle of the longer edge on your chin and pin its upper corners to the top at the back of your head (I mean to the Birgitta's cap :) ) – one strong pin should be enough. You can also pin it on the sides above the ears. The rest goes exactly the same as in paragraph 2 – put a veil over it and pin it with 3 pins. Voila! Pretty as a picture :)





I hope that this helps :) Cheers!  


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!


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!


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!



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...