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About Landsknechts
A Text by R. Turner Wilcox
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This is a slightly modified text from the Wilcox book, edited for ease of the reading, grammar, and space concerns.

Slashings originated in the costumes of the Swiss soldiers after 1477, when they won their battle against the Duke of Burgundy and mended their ragged uniforms with strips of tents, banners and furnishings left behind in the flight of the Burgundians. It became a fashion and was indulged in to the extreme by the Germans, especially the soldiers, mercenaries called Lansquenets. From them, the style passed to the rest of Europe, reaching its height from 1520 to 1535.

All articles of clothing, even gloves, shoes and stockings were slashed and paned, revealing puffings of contrasting fabric and color. The high waistline prevailed in both masculine and feminine dress. Narrow shoulders, a small tight waist and full hips were the characteristic features of the feminine silhouettes while the masculine effect was broad to square ness.

An exaggerated fullness over the abdomen, below the tight waist, was affected by the women. The underskirt was of heavy contrasting fabric and colours either edged with a wide band of embroidery or bands of velvet. Under thats several linen petticoats were worn, The body garment consisted of a shirt.

Under the large hats, men often wore a caps while women wore either caul or cap. Hats were ornamented with jewels, embroidery and that great favorites the ostrich plume. Brims were slashed. instead of a caps the man often resorted to a chin strap or string to hold his hat in place. The string also enabled him to drop his hat to the back of his neck and there the hat was often carried.

Women drew their hair tightly off their faces and invariably concealed it beneath a caul or cap, while men featured theirs in waves and ringlets.

The fronts of shoes were squares of a much broader width than the foot. Daggers, swords and rapiers in ornate cases were suspended from belts. A woman, too, carried a small dagger in company with a decorative bag attached to the end of the girdle. Both sexes wore many rings on various fingers and heavy gold necklaces around their necks. The women used no cosmetics and were not addicted to the use of perfume.

Rich and heavy fabrics, in wool and brocades from the Orient, were used to make the evenly arranged organ-pipe folds of tunic and robe. The supremacy of the English woolen weavers caused the Germans to turn to the weaving of linens and cottons. They produced sheer gauzes, veilings and muslins of exceptionally fine textures.

Wilcox, R. Turner. The Mode in Costume : A history of men's and women's clothe and accessories from Egypt 3000 B.C. to the present (1957). New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958.

Please have a look at some other texts by:
Herbert Norris, Ragnar Torfason

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2006 March 28