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In the 1300s tailoring was invented which lead to the development of the Cotehardie and very tight sleeves fitted to arms and yet very maneuverable and comfortable Because the body of the Cotehardie is fitted to the body of the wearer there was little variation in style but for the hem, collar, and especially the sleeves.
Then after the Black Death (Bubonic Plague 1347-1351) there was enormous socioeconomic upheaval which lead to the development of the Houppelande. An enormously expensive and voluminous garment, although for a long time people wore a Cotehardie under their Houppelande. But still the point was to display ones wealth in sleeves. Yes this is the birth of conspicuous consumption. Though this is a return to the garments like a fabric bag with sleeves and a hole for your head. These "bags" are very big and and like the Cotehardie the only places were there could be much variation was in the sleeves. The body was a big gathered bag, all ways a full length hem for women, For the men the hem could be any were from high on the hips to trailing on the floor, and if its not on the floor the hem could be dagged, Dagges are cut shapes in the hem of the body and often the sleeves too. And so every effort should be made to adorn your sleeves with "as much of your wealth as you can."
| © Ragnar Torfason|
2006 March 28