Costumers and reenactors alike will pore over illuminated manuscripts and extant bits of cloth housed in museums to get the right look. This can be trickier for those folks working on earlier period garb, like our group who, while also flitting about other time periods, works a lot with the 12th century.
To save you, dear readers, time, we have put together a handy guide based on one key observation that we’ve made:
12th century nobles dress like woodfowl.
Don’t believe us? Welp, grab your bliaut hems because you’re in for a treat!
We’ll begin with a simple songbird we all know and love, the robin. Rich golden brown and blue-grey plumage and a chest of eye-popping orangey-red. And our noble nailed it!
The European goldfinch is not a particularly showy bird, but some nobles can definitely pull off the subtle-but-regal look.
And here we have Hildegard von Bingen in all her magpie-inspired glory. Because magpies are awesome and so it Hilde.
And now we come to the birds that the 12-year-old in all of us has been waiting for…tits! We’ve got two tits for you today. The first one, the smaller of the two (they’re always different sizes) is the blue tit. Our noble’s outfit could not be more on point.
It’s the attention to detail that really caught our eye when it came to this great tit – the noble not the bird. The blue stockings deserve a slow golf clap.
The chaffinch may seem an understated and stately bird, but that doesn’t stop our ratite noble from going all out to achieve this feather-inspired fashion.
Surely by now we’ve exhausted our examples. HA! This wouldn’t be A THING™ if there were not a ridiculous amount of evidence to support our ridiculous supposition. So, top off your cuppa because we’re halfway there!
There are few birds as striking as the European starling and nobles never pass up a chance to be striking. Striking deals, striking coins, striking fear…striking a pose.
Sure, you say, but these are not austentatious aves. Well, let us introduce you to the roller. A perfect inspiration for our nature-draped nobbies because they are as graceful as they are gaudy.
True, most nobles tend to find their couture creativity in the more nuanced of nest-dwellers. For instance, the turtledove. It’s all in the contrast and patterns. And an oscine obsession.
Yes, this is good fashion sense. Something basically subtle with dynamic patterning and just the right amount of bling. Like this fairy wren ensemble! Perfection!
Or, not. This guy did not get the subtlety memo and has gone all green woodpecker on us. I mean…It’s a look.
I mean, I guess if you are going to insist on going all out just dress like a pheasant! Pheasant, with a ‘ph’. Not like a peasant. Don’t be ridiculous. (Can we just talk about those chausses for a second though?!)
And now you cannot unsee it. Everywhere you look, woodfowl-inspired haute couture. We bet you are just as shocked as this horse is.
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