Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8408
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hughes , Diane Owen.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Regulating Women’s Fashion [Obsession with fashion was not seen as a particularly feminine problem until the twelfth century, when it became common to condemn women for their appetite for fancy clothing. As commerce in cloth increased, excessive clothing became increasingly associated with women. Governments enacted sumptuary laws (specifying what styles and colors of clothes one could wear) in order to fix social rank and status through clothing. Bourgeois women who were able to adopt rich array and change clothes according to recent fashion trends threatened social hierarchies. In the later Middle Ages clothing began to take on new meanings; it was seen not only as a mark of social status but as a sign of virtue or sin. Women often evaded the clothing constraints forced upon them, thereby reordering social distinctions. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: A History of Women in the West. Volume 2: Silences of the Middle Ages.  Edited by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber.  Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.  Pages 136 - 158.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Clothing Consumption Fashion Law Social Class Sumptuary Laws Textiles Women in Literature Women's Status
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: General
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  • Author's Affiliation: University of Michigan
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1992.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0674403711
  • Material/Technique :
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