A Peasant Shirt That’s Ready For Adventure?
Cries from the valley below are quickly followed by smoke, as the attackers burn the huts used to shelter from the midday sun. They’re almost upon you, these raiders from the north, shouting and laughing in their harsh guttural voices. To your surprise, fear isn’t the first emotion you feel. It’s anger. You’re furious that these men think they can come down here and take whatever they please.
You step from the forge, huge smithing hammer in hand and start for the valley. In your white peasant shirt, you’re not quite dressed for battle but years swinging a blacksmith’s hammer have left you with the neck and shoulders of a young bull. The first raider stops in his tracks as he rounds the corner of the granary and locks eyes with you. Clearly, he is used to people running the other direction. You give him no time to think, rushing forward and crushing his skull with a single blow from your hammer.
This example of medieval tailoring is amongst the most versatile on the market. Not only is it a historically accurate, realistic-looking undergarment for just about any fantasy roleplaying idea – it’s also unisex. This feature is actually based on real, historical examples of medieval clothing, some of which survive to this day. The evidence shows that in many cases, the basic cut for men and women was largely the same for many kinds of garment. The gender-centric division of clothing types wasn’t as prevalent in the Medieval Period as now – both people and clothing were highly adaptable.
Classic Styling For The Middle Ages
So, what we have here is a classic, medieval peasant shirt, suitable for both men and women, and in truth, an undershirt for just about anyone roleplaying in a fantasy setting. It can be worn on its own, or with subsequent layers on top. It closely resembles the kind of cotton undershirt that a variety of people wore under their woollen outer garments or a base layer worn under a variety of armor types. The wide-cut sleeves fall to open cuffs which can be secured with laces.
Practicality In The Middle Ages
Many peasant shirts for sale are over the top in their presentation of medieval clothing. Not this example. Integrated laces, easy to roll up and secure in warm weather and an overall understated, utilitarian look make this look like a practical garment. A straight cut across the shoulder and stand-up collar complete the top half of the garment. The hem of the shirt drops much lower than what is seen today. This helped to retain core body heat and meant the shirt could be adjusted to fit someone else in future.
What Role To Play?
Considering it was designed as unisex and has an archetypal look, it’s no surprise that we can picture this shirt on a broad range of characters from Princess Cirilla of Cintra to Elric of Melnibone. It fits in both gritty and high fantasy and could also work in a variety of historical reenactments.
In Historical Context
Though this shirt represents medieval underwear, it wouldn’t have been strange or rude to wear without subsequent layers in hot weather or during strenuous activity. Farm labourers, fishermen, and builders would roll up their sleeves, remove their belts, and loosen their laces on a hot day, allowing the breeze to circulate under the loose, cool fabric. This was one way that cotton was (and still is) superior to wool – which clings to the skin when wet and increases body temperature. The lace-up sleeves and neck of this shirt facilitate these changes easily.
Laws That Created Simple Clothes
In England, from the reign of King Edward III in the middle ages, laws existed which dictated what colour, type of clothing, furs, fabrics, and trims people were allowed to wear according to their social status and income. The reason stated may have been to regulate the balance of trade in a market new to importation with an expanding middle class, but the results were likely sensible, modestly-cut clothing like this medieval cotton shirt. This white peasant shirt was unlikely to upset anyone’s sensibilities.
Why This Change?
It wasn’t as simple as just wearing what you could afford. The ruling class feared that if a commoner grew wealthy enough to dress in clothing as ornate and exotic as the nobility, social order could disintegrate. They felt that one of their ways of distinguishing themselves from the bourgeoisie was under threat. One of the earliest examples of sumptuary law in England was a prohibition on wearing fur by anyone lower than the status of lady or knight.
Colour: Peasant shirt is available in off-White and black
Material: Peasant shirt is 100% Cotton
Size: S – 3XL