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Fabrics of the brightest and richest colours cost more and were therefore most often found on nobility and the very rich.Brighter colours, better materials, and a longer jacket length were usually signs of greater wealth. Noblemen wore tunics or jackets with hose, leggings and breeches. Women wore long gowns with sleeveless tunics and wimples to cover their hair.Dyes came from different sources, some of them more expensive than others.Even the humble peasant could have colourful clothing.Throughout much of the Middle Ages and in most societies, undergarments worn by both men and women didn't substantially change.
Bolder shades required either longer dyeing times or more expensive dyes.
Wherever it came from, the fabric was so costly that its use was reserved for church ceremony and cathedral decorations.
Muslims, who had conquered Persia and acquired the secret of silk, brought the knowledge to Sicily and Spain. By the 13th century European silk was competing successfully with Byzantine products.
Some of the more complicated men's hats were hoods with a long strip of fabric in the back that could be wound around the head.
A common accoutrement for men of the working classes was a hood attached to a short cape that covered just the shoulders. Benedict stated that a monk's clothes should be plain but comfortable and they were allowed to wear linen coifs to keep their heads warm.Most people in the Middle Ages wore woollen clothing, with undergarments (if any) made of linen.