Gaelic clothing and fashion


Gaelic clothing and fashion

Despite common misconceptions, the common clothing of Gaels in the Middle Ages was not that of a kilt, especially as we know it today. Clothing generally consisted of a "léine" (a knee-length shirt, sometimes dyed with saffron), a "brat" (a very short cloak or mantle with plaid or other coloration), a belt, and sometimes brac or trews (tight trousers).

Variations

Additionally, various types of coats, such as the padded "ionar" (pronounced "Ōnar" or "Īnar" depending on region), robes, boots, and shoes were worn. There is evidence of the belted plaid (the precursor to the modern kilt) being worn in the Middle Ages, certainly by the 16th century. What women wore is less known; it is often suggested that it was similar, though "dresses" existed, though these may have just been female versions of robes.

ocial station

Trews or trousers were not often worn by the middle nor upper classes, being considered more appropriate for the poorer classes. As well, they were often worn by soldiers in warfare, especially cavalry, since trews enabled them to better straddle a horse. Additionally, colors on one cloak were limited to type and number by one's station in society; the more colors, the higher one's station. The aristocracy also had a habit of wearing artfully decorated robes, and most middle class and higher also wore a variety of both simple and complex jewelry, featuring various precious and semi-precious stones.

Hygeine and appearance

Cleanliness was extremely important to Gaels. They bathed daily and made it a habit to remove their body hairFact|date=November 2007, to make themselves easier to clean. Facial hair often consisted of only a mustache, but different styles of beard were also worn. Indeed, it was dishonor for a Gaelic man to have no facial hair. Hair was worn long and styled with braids, or styles similar to cornrows, or other elaborate hairstyles that probably took a bit of practice to develop, including the glib (a bald head except bangs covering the eyes, often worn with a mustache. The style was common to Hebridian Gaels) as was a Mohawk style as worn by the Irish bog mummy Clonycavan man.


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