Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just a bit of whinging.

Today's post is brought to you by the letter Y. As in "Y can't I find any good sources of 14th century girdles?" 

I've been getting a more solid idea of who my persona is: a dispossessed noblewomen who has lost her home and lands thanks to heavy taxes and farming out by Richard II to support his wars against Irish rebels. While she now lives in a reduced state, she still has a few nice things.

So I have this parti-colored gown that I have made, in keeping with the fashions of noble ladies at the time, and I want to make a belt (that's a "girdle" in medieval-speak) to go with it. My usual leather belt would be perfectly acceptable and serviceable, but sometimes a girl likes to have a touch of fancy, you know? Let's take a look at the interwebz, I say to myself, and see what we can find in the way of an embroidered girdle.

Why do I get the feeling this is not period?
And I'm here to tell you, folks: not much. Here's what happens when you search Google Image Search for anything including the word "medieval" -- you get a bunch of pictures from summertime Ren Faires (as if the Renaissance weren't a completely different time period!), a heaping helping of costume companies selling "authentic" Lord and Lady outfits (In your choice of colors, 100% cotton!), and some Lord of the Ring fan sites to top it off. Sprinkled in between are a few pictures from crafters' blogs with varying levels of attention to period details, and a handful of museum links to postage-stamp sized pictures.

Replace the word "medieval" with "14th Century" and you lose the LotR sites and half of the costume companies. Google helpfully adds an assortment of scantily-clad women draped over motorcycles, for some reason. Also, apparently there is some medieval-oid computer game that sells outfits/accessories for your avatar, so a series of back-achingly over-endowed cartoon girlies in what I call "wench gear" is also in the mix.

I'm sorry, you're probably saying, I stopped reading back when you said "Ren Faire". Have we gotten to the part about you making a belt, yet?

Right. That. Long story short: the only belts I've been able to find are leather ones similar to what I have only with the inclusion of silver bits, or metal chains circling the hips with a long end hanging down. Reputable sources mention embroidered girdles and ones made from woven or braided cord, but I've had no luck finding any examples.

It's increasingly difficult for me to discern what is actual period style, and what has become acceptable because it's pretty and therefore commonly seen. Any help? If you can recommend a website or book, please let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving your blog, completely unexpected and wonderful! I'll definately be back! So great to reconnect with you.