Friday, April 18, 2008

Focusing on my Head

One of the things I wish we saw more of in the Society is headdress. There are only a handful of time periods/regions that did not embrace the need to cover the head in pre-17th century Europe, so why do we not see more headgear? Part of the reason, I'm sure, is that most people, especially women, think that wearing a headdress beyond the simple veil or coif is impractical. That's true to a certain extent. The largest and most cumbersome of medieval headdresses were worn by upper class women who had little to do in the day, while many the modern medieval woman is a flurry of activity during events. I feel, however, that this is a cop-out. The real reason probably has something to do with patience (or lack there of). Putting one's tresses into a headdress is not a quick task, and when all you want to do is get into the event and start forgetting about the modern world, the task doesn't seem all that important.

However, there are several good, quick, headdresses out there. The french hood, the henin and veil (the henin need not be a mile high), and cauls (whether they are exactly period or not) are all good headdresses that are easy to assemble onto the head and wear throughout the day. In the summer sun, straw hats worn with snoods, coifs or caps are appropriate and period. Even the simple veil can be enhanced with the addition of a fillet and barbette (which is how the veil should be worn to look right- see this article).

I can't speak too loudly here, for I must admit that I don't always wear a headdress. My excuse is that if I'm going to make and wear a headdress, I want to make and wear it right. This means that I need to have good materials- something I am consistently lacking.

But not today! In researching Flemish garb, I decided that my limited sewing skills and lack of sewing machine did not prevent me from attempting to construct an Elizabethan cap. While I am at Coronation this weekend, I intend on hand sewing the cap together. I may do some embroidery on the band first, if I can find my embroidery floss. I will post photos on Sunday if I accomplish this task. The funny thing is that I'll be wearing my new Viking garb this weekend. Talk about anachronistic.

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