Male Clothing IV – The Hose

Dada a extensão deste artigo, achei por bem publicar as versões inglesa e portuguesa em separado. Para a versão portuguesa, cliquem aqui.

Once undergarments had been dealt with, it was time for the fifteenth century man to put on his second layer of clothes: the doublet (for the torso) and the hose (for the legs), which is what will concern us today. Let us see what the typical hose of the period looked like.

Origins & Evolution

To understand how hose came to be, we would have to go back to Antiquity, or maybe before… but we won’t. To understand fifteenth century hose, let’s go back to the fourteenth century.

The word “calças” (“hose” in Portuguese) is derived from the Latin  “calceus”, which meant “shoe” [1], and fourteenth century (male) hose are essentially long socks. They covered the legs from the feet up to the groin – areas not fully covered by contemporary tunics, cottehardies, jackets and robes. Much like socks, they were also separate pieces, one for each leg, fastened to the breeches or an inner belt using a variety of means [2] – most often laces or points [3]. They could have feet or instead be footless, stirrup-style hose. They were normally worn with shoes, though some (usually for the wealthy and fashionable) would feature a leather sole – the so-called calças soladas (chausses solées) [4]. The hose for fashion-savvy would taper and extend forwards, to imitate the Gothic poulaines; and they could also feature different colours and/or materials for each leg, in mi-parti.

Jograis da poesia galego-portuguesa, iluminura do Cancioneiro da Ajuda.jpg
Three musicians in an illustration from the Cancioneiro da Ajuda (end of the 13th century).

From 1370 onwards, as hemlines soared towards the crotch, men (particularly young and noble dandies) were prone to show more and more leg and – to the shock and dismay of the powers that be [5] – glimpses of underwear as well. This led to the invention of a triangular flap of fabric – the codpiece – which would henceforth be incorporated into the hose [6]. The codpiece would be opened and closed using points – much like the points which would now be used to fasten the longer, joined hose (i.e. covering the bottom, hips, and the top of the legs) to the doublet.

MSA1
A group of men of the people in the Manuscrito 1 Série Azul of the Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1334 (c. 1420). Notice the coexistence of both single and joined hose.

Regarding materials, wool reigns supreme, though records of hose made in other fabrics, like silk, do exist [7]. As with doublets, hose could be lined, or half-lined and reinforced, with linen, around the top of the hose and the codpiece. For the wealthier, the hose might be decorated with embroidery and other decorative techniques [8].

Vicente Calças 2
Detail from the Panel of the Prince of the Saint Vincent Panels (c. 1475).

14th century trousers are tight, as are 15th century hose. I can’t stress how skin-tight late medieval hose are meant to be: rich or pauper, the ideal of masculine beauty, evident in late medieval iconography, points to lean legs, fully outlined by the hose [9]. To ensure that they clung to the contours of the leg without ripping or wrinkling, hose were modelled directly onto the wearer’s leg, and the wool was cut across the bias (i.e diagonally in relation to the weave of the cloth), which lent the finished garment added elasticity [10].

The Hose in Portugal

Tríptico_de_Santa_Clara_Sec_XV_Museu_Machado_de_Castro (1)
Santa Clara e o Milagre da Custódia (c. 1486).

Much like doublets, it is tricky to trace specific trends for our period and geographical area. However, our usual sources don’t seem to suggest any particularly Portuguese trends for hose that deviate from how they were built and worn in most European territories, so any good foreign source will be useful in understanding the garment. Going by contemporary Portuguese iconography, however, the most fashionable hose in the second half of the fifteenth century would’ve been red in colour – at least as far as the wealthier classes were concerned. This is confirmed by two of the Saint Vincent Panels (above), as well as the central panel of the Triptych of Santa Clara (right), which shows a soldier wearing a green brigandine with red hose. According to the Pastrana Tapestries, blues (such as the dark blue worn by King Afonso V in the Panel of the Prince), browns, yellows and beiges seem to have been fashionable as well. 

Hose in Reenactment

This is where the shoe pinches. No other garment is as mistreated and disregarded in reenactment as fifteenth century hose. I have made several references to how tight-fitting they were – and yet all around the world so-called reenactors wear them baggy, twisting at the feet, and more wrinkled than a raisin. Particular attention should be paid to the placement and size of the codpiece – decorated and stuffed codpieces belong at the very end of the century, if that -, and tiny codpieces will show way too much underwear and definitely cause some ripping. Well-made and tightly fitting hose cover the legs from waist to foot, without showing either shirt or breeches (except, perhaps, when we bend forward).

And no, single hose weren’t worn because “I am reenacting a member of the lower classes”. In spite of some depictions in art, and a possible comeback in the last decade of the century with calças-bragas, the use of joined hose with a codpiece is essentially universal in the period.

 

[1] Calça [Etimologia]. (s.d.). Michaelis Dicionário Brasileiro da Língua Portuguesa. In Michaelis Dicionário Brasileiro da Língua Portuguesa. Retrieved April 2, 2019, from http://michaelis.uol.com.br/busca?id=d4dV

[2] See Eustace, E. (Last update: 2017). Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .i. : A Survey of Medieval Underwear. Retrieved from http://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear1.html

[3] Oliveira Marques, A. (2010), p. 56. 

[4] “These footed hose would have been more substantial, with leather soles attached by stitching. Soles were added to hose by shoemakers”, in Coatsworth, E. and Owen-Crocker, G. (2018). Clothing the Past: Surviving Garments from Early Medieval to Early Modern Western Europe. Leiden, Boston: Brill, p. 274. See also também Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit., p. 56. 

[5] “The disclosure of the hose, converted into important pieces of  masculine dress as tunics became shorter, took place in the second and third decades of the fourteenth century. Nobles and commoners began to appear publicly with their legs exposed, to the considerable scandl of “serious people”. (…)”, in Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit., p. 56.

[6] Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit., p. 58.

[7] Not always successfully. See the footnote in page 56, in Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit.

[8] Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit., pp. 56-58.

[9] See Madrazo, C. (1979). Trajes y modas en la España de los Reyes Católicos: II, Los hombres. Madrid: Instituto Diego Velázquez, p. 67.

[10] Regarding the tailoring of hose, see for example Crowfoot, E., Pritchard, F. and Staniland, K. (2006). Textiles and Clothing, C.1150-c.1450. Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer, pp. 185-186. Archaeological evidence is, unfortunately, rather scarce.

[11] See Madrazo, C. (1962). Indumentaria española en tiempos de Carlos V. Madrid: Instituto Diego Velázquez. Oliveira Marques states, however, that calças-bragas weren’t very popular among us (Oliveira Marques, A., op. cit., pp. 58-59.).

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Coatsworth, E. and Owen-Crocker, G. (2018). Clothing the Past: Surviving Garments from Early Medieval to Early Modern Western Europe. Leiden, Boston: Brill

Crowfoot, E., Pritchard, F. and Staniland, K. (2006). Textiles and Clothing, C.1150-c.1450. Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer

Madrazo, C. (1979). Trajes y modas en la España de los Reyes Católicos: II, Los hombres. Madrid: Instituto Diego Velázquez

Madrazo, C. (1962). Indumentaria española en tiempos de Carlos V. Madrid: Instituto Diego Velázquez

Oliveira Marques, A. (1971). Daily Life in Portugal in the Late Middle Ages. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press

Sequeira, J. (2014). O Pano da Terra: Produção têxtil em Portugal nos finais da Idade Média. Porto: U. Porto Edições.

VISUAL SOURCES

(ca. 1475). Siege of Asilah [wool and silk]. Tapestry. Pastrana: Parish Tapestry Museum. Retrieved from http://tapestries.flandesenhispania.org/index.php/Siege_of_Asilah_(Cerco_de_Arcila)

(ca. 1475). Disembarkation in Asilah [wool and silk]. Tapestry. Pastrana: Parish Tapestry Museum. Retrieved from http://tapestries.flandesenhispania.org/index.php/Disembarkation_in_Asilah_(Desembarco_en_Arcila)

(ca. 1475). The Taking of Tangier [wool and silk]. Tapestry. Pastrana: Parish Tapestry Museum. Retrieved from http://tapestries.flandesenhispania.org/index.php/The_taking_of_Tangier_(Toma_de_T%C3%A1nger)

(ca. 1475). Assault on Asilah [wool and silk]. Tapestry. Pastrana: Parish Tapestry Museum. Retrieved from http://tapestries.flandesenhispania.org/index.php/Assault_on_Asilah_(Asalto_de_Arcila)

Anonymous (ca. 1486). Santa Clara e o Milagre da Custódia [oil and tempera on wood]. Coimbra: Museu Nacional Machado de Castro. Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Tr%C3%ADptico_de_Santa_Clara_Sec_XV_Museu_Machado_de_Castro.jpg

Cancioneiro da Ajuda (end of the 13th century). Lisboa: Biblioteca do Palácio Nacional da Ajuda

Crónica Geral de Espanha de 1334 (ca. 1420). Lisboa: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, Manuscrito 1 Série Azul

Gonçalves, N. (ca. 1470). Saint Vincent Panels [oil and tempera on wood]. Lisboa: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. Retrieved from https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painéis_de_São_Vicente_de_Fora#/media/File:Lagos40_kopie.jpg

ONLINE SOURCES

Eustace, E. (Last update: 2017). Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .i. : A Survey of Medieval Underwear. Retrieved from http://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear1.html

 

 

 

 

 

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