What Did the Vikings Wear? Facts About Viking Clothes and Costume

Here are some facts about the clothes worn by Vikings.

What did Viking men wear?

  • Viking men wore a woolen overtunic called a ‘kyrtill’. It was made from several sections of material sewn together. The top of the tunic fitted tightly and the sleeves and skirt were loose.
  • The tunic was pulled on over the head and they usually had high necklines.
  • The neckline and cuffs of Viking tunics were decorated with braid, woven from dyed wool. The wealthiest Vikings may also have used silk to trim their tunics.
  • Viking men also wore an undertunic. This was often made from linen.
  • Several different styles of trousers were worn by the Vikings. In some Viking regions men wore baggy trousers, and in others they fitted more tightly. The trousers were held up by either drawstrings or a belt, and they didn’t have any pockets or zips.
Viking clothing
Viking clothing (Image Source)
  • In some Viking regions leg wraps were worn over the trousers. Made from wool, these wraps were wound round the lower leg and foot.
  • Cloaks, made from wool, were worn as protection from bad weather and the cold. Viking cloaks often hung below the knee.
  • Vikings cloaks were held in place by pins. The simplest pins were made from wood or bone, but rich Vikings would have had ones crafted from gold.
  • Woolen or sheepskin caps were worn in some regions.
  • There is evidence of Vikings wearing woolen socks and mittens.
  • Viking shoes were very simple and made from leather. They were usually ankle height, but some Vikings wore boots which covered their calves.
  • Belts were worn around the tunic. An small objects were carried in leather pouches hung from the belt. Knives were also slung from the belt.

What did Viking women wear?

  • Women wore a linen under-dress. These were usually ankle-length.
  • On top of the under-dress, most Viking women wore a woolen dress. This dress was shorter than the linen one, and it had straps fastened by brooches. It looked a bit like an apron.
  • The brooches were highly decorative.
Viking clothes
Clothes worn by a Viking women (Image Source)
  • Strings of beads (made from glass and amber) were often slung between the brooches.
  • Cloaks and shawls made from wool were often worn over the woolen dress.
  • Like Viking men, women wore belts, but instead of being made from leather they were probably made from fabric.
  • Most Viking women wore headscarves or head coverings. These ranged from the very simple to the very elaborate.
  • viking women wore the same types of shoes as Viking men did.

What did Viking children wear?

  • It is thought that Viking children wore exactly the same types of clothing as their parents.

Other Facts About Viking Clothes

  • Wool and linen were the most commonly used materials.
  • Silks were imported by the very wealthy.
  • Leather was used for belts and shoes.
  • Animal furs (bear, marten, beaver, squirrel and fox) and animal skins were used to make winter clothing.
  • As clothes took a long time to make, they were often items plundered during a Viking raid.
  • Vegetable dyes were used to colour the fabrics. These produced a range of colours including: beige, brown, red, yellow, gold and blue.

What next? Find out more about the Vikings by visiting our Viking resources page.

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