What Did The Anglo-Saxons Wear? Facts About Anglo-Saxon Clothing

Here are some facts about Anglo-Saxon clothes.

  • Wool, linen and silk were the only materials used in Anglo-Saxon clothes. Silk was expensive and worn only by the rich, while most peasants could afford to wear linen and woolen clothes.
  • A knee length woolen tunic was the most common garment, and many very poor people could not afford to wear shoes or trousers.
  • Soldiers wore long coats with chain mail attached to them. Metal collars were worn for extra protection during the 9th and 10th centuries, and weapons were decorated with jewellery.
  • As Christianity became popular throughout Anglo-Saxon Britain, it was thought that women should have their heads covered. Plain or embroidered veils were popular, which often reached down to the ankles.
  • The most common Anglo-Saxon clothes for women were black or brown woolen gowns. All women wore some type of head covering, but many did not wear shoes until the later Anglo-Saxon period.
  • Women’s clothing styles also changed as Christianity spread across Britain from the 6th century onwards. Clothing styles also varied between different parts of the country, often based on the climate.
  • Earrings were popular, often made from precious materials, such as pearl, crystal or garnets. Most people did not wear any rings on their fingers, and women did not wear much make up.
  • Belts and belt buckles were important elements of Anglo-Saxon clothes, especially for men. Belts were usually made from leather and often had decorative items or tools hanging from them.
  • Jackets became popular around the 7th century, made from fur or linen. Shoes and socks became popular too, and socks were worn over longer stockings, by rich and poor people.
  • Several UK museums have collections of Anglo-Saxon clothes and artifacts, including the Ashmolean in Oxford and the Museum of London. The Ashmolean also displays accessories such as combs and belt buckles.

What next? Check out some Anglo-Saxon jewellery facts, or visit our Anglo-Saxon resources page.

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