interesting information about Medieval Clothing, specifically Medieval Hairstyles,
ideal for research into Medieval Costumes
- the Normans
The famous Bayeux Tapestry
illustrates the distinctive hairstyles of the Normans. The hair was cut
short and the sides and the back of the head was shaved.
- Medieval Women
The hairstyles of Medieval women
changed with their fashions during the Medieval times of the Middle Ages
Hair was first
long and flowing and clearly visible
Long Plaits then
came into fashion
Hair was then
hidden from view under the style of headdress called a
changed and coiled buns were displayed on each side of the
parted in the middle was on display on the front of the
head, above the forehead. The remaining hair was hidden by a
Monks and Nuns
A nuns hair was roughly
shorn and her head, and any remnants of hair, was hidden
from view as the nun's head was covered by her wimple or
veil. All Medieval
monks in Medieval Times were clean shaven. They were distinguished by their
partly shaven hair called tonsures. Their hair was shaved
except for a narrow strip round the head. Tonsures were a
symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.
A tonsure might also indicate that a monk had received
The following paragraphs describes Medieval Hairstyles
- the Early Franks hairstyles
description given of the Franks by Sidoine Apollinaire, who says,
tied up their flaxen or light-brown hair above their foreheads, into a
kind of tuft, and then made it fall behind the head like a horse's tail.
The face was clean shaved, with the exception of two long moustaches.
They wore cloth garments, fitting tight to the body and limbs, and a
broad belt, to which they hung their swords."
"more than once the Franks doffed the war coat and
the leather Belt, and assumed the toga of Roman dignity. More than once
their flaxen hair was shown to advantage by flowing over the imperial
mantle, and the gold of the knights, the purple of the senators and
patricians, the triumphal crowns, the fasces, and, in short, everything
which the Roman Empire invented in order to exhibit its grandeur,
assisted in adding to that of our ancestors."
"The hair is never cut from the heads of the Frankish kings' sons. From
early youth their hair falls gracefully over their shoulders, it is
parted on the forehead, and falls equally on both sides; it is with them
a matter to which they give special attention." We are told, besides,
that they sprinkled it with gold-dust, and plaited it in small bands,
which they ornamented with pearls and precious metals.
Medieval Hairstyles -
Hairstyles and Status
Whilst persons of rank were
distinguished by their long and flowing hair, the people wore theirs
more or less short, according to the degree of freedom which they
possessed, and the serfs had their heads completely shaved. It was
customary for the noble and free classes to swear by their hair, and it
was considered the height of politeness to pull out a hair and present
it to a person. The degradation of kings and princes was carried out in
a public manner by shaving their heads and sending them into a
monastery; on their regaining their rights and their authority, their
hair was always allowed to grow again. We may also conclude that great
importance was attached to the preservation of the hair even under the
kings of the second dynasty, for Charlemagne orders the hair to be removed as a punishment in certain
The Franks, faithful to their ancient custom of wearing the hair long,
gradually gave up shaving the face. At first, they only left a small
tuft on the chin, but by degrees they allowed this to increase, and in
the sixth and seventh centuries freemen adopted the usual form of beard.
Amongst the clergy, the custom prevailed of shaving the crown of the
head, in the same way as that adopted by certain monastic orders in the
present day. Priests for a long time wore beards, but ceased to do so on
their becoming fashionable amongst the laity
The beard, which was worn in
full at the beginning of the 12th century, was by degrees modified
both as to shape and length. At first it was cut in a point, and only
covered the end of the chin, but the next fashion was to wear it so as
to join the moustaches. Generally moustaches went out of fashion. We next find beards worn only by country
people, who, according to contemporary historians, desired to preserve a
"remembrance of their participation in the Crusades." At the end of the
12th century, all chins were shaved.
The Medieval Times website provides interesting facts, history and information about the clothes and fashion which scatter the Medieval History books including Medieval Hairstyles. The Medieval Times Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts about the fascinating subject of the lives of the people who lived during the historical period of the Middle Ages. The content of this article on Medieval life and times provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework for history courses and history coursework.