Fashion in the Age of Datini


A gown can be defined as a sleeved upper garment which continually widens from the shoulders to the hem. Most gowns fit to the mid calf and consumed three yards or more of broadcloth, but a few were as short as the buttocks (Italian gonella, French gonelle). The long gowns were the most respectable outer garments for most classes of men and women. A cloak could be added as an extra layer in cold or wet weather. Men's and women's gowns were very similar in a time when men's and women's fashions tended to diverge.

A donor in a bright red gown and hood in the Boi Polyptych, Castelvecchio, Verona. Thought to be from the circle of Altichiero (1369-1384).
Two donors at a wayside cross in the Castelvecchio, Verona. Note the pocket slit in the man in red's gown.

Gowns were normally of fulled cloth or of silk and often had a lining, sometimes a fur lining.

Later gowns were often cut from neck to hem. In Datini’s lifetime, most have a small invisible opening at the neck, probably closed with hooks and eyes or buttons. (In English cities and towns, hooks and eyes appear in the archaeological record around 1400).