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The Tumultuous 15th Century

The 15th century provides us with many of our stock, childhood images of the "Middle Ages": the knight in shining armour, the joust, even elegant ladies in tall, pointed hats! Yet it is a paradox, for by this time, many of the hallmarks of medieval society had already faded and were being replaced by a culture associated with the Renaissance. Feudalism, that uniquely "medieval" political system, had effectively been dead for centuries. Medieval monarchs increasingly looked to develop effective, professional armies that could be more adaptive, better trained and able to stay longer in the field. At the same time that his employers were reexamining his role on the battlefield, the knight's newly completed harness was increasingly challenged by a combination of arms, in the form of pike, bow and gun, and they would soon unseat him from his place at the center of military society. Even the joust had become an increasingly artificial, international sport, rather than serious military training. Meanwhile, intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe, seeking new wealth in Asia and Africa, and launching what has been called the "Age of Discovery".

In the year 1400, England and France were still locked in the Hundred Years War, and France was ruled by a mad king, with its worst defeats still yet to come. Emboldened by the weakening of the French monarchy, the powerful Dukes of Burgundy continued to grow more autonomous, building in all but name an independent kingdom, and a court that became the cultural center of northern Europe. In Iberia, the ancient Muslim culture of Al Andalus had been driven back by the Spanish kingdoms, until only the small kingdom of Granada remained, giving the Iberian Christians more time to war against themselves. Meanwhile, far to the east, the battle of Cross and Crescent was taking a very different course: the ancient Byzantine Empire was making its last stand against the inexorable advance of the Ottoman Turks. And through it all, the bankers and trading houses of Italy and the Hanseatic League grew ever wealthier.


The 15th century was a period of drama and elegance, as well as an idealized romanticizing of chivalric ideals. An illustration from Rene d'Anjou's "Book of Love". (1465)

By 1500, the "Middle Ages" as we think of them had been all but swept away. France had emerged victorious from the Hundred Years War and brought her rebellious duchies to heel, including Burgundy, making the monarchy stronger than it ever had before. England, on the other hand, and proceeded from the disastrous loss of her French territories into a bloody, thirty year long civil war, the War of the Roses, that saw the Plantagenets lose the crown of England after nearly three and a half centuries of unbroken rule. In 1453, Constantinople at last fell to the Turks, bringing to an end the last true survivor of the ancient Roman Empire. Meanwhile, the Spanish kingdoms of Castille and Aragon had driven out the last of the Muslim rulers, and had united into a single Spanish kingdom, creating what was soon to become a European superpower.

But during the intervening years of this century, European society would undergo far more change than just political upheaval. A new intellectual culture was brewing that would bring sweeping changes in art, science, fashion and a drive for exploration. The Renaissance was being born.

Humanism

It is often argued that the sweeping changes of the 1400s were driven first and foremost by a change in intellectual culture that returned to a reading of classical authors, put a new emphasis on secular topics and legitimized the striving for personal accomplishment. This new ideology was Humanism.

The Middle Ages had been dominated by the intellectual culture of Scholasticism, which focused on resolving contradictions between famous Classical authors. Over time, the commentaries by these later scholars would develop an authority almost equivalent to that of the original author, so that a trained scholar might say that he had studied Aristotle without ever having read an actual word written by Aristotle himself! In the late 14th century, however, a new intellectual movement began to take shape in northern Italy. Because of their mercantile dominance, the Italian cities had long since had a need for highly educated, literate men with secular backgrounds. Initially, such a clerk, notary or lawyer was known as a humanist if he was a student or teacher of Latin and Latin literature but was not a Churchman. These &quote;humanist&quote; scholars began to rediscover many Latin and Greek texts, particularly poetic, historical and rhetorical works that had been neglected or even oppressed by clerics. By the mid-fifteenth century, the philosophy of Humanism had come to describe the studia humanitatis - a complete curriculum of grammar, rhetoric, moral philosophy, poetry and history as learned from a direct study of Classical authors. Above all, these Humanists asserted that, as Man was created in the image of God, his unique ability to reason, appreciate beauty and to create and fashion objects was an inherently divine quality. As such, art and science were twin pillars that not only ennobled, but essentially sanctified man.

In the century that followed, Humanist political writers such as such as Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas More would use the idea of Classical authors to criticize their governments, while new exposure to Plato would lead theologians such as Giordano Bruno and Martin Luther to challenge Church leaders not only politically and morally, but at the very philosophical underpinnings of their Aristotelian world view.

Art and Science

The Humanist worldview naturally intermingled Art and Science. Noted artists such as Leonardo da Vinci made observational drawings of anatomy and nature, while disciplines such as music and fencing were considered to be both a science and an art, as they were governed by certain undeniable physical laws of proportion and time, but were applied in a creative, ever-changing fashion. The most noted artistic change of the 15th century was the development towards a "realistic" sense of perspective. Masters such as Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) had begun this process in the 14th century, but it did not achieve its full-flowering as a formal "technique" to be studied and used as a measurement of the artist's skill, until it became popularized by the architect-sculptors Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472). Once a quest for realism had begun in one artistic element, artists quickly began to apply it to others, such as light and shadow. Inspired by the Humanist fascination with beauty and nature, they sought to more carefully render natural elements, most specifically, the human form, and this was expressed in the peerless works of da Vinci and Raphael that appeared in the last decades of the century.

But the Italians had not cornered the market on artistic innovation, and under the patronage of the wealthy Burgundian Dukes, a new "natural" school developed in the Netherlands, building around the work of Jan van Eyck (1385 -1441), who is also credited with the introduction of oil paint and canvas.


Jan van Eyk's famous "The Arnolfini Portrait" (1434)


Brunelleschi's dome atop the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (1419 - 36)

The fusion of art and science was perhaps most felt in the world of architecture, which became influences by a rediscovery of the writings of the 1st century mathematician Vitruvius. The architectural revolution of the 15th century began when Filippo Brunelleschi built the dome of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence (1419-1436). Based upon the famed Pantheon in Rome, it would be the first free-standing dome of any significant size built in Western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire.

Throughout the century a vast array of other innovations and inventions, such as the printing press (1455), the woodcut (1400 - 1450), the harpsichord (c.1460), canal locks (1481), the distillation of malt into whiskey (c.1460). Yet the most significant development of the era was probably not any one discovery, but rather a process for discovery, based on empirical evidence. This method was the "scientific method" that has driven western science ever since.

Fashion

The fashion trends of the 1400s followed the same trend towards exuberant extremes reflected in the rest of society during this period. As the worst of the Black Death (1348 - 1350) lay long in the past, the changes in European society it had created included a tend towards greatly empowered, urban "middle classes". These tradesmen, guildsmen and merchant-princes were nowhere as powerful or influential as the Italian city-states, or the Flemish cities under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy.

With England and France mired in the Hundred Years War and its aftermath and then the English Wars of the Roses through most of the century, the glittering, the fashion-conscious, and sharp-witted Duke Philip the Good (ruled 1419-1469) had turned Burgundy into an autonomous kingdom in all but name, and had used his control of the trading cities Holland and Flanders to the acquire the finest English wool, eastern silks and Italian fashions.

Meanwhile, in Italy the old nobility had long fallen to mercantile republics or military despots. In many cases, the latter simply assumed the old hereditary titles of marchese, count or duke, whether they came from old noble families or were upstarts raising themselves up as the new nobility. Desiring to establish their legitimacy, these despots sought to make their courts the envy of Europe. Those who embraced the new ideals of Humanism became great patrons of art, science and learning. The lord acquired renown as a man of culture, learning and wealth, gaining additional civil or military service from the courtier, while the courtier gained far more: stable financial support, prestige, and a chance to develop his work without having to fight against the pressure of daily life.

The end result was that, there was a class of wealthy commoners in the midst of these extravagant courts who had the wealth and connections to successfully mimic, and sometimes exceed, the fashions of the nobility, regardless of any sumptuary laws. This thereby prompted the nobility towards ever more elaborate and extravagant fashions themselves. It also led to the first real trend towards clear "national" variances in European fashions.

At end of the previous century, the voluminous houppelande had become a popular fashion for both men and women. The houppelande continued to be popular in Burgundian, French and English circles until well into the 1470s. Although it could be worn anywhere from floor to knee length, in all cases it became progressively more pleated, fitted with a high collar and tall, stuffed shoulders. At the same time, a counter-fashion was evolving in Italy and the south, as the old men's cotehardie became shorter and tighter, until it evolved into the revealing doublets and hose associated with the Italian Renaissance. Both houppelande and doublet would become popular throughout Europe, but with unique regional styles, such as the Italian fashion of wearing the doublet with a short, pleated tabard called the giornea, or the Burgundian fashion of the mid-century for the wealthiest of men to dress in solid black.


Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy and his court, in a miniature by Rogier van der Weyden (1477).


The elegant houppelande, first appearing in the late 14th century, would dominate the fashions of the nobility throughout the first half of the 15th century.


Women's headwear was nothing if not dramatic!

Feminine fashion went through its own evolution as well. The old cotehardie and sideless surcoat persisted through the early decades of the century, with the cutouts of the surcoat becoming progressively wider. However, it was again the late 14th century houppelande, fitted with a high collar and wide sleeves that was to influence feminine fashion throughout most of the century. By 1450, the northern Europe fashion had developed a low V-neck that revealed glimpses of the undergown below. The full, long sleeves continued to be worn, although they were increasingly more fitted with wide, turned-back cuffs. Meanwhile, in Italy, the low V-neck and scoop-neck of the early decades gave way to a neckline that was worn high in front with a lower V-neck at the back, often worn with a sleeveless tabard, or giornea. This evolution would lead towards a series of new fashions in the final decades of the century, including the first appearance of puffed and slashed sleeves that would last for two centuries.

Meanwhile, accessories assumed a new level of importance, particularly headwear. The old 14th century rolled chaperone evolved from a rolled-up hood into a unique, padded hat, hoods and turbans assumed new forms, and men's hats took on a variety of shapes, including some oddly familiar to modern eyes (one example looking much like the offspring of a derby and a ten-gallon hat!). But for the lady of means, the height of distinction was in multitude of headdresses that came in and out of fashion during the 1400s, many of which can only be best described as a Gothic arch on your head!

Throughout the High Middle Ages, Europeans had been looking for more effective trade routes into Asia. Ironically, the same Mongol invasions that had destabilized much of Eastern Europe in the 13th century also united great swathes of Asia under a single rule, allowing Europeans merchants, mostly Italians, to more easily travel into the Far East. The most famous voyager was of course Marco Polo, who traveled throughout the Asia from 1271 to 1295, and became a guest at the court of Kublai Khan. His journey recorded a Travels was read throughout Europe. Yet Polo's voyage had little immediate effect, for the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the devastation of the Black Death and the rise of the aggressive Ottoman Empire effectively destroyed any chance at Europeans increasing overland exploration or trade.

But Marco Polo was not forgotten, and entered a new period of fame in the 15th century Niccolo da Conti published an account of his travels to India and Southeast Asia in 1439. There was again an interest in new trade routes East, and this interest came none too soon, for with the fall of Constantinope in 1453, the old routes were now firmly under Ottoman control, and barred to Europeans. Fortunately, at the same time that a way around the Muslim lands of Asia Minor and North Africa were becoming viewed as crucial to European businessmen, the people of the Iberian peninsula had already begun developing the key to unlock the road East. This was the invention of new ships, the carrack and the caravel, "round ships" developed and influenced by North African models and better suited to open ocean voyage. At the same time, Humanist authors continued to rediscover classical accounts of geography and exploration, and became convinced that there was a way around Africa.

The 15th century saw the first swell of expeditions that would launch the "Age of Exploration", and it was the Portuguese who led the way. The first of these voyages was launched by the Prince Henry the Navigator (1394 - 1460). Sailing out into the open Atlantic, Henry discovered first the Madeira Islands in 1419 and the Azores in 1427, and quickly established colonies on both. From here he turned to West Africa, seeking a way to bypass the trans-Saharan trade routes in the hope of finding gold, slaves and the fabled Christian kingdom of Prester John. By the 1440s the Portuguese had pushed south of the desert and into the interior, and although they did not find Prester John, they found a vigorous trade in gold and slaves. But the crucial breakthrough came in 1487, when Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and proved that access to the Indian Ocean was possible. Eleven years later, Vasco da Gama (1460 - 1524) successfully reached India.

The Spanish kingdoms had been slower to respond and now anxiously needed their own check on Portuguese domination of the African entire. With the union of Castille and Aragon, the newly united Spain suddenly had the resources to launch an expedition of its own, with the hope that a Genoese sailor was right that the African route to India could be by-passed entirely by sailing straight west across the Pacific Ocean. When Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506) returned with claims of having reached "the Indies" it was unclear precisely where he had been and what he had found, but it was clear that he had been somewhere.

At the dawn of the 16th century, while the old maritime powers of Genoa and Venice continued to war with the Ottomans for control of the eastern Mediterranean, the Italian city-states braced themselves for foreign invasion, and the glory of the Burgundian court became the memory of the previous generation, a New World loomed and the balance of European power began to shift to the children of Iberia.

 

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LOVED the shoes.  Danced in them all night, no insoles, no problem.  Never been able to do that before with period shoes.

Aggie
Ottawa, Illinois USA
 
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I deeply appreciate the Gaston Phebus line.  I wear it frequently (average 2x / wk these days) when pursuing game with longbow, crossbow, spear, javelin and hawk.  I have been wearing elements of the Gaston Phebus line when taking elk, boar, rabbit & squirrel in the last 12 months.  I have recommended the clothing line to a number of fellow medieval hunting enthusiasts.  The Gaston Phebus line has held up to some pretty heavy hunting abuse.  I've been through shoulder high brambles innumerable times that have pulled a few threads, but I remain exceedingly pleased with the performance of the clothing in the field for its intended purpose. Primarily, I wanted you to know how greatly I appreciate the research you put into your products, and the quality of the workmanship.  I regularly put the wool Gaston Phebus full wardrobe through intense field abuse and it has held together better than ANY comparable product I have purchased anywhere in the last 20 years.

All the best,
Richard Swinney

Dear Revival Clothing Last year, you kindly gave me permission to use your models and costumes as references for part of a pastel painting I was working on.  The painting is finally finished, and I thought you might like to see a scan of the end result, which I have titled 'Champion of Warwick'.  I added a few more figures to my original design and I think they have made a nice colourful crowd and added to the atmosphere. I'll be submitting the painting for the annual exhibition of the Society of Equestrian Artists at the Mall Galleries, London, in July, and will also be producing a limited edition of prints of the painting. Many thanks for your kind help.

Mary Herbert
Leicestershire, England

Hi Everybody knows about you guys! You folks are one of the west's authorities on 12th to 15th century garments! You folks are amazing! Customer service extraordinaire! I am telling everyone at knights about you guys! Anyway.....thanks again....we will be doing lots of business together in the future. Cheers!

Cheers Daniel MacMullinAlberta, CA

I received my apron dress yesterday and LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I will certainly be ordering from you again, and referring my friends as well :)  Thank you for a smooth transaction and a wonderful product. Yay!

Laurie Magen

Just received my order (hat, hose, and belt). Everything arrived quickly and exactly as described. You have proven that it IS possible to combine top notch living history items with modern customer service. Thank you!

HZ

I received my low medieval boots on Saturday afternoon and wanted to tell you how thoroughly satisfied I am with them. Finally I have shoes that look terrific with my Fourteenth Century harness and that I am not afraid to fight in. I have already taken them to my local shoe repair shop, where they confirmed that once I wore out the soles, they could easily repair them. The quality of these shoes is everything that I would expect to see from your firm, and I am putting your new riding boots on my Christmas wish list. Thank you for offering this fine product.

Arthur A. Donadio Attorney at Law

I have ordered several items from your online store, and have to say that I have been impressed beyond expectation. The quality of your products and the speed of service make it an absolute joy to bring my business to your door. I heard about you through a friends reference. When I opened your web page, I knew almost instantly that I would be spending quite a bit of money here, and happily so. Thanks for all the great products, and once again, thank your for your strict professionalism. It has been a profound experience to patronize your shop and will recommend you to all my acquaintances.

Jeff Anderson
(SKA Baron Sir Tryggvar Halfdan)

Riverdale, UT

Everything is awesome The 14th century silk ensemble rocks (silk cotte, chauses, and hood; medieval shirt, braes, belt with bars, and belt pouch) -- I think you've hit a very accessible and pleasing balance between price point and workmanship. I've never had a complete outfit medieval outfit before, and this is by no means a bad way to start. Tell Greg he was right -- once you've gone 1300s, it's hard to go back (to the 16th or 21st centuries). I was a little worried about how bright the silk chauses were going to be, based on your photos. I was thrilled with the actual item -- the colors are intense, vivid, but not eye-pokingly bright. The braes + chauses combo is so insanely comfortable, I want to wear it around the house (plus shirt, of course) -- except there's no one for whom to look good and pose. :P The 15th century ensemble is equally awesome (brocade doublet, 15th cen shirt, cotton joined hose, chaperone). The fit of the shirt in particular is really pleasing. I think I look great in it. Had to get a little used to the hose, and still figuring out the crotch + inseam / codpiece and how to get comfortable. I love the chaperone. Ever since Brian (from Darkwood Armory) and Greg each showed me how to wear chaperones and Greg stuck one on my head, I've wanted one. Now I have one, and in an awesome color (burgundy). I could also prance around the house in it, but I'll refrain -- I'll prance around in front of my friends, instead! The fit of the pourpoint is exactly everything I thought it would be -- and it rocks. Can't wait to adapt and point my leg harness to it.

Cheers,
Dakao Do

Here is my Burgundian Nobleman outfit. My reason for choosing your fine products is that you do clothing for the upper classes.

A happy customer,
Michael Bannerman

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi, I am in Brisbane Australia and I recently received a pair of your black medieval ankle boots and they are awesome indeed…very comfortable and nicely handcrafted. hank you. And once again “Love the boots”

Regards,
Russell Sky

Brisbane, Australia

The Pourpoint is the answer for supporting Leg Harness.I have the Revival pourpoint.. and I can say without reservation that it is the best, most comfortable,most stable arrangement for holding up leg harness I have ever used, and I have used them all. In 22 years of armoured combat I have never had a harness more comfortable and high performing than I do now.. all due to the Revival Arming Pourpoint. The key is to have the pourpoint.. **very** tight, the sides of the garment opening should **just** meet when snugged very tight on the hips.. and if you are conventionally shaped this will mean that the garment *won't* meet over the chest. This is the proper fit IMO, ( this has the added benefit of girdling in your extra padding and providing a more svelte profile ) Also you must reinforce the points with leather or fabric patches to ensure the points don't tear out in vigorous combat. The point placement is perfect for me.. and if you are wearing the proper size they should be ok for most. There must be one point over the rotation point of the side of the hip.. right at the insertion of the hip joint. The other point should be at the center point of the leg harness. I strongly endorse this product. Revival clothing has the answer.

Brian McIlmoyle A.I. IMAF
Principal Instructor AEMMA

Toronto, Canada

Hi folks I just wanted to let you all know that the parcel came today....two days before the event! We are so excited and pleased....you made our day! The courtesy and professionalism shown by you csr's, shipping department and management team, far outshine many companies I have dealt with in the past....I am in awe of you guys! People wonder why I shop online......we'll, they wouldn't if they knew the type of people we meet and become friends with. Many thanks, and everyone in our city will be in fits of envy when they see us fight and feast this weekend. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We will be doing much business in the future, and everyone in our club will be, as well! Cheers

Sir Daniel Wallace MacMullinThd., Esq.
Alberta, Canada

Dear folks at Revival Clothing Awesome! I received my shipment today...on my birthday!  Took less than 3 days...thank you. I'm very happy, I love everything.  Now I'm ready for the Selohar gatherings.  Now I must buy more. Thanks

Todd Sullivan
Sandy Creek, NY

I received the new linen gambeson, and it fits wonderfully. There is no restriction of movement, and it's much lighter then my old cotton gambeson. I absolutely love it. It looks fantastic also! You guys are a true artists.

Have a great day,
Tom Pfister

Des Plaines, Illinois, USA

Hi, I just received your linen gambeson and it fits like a glove and the gloves fit as well. The quality and speed of my order was very impressive. I am extremely satisfied. Thank you all so much.

All the best,
Peter C.

British Columbia, Canada

I received my Linen Gambeson last Friday and I could not be more pleased ... It is a beautiful piece in it`s own right and will function perfectly - it seems to fit like a glove - plenty of room for movement , yet form fitting under the armor - And the sleeves are long enough! Once again I am impressed with your courtesy and professionalism ... Thanks again and all the best for the new year!

Tim Mathews
St. Paul, MN

Saw you guys at Pennsic and was impressed. I love the look of the 14th century and you guys capture it well.

Joe Farley
Alabama, USA

It just arrived today :) All I have to say is, wow, that is a gambeson! It fits perfectly...and it has that solid feel to it that definitely reminds me of the fact that often they were worn as the only armor. Thanks again!

Robert Zamoida
The Historical Martial Study Society
Waldorf, MD

Hi Nicole, I am touched by outpouring of support from so many folks in the WMA community. Thanks so much for your generous donation. It will be much used and appreciated by all of us in our training group here.I will be sure to send you some pictures of us training with your gambesons when they arrive!

Thanks again,
CW3 Jeffrey Larson

82nd Airborne”
Read more about medieval swordsmanship in Afghanistan...

I just wanted to let you know that I received my order and everything is beautiful!  Very nice workmanship and quality of fabrics!  I'll be all set for my trip to the summer faire at Camlann Medieval village.  I already had full wardrobes for renaissance faires and pirate events, but didn't have anything correct for the 1376 setting at Camlann and these pieces will work beautifully.  Thank you so much.

Ragan Zessin

Recently my wife ordered for me the green wool hood/chaperone.  WE both love it.  It fits and looks great!  I am a BIG guy at 6' 5" tall and it looks appropriate.  It was a pleasure to deal to do business with you and we will order again.  I am definitely interested in upcoming 15 century clothing and  I am hoping you will offer them in bigger sizes.(nudge nudge wink wink;) I have attached a pic of me at the Bristol Ren Faire so you can see your work in action. Thanks again,

Randy Cieszynski
Bourbonnais, Illinois, USA

Just a quick word to say a very big thank you for: your very prompt and efficient dispatch of orders, the quality and look of your products, and for being there. After 21 years of 17th/18th century re-enactment in the UK & Europe I wasn't sure how easy it would be to re-equip myself for the mid 14th century out here in New Zealand. You've made it immeasurably easier and it's been a real pleasure doing business with you. I look forward to making further purchases over the coming months & years.

Mark Godwin

I tested my new linen gambeson yesterday in combat. Your design is perfect for sword fighting. The garment provides a good fit, yet provides complete mobility of the shoulders. I also received many compliments on its aesthetic and period qualities. I especially like the breathability of the linen fabric. Thank you for offering such a fine product.

Steven
San Francisco, CA

What a brilliant site this is! The hat is actually for my wife - we do intend to go to the biennial medieval fair in Dinan, France and use the hat for its intended purpose. We went 4 years ago and resolved to return but wearing medieval costume.

Tony C.
Rutland, United Kingdom

I purchased a full wardrobe from Revival Clothing and have recieved nothing but praise for my garb. I am new to the SCA and my major concern is chivalric fighting. But my tunic ensemble is great for court and feast and the revelry that generally follows.

Chris B.
Bishop, Texas, USA

The tippets and barbette arrive in record time! I was able to use the barbettes to show a lady who despaired of ever keeping a veil on how to use 2 barbettes (one around the face, and one around at high forehead level) to fasten a veil so it needed no fussing all day long. I got two just for this purpose, as gifts to her. (And, when asked where I got the gown I was wearing, the back laced dark green raw silk, I of course gave y'all the credit. several people piped up that your goods are really first quality. So -- fame to you!) Again, my thanks.

Pat M.
San Diego, CA

Dribbel just received his black ankle boots today and he adores them to the point of being a little creepy! Thanks so much for the speedy service. I was expecting them to arrive later in the week.

Lynn D.
Grand Rapids, MI

The order has arrived and I am impressed by the quality of your goods. The shoes and silk chauses were also of a perfect fit. I have taken the liberty of advising your clothing line to a colleague of mine: Jan Braem, also council member of the Hallebardiers.

Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Stefan Sette
Council Member Hallebardiers

Saint-Michael Guild Bruges since 1444

To all involved at Revival Clothing, I recently purchased a pair of your ankle boots and I'm quite pleased with them. They are comfortable and very well made. I even use them for every day use. In this instance I dislike to use the term "replica" or "reproduction" because they are in fact NOT such things. In the middle ages and the renaissance period, the material used was known to them. The difference being the tools used to make your product and the era of time we are now in. Back then clothing was usually made for the person purchasing the garment and it would not have mattered to the average person of those time periods in how their clothing were made, weather by hand or machine. Hence the Renaissance, then the industrial revolution, to modern day, and beyond. It is good to know that people are still interested in the "old" fashions and not letting them be forgotten.

Leon Majors
Victorville, CA USA

I tested my new linen gambeson yesterday in combat. Your design is perfect for sword fighting. The garment provides a good fit, yet provides complete mobility of the shoulders. I also received many compliments on its aesthetic and period qualities. I especially like the breathability of the linen fabric. Thank you for offering such a fine product.

Steven
San Francisco, CA

I just received the linen gambeson and have had a chance to try it on.  Wow.   It’s basically perfect in every way!   It fits really well, and the long sleeves don’t bother me at all, nor do they get in the way of my 15th century gauntlets.  This gambeson has exceptional mobility and it breathes so well I can wear it for quite a while without discomfort.  I’m in love with it.

Mike Edelson
Brooklyn, New York USA

The gambeson is working beautifully. I've practiced and fought in it many times now and I am very impressed with the mobility and comfort of the garment. It's going to be an ideal foundation for my future armour purchases: I plan to build a 13th-14th century harness around it.

Sean Hayes
Maestro d'armi

Northwest Fencing Academy
Eugene, OR

Greetings!  The gambeson just arrived today and it fits really nicely, especially considering that it's "off the rack." Sir Brian's recommendation told me I had found a good choice, and the special sale price helped with my decision too. Thanks!

Steve Gaddis (Master Sir Khaalid, SCA)
Sparks, Nevada, USA

Hello! My package just arrived safely. Am LOVING the dark green bliaut. The color is jaw dropping. First bought one 2 years ago.In case anyone asks, the silk does dye nicely (with professional silk dye - Jacquard brand was used) - turned the teal into a jewel tone blue, with no problems. Thought best to let you know.

Best Regards,
Christina B.

Seattle, WA

Thank you very much for sending my Linen Gambeson. It is an extremely good fit - I'm very impressed and would recommend it to anyone. Also impressed with the rapid service!

Richard Taylor
Walkerburn, Peeblesshire, Great Britain

I've just received my surcoat in the mail today--it is so much better that I expected, and I really expected high-quality stuff, so this is AWESOME. I'm very happy with it; it is really beautifully made and fits me very nicely. Thanks again!

Rivkah M.
US Military Personnel stationed in Naples, Italy

I am just starting in the SCA. Your products are by far the most reasonably priced and authentic looking. The web site is great!

Chris Brook
Henderson, TX

LOVED the shoes.  Danced in them all night, no insoles, no problem.  Never been able to do that before with period shoes.

Aggie
Ottawa, Illinois USA

Dear Revival Clothing, Thank you for the pleasant conversation earlier. I most certainly will recommend your clothing to our friends. We received many compliments about how well we were attired. In addition the clothing was very comfortable, and the linen makes very comfy pajamas, as they wick away moisture at night. I would have to say that I favor this clothing the most out off the extensive collection of outfits I own. I cannot thank you enough for making us look so good.

Eric and Tabatha Blacksmith
AKA Wolfgang von Bremen and Juliana MacPhearson
Baron and Baroness of Glymm Mere, An Tir

Foundation garments like the gambeson are critical to the comfort and functionality of the complete harness. Particularly in the joust where even minor problems with how the harness fits and functions will affect the rider's ability to function safely and at the best of his or her ability. The Revival Gambeson performed flawlessly.

Callum Forbes
Order of the Boar

Greetings - we always appreciate knowing all is well.  So I want to say my lovely dress arrived Saturday .....  07/07/07

Very happy,
Barbara Fleig

I just received the 12th century prick spurs yesterday.  The prick spurs themselves are so historically accurate it is unbeliveable!  I just wanted to drop you a line of thanks for offering such a great product that no other internet site can match!  Now I know that I will be ready for next years Ren-Faire! The great thing about your website and the products that you offer is that there are few people in the world that deal strictly with Medieval period clothing.  As a knight in training-you have my blessings! Keep up the good work!

Thanks, Erik Fiske
Poughkeepsie, NY USA

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I found my clothes waiting for me when I came home on leave from Afghanistan, and I have to say I was stunned! I can't tell you how fantastic I feel! Everything fits, everything looks superb, and for the first time I'll be going to events in something historically accurate. If anyone reads this, just stop reading and go buy something here! You cannot go wrong! Nothing short of the energy death of the universe will prevent anyone from enjoying these clothes AND getting a good deal in the process!

SGT John Steinke
Company A
3rd Battalion
141st Infantry

I am writing to comment upon my first Pennsic with my new Revival Clothing Gambeson. When I first received the garment, I was concerned that in the heat of Pennsic Battle that I would overheat in such a heavy and thick garment. Being from Canada my friends and me all commented that the gambeson had the weight of a winter coat. Normally not the sorts of things that we wear on a hot August day. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the gambeson was very comfortable at all times that I wore it. It was so comfortable even on a hot day that I wore it after fighting to walk about the merchant area before I showered and dressed for the evening. The best test was on the last Friday of Pennsic. It was the day of field battles and I had to fight in six battles that day. I later learned that the temperature was around 100 F (38 C). I found the garment comfortable and I never noticed its weight in the heat or during my fighting. The garment allowed me a full degree of motion. Truly, it is a wonderful garment. The only problem I did have was removing it from the cuff of the sleeve was sometimes hard due to swelling of my arms from the heat. Fortunately, this was a minor problem.

Andrew Lowry
SCA THL Richard Larmer

Finally a pair of reasonably priced, period appropriate shoes!! Footwear is the hardest thing to find when costuming oneself; it can be very frustrating to have to resort to hiking boots or whatever to finish a costume. I was so happy to open the box from revival and find these very cool shoes that will provide a supreme finishing touch to my costume. By the way, during my presentations to grade four kids, they have asked to see my footwear! Thanks loads!

Katy Gillett

I want to thank you for such prompt service, and tell you how glad I was to find you. I am new to the WMA world, and initially only wanted to find protective garments for use in longsword bouting. I did a thread search on Sword Forum International, and your company was recommended frequently there. As I browsed your site, I was amazed to find that I could not only obtain the protection, but period correct protection! Unfortunately for my woefully thin wallet, my search has now transformed into a quest to eventually outfit both my son and I with period kit. I look forward to a long and fun relationship.

Marty
York, PA