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Medieval Trousers: A Tale of Utility and Elegance

Medieval “Trousers” derives from the Scottish Gaelic word “triubhas”, meaning a type of Highlander leg covering generally made of wool and extending from the waist to the ankles.

Over the centuries, “triubhas” evolved into the English word “trousers” used today.

During the middle ages, trousers were generally worn by men under their tunics or short cloaks. 

They were primarily made from wool or linen and were designed to cover the legs of the wearer.

History of Medieval Trousers

The origins of medieval trousers can be traced back to the Roman civilisation, where the men wore loose-fitted leg coverings called “braccae”. These were typically made from leather and were worn mostly by soldiers and hunters. 

Trousers in Medieval times were mainly worn by commoners and soldiers since they were more practical for outdoor activities. During the early middle ages, trousers were frequently baggy and were made of coarse fabrics such as wool and linen.

As the middle ages progressed, the nobles also began to wear trousers. However, they were designed to be more fashionable than practical. 

They are of nobility were slim-fitted and made from finer materials such as silk or velvet. Also, intricate embroidery was done on medieval trousers to make them more stylish.

Types of Medieval Trousers

Here are some examples of the types of medieval trousers:


were loose-fitted knee-length trousers made from linen or wool. In the later middle ages, brais were mainly worn as an undergarment by both men and women.


were tight-fitted and made of finer fabrics such as silk or velvet. The nobles and aristocrats mostly wore them during the middle ages.

Tights or Hoses

were more form-fitted trousers made from stretchy materials such as silk. The elites frequently wore them during the 14th century.


were typically made from lightweight fabrics such as linen or cotton. They also had a split crotch for easier toilet use, which was not a frequent characteristic of other medieval trousers.

Medieval Trousers for Men

Men’s medieval trousers were mostly loose-fitted and made of heavier leather or wool fabrics. They were designed to be more practical than fashionable, as soldiers and peasants mostly wore them.

The style of men’s trousers also varied according to social position, with nobles wearing more stylish and extravagant designs, such as breeches made of expensive fabrics such as silk or velvet.

Medieval trousers for men were often intended to be paired with leg armour, and they were frequently laced or fastened at the waist and ankle for a secure fit.

Medival Trousers for Women

In contrast to men’s trousers, medieval trousers for women were typically more form-fitted and were made of lighter materials such as linen or cotton. 

The design of women’s trousers tended to be more decorative and visually appealing. Women’s trousers were often worn with a tunic or dress that covered the hips and legs rather than as a solo garment. 

Women’s trousers were frequently embellished with embroidery, lace, or other ornamental features to add grace and femininity.

These features were added to the hem or cuffs of the trousers and were intended to showcase the seamstress’s expertise and craftsmanship.


The above article gives an overview of the history of medieval trousers and the various types of trousers worn by men and women at the time. It discusses how medieval trousers evolved throughout the Middle Ages and the materials and designs used to make them. It also highlights the differences in the types of trousers worn by nobility and commoners and the decorative touches added to women’s trousers to make them more feminine.

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