Looking for costume I can walk 800km in

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Looking for costume I can walk 800km in

Post by Chatfouz »

I am here because I am planning to walk the Camino this summer. As a non religious person I want to instead try to understand the history and experience the history. My ancestors were French/German.

As such I realize if I can I want to walk the 800km the way a pilgrim of 10th-15th century would have; in wool, linen, and leather.

I try to imagine who I would of been like had I been born way back and as a middle class teacher I believe the closest approximation is the clergy. However they have costumes that still have meaning today and it seems inappropriate to wear a Dominican robes on the Camino as a non Christian. Also the statistics say I would be a nobody peasant and if I was genetically lucky I might be in a merchant class.

But I’m running into a wall of information. I would appreciate any advice. I will try to write as clearly as I can and summarize any questions.

My costume goal:
To have a costume appropriate to what a pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago would of worn and walk the Camino Francés in it.

Time period: flexible 10th to 16th century
Class: peasant to low level merchant.
Area: France/German

Summary of questions
1. where to find period appropriate clothing that will hold up to 30 days of continuous wear along a 800km walk in Spanish summer

2. Can you find clothing that isn’t polyester/nylon/plastic blends?

3. Did everyone wear leather shoes with hose? Or was it all leather shoes or barefoot?

4. Were there significant differences in fashion between areas such as France/German/England?

My current plan based on what I’ve found

-Linen breeches and undershirt - no idea where to find it
-Light wool thin tunic (natural colors, maybe woad blue as it was often the cheapest of dyes available)
-Wool cloak for rain/weather - no idea where to find
-Hiking sandals - modern but simple looking
-Staff and gourds (gourds for water) looks like I only need 1-2 l at a time.
-Leather pouch(s) on belt to hold things like metal cutlery, passport, money
-shoulder satchel to carry small necessities like bar soap, camp towel, sun screen, cell phone, etc

Details of questions

1. 2.
My overall goal, to go as “authentic as I can safely and legally do. So from my understanding that is in wool, linen, and leather. I’m happy to do that and I realize it will probably cost me about 500$. Fine. If I’m going to do it I want to do it right. But trying to read about what was worn and then what is for sale seem quite far apart.

Most shops online seem to sell blends or cotton. They mainly seem to sell clothing made to look nice for a 3 hour festival and less about “practical”. That makes sense and I understand but I thought if anyone would know how to go finding what I’m looking for it would be here.

As far as safety the biggest hurdle I see is shoes. I was originally planning to walk with a small bag with only a change of clothes and a toothbrush. I have years of backpacking and hiking experience I know that I have to take care of my feet. I will wear my trail runners and ignore any “not matching”, but if it’s possible I’d like not to.

I have hiking sandals that don’t scream modern. It seems like an ideal solution as something I can safely walk in and won’t horribly clash with any costume. But I’ve read lots of articles about the fashion that everyone either wore hose and leather shoes or they wore breeches and barefoot. Yet many articles also say they wore sandals. So did people wear samples over hose or just bare leg?

4. 90% of the articles I’ve found online so far talk about English medieval attire. If my ancestors were from the modern German French land areas and I’m unsure clothing was significantly different. From what I’ve found so far it wasn’t different enough to be significant. Most likely something like what color dyes were as local but not significant enough for my purposes.

40/- freeholder
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:59 am
Location: Tow Law

Re: Looking for costume I can walk 800km in

Post by 40/- freeholder »

I've got a lot of male medieval costume as none of the people who used to wear it are still active. You can see photos on my website www.rentapeasant.co.uk
The patterns are mostly taken from extant garments: the Greenland finds, Bocksten man in Sweden and the shirt of St Louis in Paris. All are handsewn and either pure linen or pure wool. Some have had a lot of wear. Most are free sizes but since one former peasant has outgrown his old outfits, some idea of your chest size would be helpful. There were intended to be practical working clothes so should be fine for walking in.
The brown cloak is not for sale but I could make another. I'll have to check the fabric stash but I'm sure there's plenty of grey wool cloth left.
For summer, you could have linen half hose. Pattern from Greenland, they tie below the knee and at the ankle but extend over the instep, helping to disguise modern footwear. I could soon make a pair.
Let me know if you need more info, photos etc

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