Clothes and jewellery (2024)

Finds of clothes from the Viking period are rare. These often consist of small pieces of material preserved by chance. Our knowledge about Viking clothes is supplemented by written sources, as well as clothes depicted on small figures and tapestries.

Like today’s men and women, the Vikings dressed according to sex, age and economic status. The men preferred trousers and tunics, whilst the women dressed in strap dresses worn over undergarments. Ordinary Viking clothes were made of local materials, like wool and flax, woven by the women.

On the other hand, finds from the graves of wealthy individuals show that some clothes were definitely imported. The upper classes displayed their wealth by adorning themselves in silk and gold threads from foreign parts, like Byzantium. The Vikings supplemented their attire with jewellery and furs from different animals.

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Female clothes

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The Viking woman typically wore a strap dress with an undergarment or smock underneath.

The strap dress was a close-fitting dress, made of coarse material, which was sewn together. It was either open or sewn together at the sides. In addition, gussets could be sewn into the dress to give it shape. The strap dress fitted over the chest and was held up by a strap on each shoulder. The strap was fastened at the front with a shell-shaped brooch. Between the two brooches there was often a string of beads.

Under her strap dress the woman wore an undergarment or smock. Research shows that Danish Viking women preferred plain undergarments, whilst Swedish Viking women wore pleated ones. There was therefore even an element of fashion in undergarments.

The woman of the period also wore a cloak over her shoulders, which was fastened with a small round or trilobite brooch. The cloak and the dress could be decorated with woven borders and bands of fur.

Around the waist the woman wore a belt, with small leather purses for the keeping of small items, such as sewing needles and strike-a-lights. A strike-a-light was a curved piece of iron used to produce sparks.

The Viking woman wore leather shoes on her feet.

Children’s clothes

The clothes worn by children reflected those of their parents, both in their type and fineness. Young girls wore smocks, whilst young boys wore tunics and trousers.

Viking women on expeditions?

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The Arabic diplomat Ibn Fadlan wrote that travelling Viking women in Russia wore beads of green glass. On the chest they carried a case of iron, silver, copper or gold. In this case was a knife. The case mentioned may have been the item of jewellery that archaeologists call a concave brooch.

Concave brooches have been found in various parts of Europe where the Vikings settled, including England, Ireland, Russia and Iceland. This indicates that Viking women may have been present on expeditions.

Male clothes

The Viking male often wore a tunic, trousers and a cloak.

The tunic was reminiscent of a long-armed shirt without buttons and might go down to the knees. Over his shoulders the man wore a cloak, which was fastened with a brooch. The cloak was gathered over the arm that he drew his sword or axe with. In this way it was possible to see whether a Viking was right- or left-handed.

We do not know a great deal about the shape of the trousers. They were perhaps a type of plus fours, which were gathered up under the knee. The plus fours must have required socks or puttees wound around the shins. Puttees are a variety of legwarmers in which a long narrow piece of material is wound around the legs to give warmth. As footwear, men wore leather shoes or boots.

As their clothes had no pockets or elastic, men wore belts or had string fastened around the waist to hold their clothes up. On his belt, the man might carry a purse or knife. The purse could contain various items, like a strike-a-light, comb, nail cleaner, gaming pieces and silver coins.

Some men also wore caps, which were either pointed or had rounded crowns. The caps were made of material or skin.

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The Viking warrior's clothes

In addition to the clothes that he wore, the warrior also carried weapons. These might consist of an axe, sword, helmet, spear, lance and a round shield. Iron was expensive in the Viking Age and by no means all warriors had a full range of equipment.

Waterproof clothes

The Vikings were also familiar with waterproof clothes. These were made from skins treated with beeswax to make them soft and fish oil so that they were waterproof.

The Byzantine court fashion and the upper class

In the Viking period the upper class had contact with many different parts of the world and this was reflected in their attire. The Byzantine court style, in particular, inspired the clothes worn by the Danish upper class.

It is clear from Danish burials dating to the late 900s, that the Viking upper class were part of Christian European court circles, which had contacts with Byzantium. Within these circles silk was amongst the most sought after materials. Silk was associated with prestige. It was a relic of the rule of the Byzantine emperor Justinian (527-565), who used it to display his power. In the following 600 years Byzantium maintained a monopoly on silk production in Europe.

In addition, different silk colours could signal wealth and power. The bright blue and red colours were especially sought after. We find these associated with the Mammen prince from Bjerringhøj in Jutland, Denmark. His red and blue clothes were those of a magnate.

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Fabrics and colouring

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Clothes were woven in many different colours. Colouredyarn could be produced in the Viking Age by boiling the material with various colour-yielding plants. The colours that archaeologists know were used in Viking Age clothes are yellow, red, purple and blue. Blue has only been found in the burials of wealthy individuals, as it was apparently a precious colour. The blue colour came from either the local plant woad or the dye indigo, which was purchased abroad.

Around 40% of finds of Viking Age fabric have been identified as flax. Flax must therefore have been an important plant for the production of Viking clothes. Research shows that more than 20 kg of flax plants was needed to produce enough material to make a tunic. In addition, the task -from when the flax was sown until the tunic was stitched – probably required almost 400 work hours. Several sites have been found in Denmark, at which flax was produced on an almost industrial scale. Flax must therefore have been an important product in Viking Age trade.

Jewellery in the Viking Age

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$Men and women from all layers of society wore jewellery, in the form of arm rings, necklaces and brooches. Some of the jewellery was ornamental and it could alsoindicate wealth. Other items, such as brooches, often had a practical function as well – to fasten clothes. In addition, there were pieces of jewellery that had symbolic value, such as Thor’s hammers.

Apparently the Vikings did not wear ear rings. But it was not because they were unfamiliar with them. They must have encountered them on expeditions where they came into contact with Slavic peoples.

Jewellery could be made from various materials, such as wood, glass, amber, bronze and gold. Pieces of jewellery were often decorated with geometric designs, plaited bands, animal heads and gripping beasts.

Clothes and jewellery (2024)


How many pieces of clothing is enough? ›

According to a report referenced by Vogue in 2022 that leans on sustainability goals, “The researchers found that a “sufficient” wardrobe consists of 74 garments and 20 outfits in total.

Do you agree that the clothes you wear is one way to express who you are? ›

Fashion is a form of self-expression. When you wear something that is comfortable, cute, or fancy, it makes you feel good about yourself. It's self- knowledge and self-confidence expressed through what you choose to wear. Fashion is in the clothes, but style is in the person.

Does jewelry count as clothing? ›

Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn normally are considered accessories rather than clothing (such as Handbags), items worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or items that do not serve a protective function.

What is fashion answers? ›

Fashion is a term used interchangeably to describe the creation of clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, and jewellery of different cultural aesthetics and their mix and match into outfits that depict distinctive ways of dressing (styles and trends) as signifiers of social status, self-expression, and group ...

When should you get rid of clothes? ›

Pieces that are dated.

Even if it used to fit and look great, there's a good chance it's dated. There are some exceptions to this stylist tip, but in general, get rid of anything that's been in your closet for a long time and isn't classic.

How many jeans should a woman own? ›

Trends and Personal Style: If you enjoy keeping up with fashion trends or have a particular style, you might want to have a few pairs that reflect the current fashion. Considering these factors, a reasonable range could be around 3 to 6 pairs of jeans in your wardrobe.

How do clothes define someone's personality? ›

Our clothing style can provide insights into our personalities. For instance: Classic and polished clothing styles often reflect a preference for sophistication, elegance, and timeless fashion. Bold and edgy fashion choices may indicate a desire for individuality, self-expression, and a rebellious spirit.

What is a famous quote about clothing? ›

"Don't wear what fashion designers tell you to wear. Wear what they wear." "The joy of dressing is an art." "You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes.

How does clothing reflect who we are? ›

Clothing plays a vital role in shaping how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. Our choice of attire reflects our values, interests, and personality, allowing us to express our unique identity to the world.

Is a necklace a piece of clothing? ›

These attachments typically include pendants, lockets, amulets, crosses, and precious and semiprecious materials such as diamond, pearls, rubies, emeralds, garnets, and sapphires. They are made with many different type of materials and are used for many things and sometimes classified as clothing.

Is a ring a clothing item? ›

Worn accessories include cravats, ties, hats, bonnets, belts and suspenders, gloves, muffs, necklaces, bracelets, watches, eyewear, sashes, shawls, scarves, lanyards, socks, pins, piercings, rings, stockings and hair ties. Shoes, boots, sneakers, and all types or footwear are not accessories but 'wear for the foot'.

Is a necklace considered jewelry? ›

What Is A Necklace? A necklace is a piece of jewelry that is worn around the neck. Anything resembling a piece of string, metal, rope, or lace worn around the neck can be considered a necklace. The most common type of necklace is one made from a metal chain, usually gold or silver.

What fashion defines to you? ›

fashion is the most general term and applies to any way of dressing, behaving, writing, or performing that is favored at any one time or place. the current fashion. style often implies a distinctive fashion adopted by people of taste.

What is the difference between fashion and clothing? ›

We can see different designs carved on different fabrics and other accessories. Clothing refers to the materials or fabrics on which new fashion designs are tested. Fashion is a changeable aspect, as it changes every now and then. One fashion design can only be popular for a few months before changing with the seasons.

What your fashion tells about you? ›

In this way, the clothes we wear can serve as a visual representation of our beliefs and values. Your clothes can also reveal your mood and emotional state. Someone who typically wears bright, cheerful colours might switch to darker, more subdued tones if they are feeling down or depressed.

How many pieces of clothing does the average person own? ›

People own an average of 148 pieces

Most survey respondents seem to have between 77 to 155 pieces in their wardrobe with a few outliers in the 300+ range. Again, I believe the survey data I collected skews a bit lower than what the 'true' average is for most people.

How many pieces of clothing should I own minimalist? ›

It typically comprises around 37 pieces, including tops, bottoms, dresses, and outerwear. The key to building a successful capsule wardrobe is to choose items that can be easily layered and that work well together.

How many pieces should a clothing collection have? ›

Overall, a fashion collection must have at least 12 pieces; but this is not a rule. It all depends on some factors, such as budget, target market, execution time, sales strategy, and so. Another example is the capsule collections – the smaller ones, that commonly come with 8 pieces.

How many wears should you get out of clothes? ›

Dress pants or slacks: after 2-3 wearings. Jeans: after 4-5 wearings. Sweaters: up to 6 wearings, if worn with an undershirt; 1-2 wearings if worn without an undershirt.

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