Most people agree that doublets and hose were made with wool on the outside and linen on the inside.

Are there any evidence that confirm such belief? Any guild documents, findings, etc? Do we have any evidence contradicting this theory, allowing linen-on-linen doublets and hose?


  • Welcome to the site & +1! I'm curious: where did this question come from? :) Feb 12, 2013 at 14:58
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    Im interested in historical reenactment and currently Im working on reconstructing a soldier fighting for Sędziwój z Ostroroga, who fought at Grunwald (Tannenberg). Most of the reenactors use wool, but i think its a bit too warm with all the layers of clothing a soldier wore. Thats why Im trying to confirm wheter using only wool is historical or just a trend/myth among reenactors :)
    – K.L.
    Feb 12, 2013 at 16:02
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    That will be difficult to confirm, especially that Polish doublets were slightly different than western ones. This way I'd give a try at the local site, historycy.org. But I'd also be glad to read the answer. Feb 12, 2013 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


Just looking over that wikipedia link, I'm seeing a lot of references to British monarchal eras and Highland fashion. So it could be that this was an item primarily prevalent in England and Scottland.

England is not exactly famous for its sunny climate, and average temperatures there even in the summer appear to be a few degrees cooler than in Poland (where you are performing this re-enactment?). Where I come from in the middle of the Continental USA, it would be considered downright cold. We regularly have days a good 40 or 50 degrees F hotter.

Scottland is even colder, murkier, and damper. A wool lining would be highly desirable there, both for its insulating properties, and for its wet-weather behavior.

Also that area was pretty much the wool-production capitol of Europe. So the material would have been much more plentiful (and cheap) than it would be most other places. Most Scottish nobles could probably skim it for free from their own estates.

So I don't personally find this all that unlikely. However, garb in Poland may have been different, and summer garb in Spain or Greece was almost certainly different.

For my money, unless you can import Scottland's climate for your re-enactments too (perhaps run them in the spring or fall?), I wouldn't take versimlitude to quite that extreme. If you are sweating like a pig due to overheating in a non-historically accurate climate, that's a bad re-enactment too, isn't it? Then again, I'm not much of a SCA or LARPer, so I don't know the culture like you do.

  • Note that my current forecast predicts I will next experience England's "average summer high temperature" on February 7th. :-)
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:13
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    It's worth to mention that weather conditions were very important to Battle of Grunwald. Both armies met in the early morning, but Polish and Lithuanian forces hesitated until the late afternoon. This led Teutonic knights to stay in heavy armors in full sun for many hours, during a hot day in the middle of summer, while Polish and Lithuanian forces were hidden in the forest and this way covered from the sun. You can imagine, that when the fights started, a lot of Teutonic knights had already enough of fighting. Feb 12, 2013 at 22:26
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    As for re-enactment, I'm pretty sure we're talking about the official ones, that take place every year 15th of July and are the biggest event of this kind in Poland. If that's the case, changing the time of the year is out of question, but it would be quite interesting. Here's 40-minute long movie from the meeting, showing all the battle: youtube.com/watch?v=0_3mPxQFRjk Feb 12, 2013 at 22:35
  • Yes, Darek is right about almost everything :) Im reconstructing in Poland, in Wielkopolska, and I want to participate in the Grunwald re-enactment. I will be chceking on wool and linen production in Poland and Ill try to compare them to England, but as far as I know, linen was made almost everywhere in Poland at that time. Thanks for your input, lets see if anyone lese has something to say :)
    – K.L.
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:51
  • Our re-enactment community is quite the strict one and we are trying to be as authentic as possible. If history leaves me no choice, Ill be sweating in wool ;) But first I want to make sure I absolutely have to :D
    – K.L.
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:52

I'm very much late for this "party", but Portuguese nobility wore doublets (or their precedents, as the doublet only hit full force in the last quarter of the 14th century and many men still wore the older surcoat) made of linen, silk or fabrics woven with both linen and silk. There were wool fabrics too, but that was more common for winter.

Naturally, poor folks might have a single outfit to last them a whole year, which would mean a linen chemise and everything else wool. But Portuguese imagery show peasants working the fields in the summer wearing only white chemises as a way of dealing with wool vs. hot Portuguese summers.

In conclusion, I am not so sure about the fabrics worn by the men in the lower ranks of an army, but nobles would have definitely worn linen (with or without silk depending on their social standing) doublets (and surcoats).

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