15th Century Capsule Wardrobe

V-neck Burgundian gown worn with my red horned hennin

V-neck Burgundian gown worn with my red horned hennin

The next “Capsule Costume Collection” is another small one, but one that I think is perfect for doing as a capsule collection because there is the potential for multiple layers with certain styles, and I have created an abundance of amazing headdresses for this era.

Current inventory


Any of my underdresses will work with the surcotes, but in particular I have the following which work particularly well with my existing surcotes

Ultimately however I’ll want to make a cotehardie to go under each of the over-dresses, but the existing under dresses work for now.

Gowns or surcotes

  • Grey and black Burgundian V-neck gown
  • Blue silk sideless surcote
  • Green silk-like sideless surcote
  • Red and gold  sideless surcote (work in progress)
  • Green and green brocade sideless  surcote (from high school!)
  • Gold silk Houppelande (work in progress)
  • Navy blue surcote with white trim (very old)


I’ve mentioned in an earlier post – which hats can be worn with which styles of hats and headdresses, focusing on the horned hennin, but also addressing other kinds of headwear I found in images from this time.

Currently, I have:

  • White linen horned hennin (no.4)
  • Wool horned hennin (no.2 – work in progress)
  • Grey wool truncated collapsible hennin
  • Red velvet horned hennin (no.2)
  • Green silk-like shaped truncated hennin
  • Heart-shaped / horned hennin (no.1)
  • Padded roll (Originally meant for my Italian costume, but the right shape for this era too)


Other than hats, I have very few accessories for this era. I have a necklace, and wear an assortment of different belts depending on what’s easy to grab.

Colour stories

Palette for the 15th Century created on spark.adobe.com

Palette for the 15th Century created on spark.adobe.com

I don’t really feel like what I already have tells a particularly compelling or unified colour story. I made a swatch on https://spark.adobe.com/ of what I currently have, and don’t really feel that it seems unified.

Also, in looking at some of the source images (seen on my Dating & Placing the Horned Hennin post) there doesn’t seem to be a unified way of wearing under and over garments together. For example:

  • Orange underdress – orange sideless surcote
  • Black & gold brocade underdress – blue sideless surcote
  • Pink under dress – gold sideless surcote
  • Blue under dress – pink over dress
  • Black under dress – pink over dress
  • Red under dress – blue over dress

The only stories these example tell is blues and pinks are pretty popular.

What I’d like to add

Since the surcotes are reasonably fast to make compared to a cotehardie, I think to add to this capsule I’d like to make more surcotes (and likely another Burgundian v-neck gown). To determine colours, I made up a quick illustration in paint, where the dominant colour is the over-dress, and the smaller areas of colour represent the under dress.

The last two columns, with a purple over dress and a teal over dress was just to look at which colours might work nicely if I had the fabric to work with.

This makes it very clear to me that I prefer dark over dresses with lighter toned under dresses. Like my German capsule wardrobe, I think this will likely be guided more by what fabric I have enough of – rather than being able to determine a firm colour scheme in advance. Still, I was really interested in the following two colour palettes from https://colorpalettes.net/ which – if I have the fabrics, would be a lovely direction.

The muted palette has shades of grey and silver, moss green, and a grey-teal. The bolder palette has a similar grey-teal, complimented by a birch green, kelly green, emerald green, and a dark forest green.

With this in mind, I think I’d like to make one or more of:

  • Dark grey (wool, brocade?) sideless surcote
  • Dark purple sideless surcote OR Burgundian gown
  • Dark blue Burgundian gown
  • Dark green Burgundian gown
  • Dark teal Burgundian gown or sideless surcote

… and at some point a light (possibly light grey) wool cotehardie!

Final thoughts

If you’re interested to see what other costume wardrobes I’ve looked at to incorporate the “Capsule Costume Collection” idea – click the tag.

You can also follow my page on Facebook, where I’ll share updates from this project, as well as interesting stories I find online around costuming, sewing, and crafting… along with lots of Viking Age stories too!

One comment on “15th Century Capsule Wardrobe

  1. […] I thought it might also be a good idea to pull together a few more sideless surcotes to add to my Medieval Capsule wardrobe since they’re pretty easy to wear, and I certainly have enough headwear to accompany […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.