|Clearly, not a huge amount of any type of clothing survives from the periods during which padded
armour was in general use, so the existing pieces are somewhat limited.
These are vaguely in historical order, but it's hard to be absolutely chronological, as some of the
dates ascribed are hotly debated.
Below is a list of the extant pieces that I'm aware of.
I have included a brief description in most cases.
In time I'd like to be able to add pictures, or links to pictures
(although this may not be possible for copyright reasons).
garment, although 'coat armour' is quite widely used).
It is made up of sandwiches of linen with raw cotton
padding, and is covered in a red silk, which is now a
sort of 'brick red', but which may once have been
The garment has cloth buttons, (flat ones lower down the
front), and is vertically quilted.
It is cut with the wide (but tight at the cuff) sleeves, and
the shaped padded chest, seen in many depictions of
A very similar garment is depicted in the effigy shown
left, (although the figure in the effigy appears to be
wearing a breastplate, so the quilted chest is hidden).
Pourpoint - Charles de Blois
Incredibly famous (or infamous?!) garment of the mid 14th century.
For years this has been believed to be a piece of armour, although it's now generally believed to be a
civilian garment, padded to achieve a particular body shape (the term 'pourpoint' simply meaning that
it has been quilted (or possibly sewn, as it's now debated whether the much of the quilting is original,
or a messy attempt at conservation)).
I include it here mainly because its construction seems remarkably similar to some garments which
were worn as / with armour.
The doublet is constructed in 'sandwich' layers, very like the coat armours of Charles VI, and The Black
Prince. Its inner section is of a sandwich of fustian, filled with raw cotton, and the outer is another
sandwich, identical in make up, except for the addition of an outer layer of richly patterned brocaded
silk. The sleeves are made up of a single sandwich, with the top layer being of the same silk.
The doublet is cut in the "grand assiette" style (the literal translation being 'big plate', or 'dinner plate').
This means that the shoulder line of the body is very narrow, and the armscye (armhole) cuts very
deeply into the body (the front of the armhole seam is actually a circle across the chest - hence the
The body of the doublet is cut with a curved front, allowing extra padding to the chest, and the waistline
is cut extremely tightly (corset-like in its grip of the stomach).
Many buttons form the front fastening of the body - again they are of cloth, and again, they are round
over the chest, and flat over the stomach (perhaps to allow a belt to be worn round the waist without
catching the buttons).
There are point holes around the waist, presumably to allow the attachment of the hosen to the doublet.
The sleeves themselves are cut very, very tightly, and incorporate a sharp curve to accommodate the
bend of the elbow. The sleeves button from just above the elbow to the wrist, to allow them to be cut
extra tightly - again, the buttons are round, indicating that nothing was to be worn over the sleeve (or
they'd be flat as at the front waist).
It is a strange concept to many modern people, but the extreme tightness of the garment is absolutely
essential, to give the wearer full, unencumbered movement. Looser clothing actually restricts
movement (try wearing a suit jacket and lifting your arms above your head without unfastening it, as an
The down side of this garment is that when the wearer's arms are not fully extended, the fabric under
the arms bunches in the armpit. A design flaw which could explain why this cut seems to have had a
relatively brief appearance in history (and perhaps why depictions of garments similar to the coat
armour of Charles VI are far more common).
Some people have asserted that this doublet is based on, and cut in the same way as, an arming
garment of the period. While it is true of the way the back of the doublet has a waist seam while the
front does not is very similar to later jacks and the like, it is not clear whether the doublet came first or
There is little or no evidence that arming garments, or military garments of any kind, were ever cut in
the way the sleeves and chest of this doublet were. Logically, the nature of the cut (the bunching under
the arms, etc), would seem to make such a proposition highly unlikely, if not ruling it out entirely.
It has been suggested that such is the case, and the evidence pointed to is usually of a painting of a
man with a sword held aloft, but the figure in question is wearing civilian clothing, and no armour at all.
Added to which, the painting is an allegory, and not a realistic depiction.
'Coat Armour' - Edward, Prince of Wales (The Black Prince)
This forms part of the collection at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, in England.
The garment is a padded coat, covered in the Royal Arms of England (quartered, with gold leopards
(lions) on a red field, and gold fleurs-de-lys on a blue field). The outer is made of blue and red silk
velvet (now with some of the pile missing), with embroidered leopards and fleurs-de-lys in silk and
Beneath the exterior, it is made up of 'sandwiches' of fustian filled with padding. It was long argued
what fibre was used for the padding itself. This was finally settled by Janet Arnold, who after careful
study proved fairly conclusively that it was stuffed with raw cotton fibre (referred to as cotton wool in the
'Coat Armour' - Charles VI of France
A padded over armour coat (no name has yet been firmly attached to this
|I'm doing some work on this page (sorry) - do feel free to get in
touch if you need some more info.