It’s been faaaar too long since I did a “kitting up” photoset, so I thought I’d do another one of my heavy Chesterwick kit, which I wear for Swordcraft on Fridays when I’m not being an archer and wearing a dress. This kit puts me on maximum hitpoints (15) at Swordcraft and is all 100% functional stainless steel stuff I also use for other medieval activities – which means it’s not exactly light. It’s inspired by what a 14th century knight would wear, although I’ve taken a fair amount of creative liberty.
Here’s a breakdown of each layer, generously photographed by my friend @andrethesmall (and please ignore my funny faces, it’s been a long week):
1. Underwear! Medieval linen braies with an undertunic tucked into them. I’m also wearing workout pants underneath because it’s currently winter and I’m a lizard. In the summer I skip that layer. All of my medieval underwear is from Historic Enterprises. Unfortunately, they don’t really cater too much to women for this stuff (given that it is men’s clothing!), but I find I can fit most of it, although it’s not the most ideal fit, especially with the hose.
2. Hose! I love hose, I think they’re amazing and silly. I usually go for parti-coloured – I have three different colours to choose from (yellow, blue, green), so I just mix and match each week depending on what I feel like. I wear thick socks underneath to pad them out a little bit – since they’re made for men’s feet they’re a bit big on me.
3. Shoes, pourpoint, leg harness. The shoes are a new model from ArmStreet that I’m currently testing out for durability. They look medieval but have modern comfort, and feel great under armour! The pourpoint (tight vest) is what keeps up my leg harness (leg armour). Most of the weight of my leg harness is distributed across my hips, with very little actually pulling on my shoulders. If you look closely, you can see lots of vertical stitch marks in the pourpoint – that’s where I’ve taken it in time and time again as it’s really old and the linen keeps stetching! It’s really important for a pourpoint to be super tight to ensure an ideal distribution of weight. My leg harness is the same I’ve had for a few years now, from ArmStreet.
4. Gambeson! Mine is a bit beaten up and needs some new buckles. A gambeson is a padded layer that just adds a little bit of cushioning from armor.
5. Armour. I’m wearing bracers, elbow cops and 14th century inspired shoulders, all of which is fringed with green suede dagging. I opted not to wear my upper cannons tonight (which would completely cover my upper arms).
6. Cotte d’armes, a wool garment in the colours of my warband that hides my beaten up gambeson. It has yellow wool dagging on it to make it a bit fancier and set me apart from other members of the warband who wear a similar, unadorned item.
7. Breastplate. Enough said.
8. Hood, because it’s cold out and my helmet doesn’t currently have an aventail to cover my neck.
9. A helmet to top it all off. It has a faceplate but I opt not to wear it at Swordcraft since I usually need to be able to communicate with people and I find I have to yell waaaay too loud with it on.
10. A photo taken by Tony Delov at the game, with my current halberd.
Please let me know if you have any questions, happy to answer!
Once again, if you’re interested in how wearing armor while female looks and works, we highly recommend looking for a local larp group – they might even be able to talk to you about what olde undies looked like.
Also super great to point out that there’s plenty of room for creative license while keeping things very plausible. (It’s also always worth remembering that actual historical accuracy only refers to the small sample of things we can definitely confirm, a lot of history is speculation based off limited evidence)