Nursery Rhymes

Medieval Monk's Clothing

Medieval life and Times

Medieval Monk's Clothing - Colors of the Medieval Monks clothes
What did medieval monks wear? What was the significance of the colors of the clothes? The color of the habits, the name for the clothes of the Medieval monks, varied according to their order. The earliest Benedictine monks wore wore clothing consisting of white or grey habits which were the colors of un-dyed wool.

However as time went by black became the the prevailing color of their clothes hence the term "Black Monks" has come to signify a Benedictine Monk. The Cistercian and Carthusian orders of Medieval monks adhered to even stricter rules than the Benedictines and wore un-dyed wool for their monks clothes to proclaim their poverty. Their habits, or monks clothes, were generally a greyish-white, and sometimes brown. The Cistercian monks were referred to as the "White Monks".

Medieval Nun's Clothing

Medieval Monk's Clothing - Description of the Monks clothes
What did medieval monks wear? What type of Monks Clothes were worn during the Medieval times and era. Each Medieval monk had two tunics and two cowls, a scapular for work, shoes and stockings. The extra tunic allowed for washing and night-time wear, as the Cistercian monk slept in his habit. The traditional habit, or clothes, of the Benedictine monks consisted of the following garments:

  • A tunic, tied around the waist with a cloth or leather belt
  • Over the tunic was a scapula. A scapula was  a garment consisting of a long wide piece of woollen cloth worn over the shoulders with an opening for the head;
  • A cowl was attached to the scapula ( the cowl  is the hood worn especially by a monk )
  • The front of the scapula was secured with a small piece of rectangular cloth that snapped the sides together
  • Hair shirts - some monks imposed suffering on themselves by wearing hair shirts under their habits
  • Some monks would also wear a cross upon a chain around their necks
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