10th Century Viking Children's Clothing

Written by joan mansson
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10th Century Viking Children's Clothing
Vikings spent some of their time farming. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Evidence of what people wore in the 10th century Viking world is not great since clothes rot over time. Fortunately, carvings and documents include visual and written descriptions of their clothing.

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What Viking Boys Wore

Children dressed in much the same way as their parents. Men and boys wore close-fitting or baggy trousers made of wool and belted with a drawstring. They wore a woollen, long-sleeved outer-tunic over a linen under-tunic. The tunic was belted at the waist. In winter, cloaks of simple rectangles of wool cloths and caps of wool or sheepskin were worn to keep warm. A brooch was used to close the cloak on the right shoulder. Shoes or boots were made of leather and had a flat heel. Socks were optional, depending on the wealth of the family.

What Viking Girls Wore

The girls, like their mothers, wore long sleeved, ankle-length shifts made of linen. Over the shift they wore woollen tunics which were shorter than the dress. The tunic, a sort of apron, had two wide shoulder straps pinned to the tunic with brooches. Like their brothers, the girls shoes were made of leather and had flat heels. Everyone's shoes were laced with leather. While married women covered their heads with scarves, girls were bare headed unless it was cold. Like the men and boys, women and girls wore cloaks made of wool pinned with a brooch.

The Colors and Fabrics

Thanks to archaeologists, we know that the Vikings used vegetable dyes to create materials of blue, red and yellow and of course they would mix colours to create green, orange and purple. Linen from flax and wool from sheep were woven into cloth by the women. Sometimes, wealthier Vikings had silk to trim their tunics and dresses. Silks were brought back from other lands.

Clothes of the Wealthy and the Poor

The difference in clothing between the rich and the poor were the trims that were used on the tunics, shirts and dresses. Trims made of imported materials could only be afforded by the rich. Brooches were made simply or ornately of bronze and generally jewellery was worn only by the wealthy. Vikings, however poor, did bring home prizes taken during battle or on raids. If the family was wealthy this was reflected in the dress of the children as well as the parents'.

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