Tippets belong to the odd section of costume history. They had no function except to point out to all that “I have enough wealth to spend on frivolous bits of fabric”.

The particular type of tippet I refer to are the streamers of fabric which were attached to the sleeve at the elbow, coming into fashion during the Middle Gothic Period (1325-1425). Usually they were of a contrasting colour to the rest of the garment, white was very fashionable. Tippets were worn by both men and women. The tippets were quite narrow and attached by a band above the elbow. They could have a straight edge ending in a point or be intricately dagged. The length varied from 30 cm (12 inches) to trailing on the floor. Some were so long that a large knot was tied in the end to lift them from the floor.

The tail of a liripipe is also sometimes referred to as a tippet.

The tippet was part of the long, graceful silhouette of the Middle and Late Gothic periods which high headdresses and long flowing trained gowns produced. The men’s tippets were not worn as long as the women and were a must when paired with parti-coloured hose and form fitting tunics.

Medieval clothing although not the most practical is great fun to dress up in. It is one of my favourite periods and having worn floor length tippets I have one piece of advice. Be very careful when having to use the toilet, flick them over your shoulders or you could have dripping tippets!


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Tip"pet (?), n. [OE. tipet, tepet, AS. taeppet, probably fr. L. tapete tapestry, hangings. Cf. Tape, Tapestry, Tapet.]

1.

A cape, or scarflike garment for covering the neck, or the neck and shoulders, -- usually made of fur, cloth, or other warm material.

Chaucer. Bacon.

2.

A length of twisted hair or gut in a fish line.

[Scot.]

3.

A handful of straw bound together at one end, and used for thatching.

[Scot.]

Jamieson.

Tippet grebe Zool., the great crested grebe, or one of several similar species. -- Tippet grouse Zool., the ruffed grouse. -- To turn tippet, to change. [Obs.]

B. Jonson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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