In fact, Brigandines are a decendant of the Coat of Plates of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They consist of a foundation layer of heavy canvas or leather to which hundreds of small (~2 cm by 5 cm), overlapping metal plates are attached inside the garment. An outer layer of velvet or other fashion fabric was often added, as well as an inner lining to protect the wearer's clothing from the metal plates. Hardened leather plates were (very) occasionally used in order to make the armor lighter and cheaper. The word "brigandine" is most commonly used to describe a vest-like garment made in this fashion, but other garments of similar construction have been found. Early brigandines typically have fewer, larger plates while later ones have many hundreds of very small plates.

While a Coat of Plates was intended for the battlefield, brigandines were primarily intended for peacetime use. They were armor intended for travellers, late night errands and other dangerous activities. Some of the examples that have come down to us through the centuries are quite elaborate, having been made for kings or other important persons.

The Japanese brigandine is quite different. Rather than rivet rectangular plates to the fabric, tiny hexagonal plates are sewn in between two layers of heavy fabric. The fabric is quilted around each tiny plate, isolating each within its own little pocket. This provides less protection than the overlapping plates of the European brigandine, and was commonly used to cover portions of the body which were difficult to protect with solid plate armor.

This armor is of a completely different evolutionary line from scale armor, and "Studded leather armor" is a Dungeons and Dragons fantasy.