A book that never was, and yet…

Back in 2004 I began a book. It was meant to provide background research into late 14th century clothing and accessories for men and women, as well as patterns. It was aimed at both those simply curious about the fashions of the past and those interested in recreating them. But as sometimes happens with large projects, life’s realities intervened and this writer’s time and energies were needed elsewhere. And then other projects cropped up, most notably a side-track into Victorian women’s wear (with an exhibition and a book, insert shameless plug here.) By 2014 it was clear this project would never be completed, especially as so many new things had come to light in the intervening years and I would have basically had to start over.

And yet… there had been a lot of work done.
Why not share online?
With links to sites and images a books could not provide?

This will take time. There won’t be patterns (I never got that far in the manuscript) but I’ll be blogging research/context chapters as I update them, and find active links for images and sites. This is a process. Because history is simply our current understanding of the past, each new piece of information can change everything. What is accepted as obvious today might very well be completely reinterpreted by new details that emerge tomorrow. There is always more to know! And no one Authority has the whole picture.
In this, a blog is more flexible than a printed book.

Welcome to the Boke of the Wardrobe.

(Cover image: Fresco, 14th c., Torun Poland)


I am Astrida Schaeffer — a costume historian, museum mannequin maker, curator, and author. I have been researching and making reproduction clothing from the 14th century through World War II for 30 years, both for museums and reenactment (and am known in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Mistress Astryda Borowska.) Research is engrossing  but determining how things were actually made, used, and experienced completes the picture!