Layering system and medieval clothing explained [lots of pictures]

*Note if I made a mistake in naming you are free to correct me.

Hey there folks, as you know Warhorse studio markets their character creator and clothing layering system as some thing special. So special indeed that another big Kickstarter (Star Citizen) funded game decided to cooperate with Warhorse Studios.

Now 16 different slots might seem a little excessive but they are completely justified. Medieval clothing is a little different from what we wear nowadays so I will go through each of these slots and tell a little something about their purpose.

Base layer (linnen underwear and shirt)
1:The Hose/Chausse(s)
2:The padded/quilted Chausses
3:Leg armor
5:Gambeson (quilted garment)
6:Mail hauberk
7(?):Chest and back
9:Arm and shoulder protection
10:Belt (scabbard)
11:A cloth layer
12:Ring 1
13:Ring 2
14:Quilted coif
15:Metal helmet
17(?): Remaining headwear shizzle

The base layer or underwear of folks in the middle ages wore was called a braie. It basically is a baggy version of a modern day boxer short. They were tied around the waist with an integrated strap and usually reached down to just above or below the knee. Made out of linen they had an off-white color and were usually[always] left un-dyed.

They are however not identical in function to modern day underwear. Braie could be worn without any kind of trousers on a hot day (or if you were really poor) as a medieval version of shorts and peasants are depicted as working the fields wearing just Braie

you would look like a poor sod though

*Note from @GilbertDeClare

However the game does seem the depict the knee length braies in the video. Perhaps a mistake or the character creator might also allow use to switch underwear.

Another piece of this base layer is a linen shirt which also could be worn plain and without further covering (shown below)

The next layer on the legs is usually the one that manages to raise quite a few eyebrows.

1: The Hose/Chausse(s)

They were leg coverings which were attached to the Braie either tied with laces, leather straps and in some cases buttons. They were dyed in a variaty of colors and at times it was fashionable to dye both in a different color or to dye patterns on them.

The length varied a bit, some would come to just over the knees, others would have “shoes” with leather soles attached to them but the one reaching down to the ankle seems to be the most common. They also seem to have been worn with gaiters just below the knee so one could detach the hose from his Braie without them dropping to his feet.

Note: As Gilbert kindly pointed out the joined hose would also have been worn around this time and was becoming the new trend/high fashion

So ehm, cue the music

Joined Hose(Though listed as end of 15th century)

The front flap eventually evolved into a garment known as a codpiece which in turn can be found in 16th century armor

War has always been a **** waving contest, they just took the term more literally a few centuries ago

Now this is were we leave the common clothes worn on the legs behind and start with arms and armor on the legs

2: The padded/quilted Chausses

In many ways similar to the civilian hose but worn over one instead. It is basically a quilted (a form of padding) hose with foot protection attached(game picture) or without.

Originally it was worn under a mail hose (or on it’s own) to protect the legs. Since mail is flexible the concussive force of a sword blow would still pass through the mail itself, this is were the padded garment comes in to absorb the blow. The one in the game picture has gaiters below the knees, either for decoration or to spread the weight of the garment a little. Historically a mail hose would also have a gaiter located below the knee to make sure not the whole weight would rest on the Braie strap.

Now on to the final layer of the legs

3: Armor.
The last and uppermost layer on the legs is the metal armor itself. This can either be a mail chausses/hose as depicted above or plate armor. A mail chausses in 1403 might be considered a little old fashioned but it still provies protection to the legs.

Here is an in game depiction of the plate armor on the legs worn over the padded chausses. I do not know if this is historically correct since pictures and manuals usually show plate armor on the legs directly over a normal hose. I this regard I could be wrong however.

*Also note that the plate leg armor was almost always attached to an arming double or gambason by means on straps. This was done to spread the weight and allow flexible movement.

4: This layer of leg clothing seems to be reserved for shoes, no further information has been given regarding this

Now to the upper body

As I’ve already discussed the basic layer is the linen shirt. In civilian fashion one would usually wear a colored coat over this of which there are so many types that I won’t even begin to discuss them.

Here are a few example of what was worn during the middle ages. However since the time the game takes place is around 1400 we are a bit in between fashion types. Later in the 15th century a “joined hose” became popular which is starting to resemble the modern day pants a bit. For this reason I will show clothing mostly of the 14th century which fits the lose hose/chausses thing a bit more. Another note is that fashion during the middle ages are by no means my expertise so if you want to know more details I highly advice you to visit Wikipedia first and then search for other books on the matter.

Hats were also way more popular then than they are nowadays

Richer folk used to wear something called a houppelande

The base layer under plate armor is actually a debated topic. It is never depicted what people wear under the padded gambeson/arming doublet in medieval art. It could be the linen shirt or the gambeson itself but we simply don’t know. For the sake of this thread I will consider the gambeson to be the lowest layer when worn under plate armor.

In the live stream however the shirt appears to be the base layer and the gambeson is worn as the outside armor layer which is historically correct. Gambesons can be worn as sole protection.

5: Gambeson: this is a quilted coat similar to the padded chausses.

The gambeson was worn as a top layer garment for the poorer or lightly armored soldiers throughout history and appears in many different forms and in many different cultures. When in Europe mail was the pinnacle of armor (think the time of the crusades) gambesons usually reached down all the way to the knees or halfway up the thigh. This because the hauberk also was that low. With advances in plate armor the arms and legs were first to be encased in plate, the hauberk and gambeson both started to get smaller length wise since a plate now covered the upper tights. The sleeves however remained. The gambeson also covered the neck but sometimes a separate piece of quilted padding was used for this.

The final evolution of the gambeson worn under plate armor is the arming doublet, it had a lot of leather straps attached to it to attach the plate armor firmly to the doublet. One example is shown above where I showed how the leg armor is attached with straps. It also had integrated mail on the places the plate armor didn’t cover.

Kingdom come: Deliverance however takes place in 1403 which was something of a transitional period and a gambeson was worn under plate armor back then.

6: A mail hauberk/hauberg(e)on worn over the gambeson

Shorter than the mail hauberk worn during the crusades for reasons mentioned above. It reach just over the upper part of the upper leg to cover the hip joint and of course the family jewels. It’s length is somewhat comparable to a skirt.

*Note: It is called mail not chain mail, you don’t tie up someone with a hauberk. The word plate mail is an even worse offense.

The first two pictures show the length the hauberk would be, by the time of the third picture a hauberk was no longer worn under plate armor because the arming doublet came into existence. The mail you see in the pictures of those later armor is just a small piece of mail attached to a belt at waist level.

*Note: The armors displayed are just examples and a lot of variation exists in armor. The helmet in the 6th picture - an armet - was already worn in 1420-1430. Perhaps the artist just wanted to show a lot of helmet variation or he meant to portray an early close helmet which appeared around 1500.

7, 8, 9: Plate amor

It is further divided into Chest+Back plate(7), Gauntlets(8) and Arm+Shoulder armor(9).

Not much to be said. It’s shiny, it looks awesome , it protects you and might impress the ladies.

10: A belt. Perhaps it will also include a scabbard for the sword but not much information is released regarding that.

11: A cloth layer.

By the time of the game 1403 the long flowing surcoat of the Crusaders had been replaced by a shorter tabard like garment often decorated by heraldry. Besides looking good it also provides for easy identification between 100 other men clad in (almost) fully enclosing armor.

***As you may notice now I have listed 11 pieces of garment while only 10 slots are displayed it seems only 2 layers of chest armor are available but that is contrary to what was said in the video and what is historically accurate (should we ever try to claim such a thing). Perhaps mail and gambeson are combined into a single slot ***

slots 12 and 13 appear to be rings which brings us to the final 3-4 slots which cover the head.

The following is a bit confusing to me. What a knight of this period would be wearing is a bascinet with visor and mail aventail (depicted below).

The bascinet is a pointed helm which leaves the face exposed. However a visor can be attached which in turn can be raised and lowered when you need better vision or to catch a breath. Because plate armor of this period was not yet fully articulated around the neck a mail aventail was added to the bottom of the helmet. This bit of mail draped slightly over the chest and shoulders where it serves to protect the neck and adds another layer to the shoulder and chest area.

*Notice the bolts for aventail attachment above

*There is a lot of variation in visor types

The type of bascinet that offers the most protection is called the Great Bascinet, instead of an aventail it has a piece of plate armor protecting the neck, it greatly reduces the movement range of your head however.

To absorb concussive blows most helmets had a helmet liner like modern day motor helmets. The bascinet usually had a helmet liner inside the helmet which was attached by means of bolts down on the outside.

Earlier styles often had a separate padded piece of cloth to protect the head from concussive force, non padded variants were also worn in daily life instead of or combined with another hat.

In theory the bascinet with visor, aventail and helmet liner would be seen as a single piece of equipment for the head but it seems Warhorse Studio has decided to divide those components of the head protection into multiple layers instead of one. Since there are three slots for head armor and not one.

I theorize that the base layer is an arming cap and the upper layer a bascinet with visor. The upper layer is depicted as a hood in the top image and might signify decoration, however the avatar depicted there seems to wear the actual hood in a chest slot.

The last equipment slot shown is that of a necklace.

And that concludes my post, please note that I typed this all in one go and that English is not my native language. If you happen to read this five minutes after I post it you could see some completely unintelligible sentences I will correct those soon. [quote=“Dushin, post:1, topic:9396”]
*Note if I made a mistake in naming you are free to correct me.


Very nice, loved to read it. I knew a lot of these things but You gave me quite an insight on some details I didn’t hear of yet. Thank you very much for that!

Great post, I’m sure it will be especially useful to the less savvy members of the community.

Great post @Dushin , thanks for sharing and taking the time to put all of that together.

I would like to add this video:

It shows 4 types of armor and it’s the ones from 1380 and 1420 that are interesting since the in-game armor is somewhere in between. But since armor could last several lifetimes if not mishandled the poorer nobility might be seen wearing the 1380s armor around the time of the game.


Very nice post. I believe this will help to shed light on the character customization system for many forum members. Thank you for taking the time to compile this and sharing it with us Forum-Folk.

At your service :smile:

I hope Warhorse studio will soon give some more information on the rings,necklace and scabbard. I also still wonder if the sabatons (foot armor) are attached to the leg armor. I couldn’t quite catch that in the video.

I don’t know if there was anything mentioned like that before but I really wish Warhorse would implenent something like an Kingdom Come-Encyclopedia where you can find explanations and details about everything such as the meaning and importance of the different clothing.

In a way like Sid Meier is doing it in all his games.




Thankyou for taking the time to post that @Dushin .

Wow, what a fantastic, well-detailed explanation of amor!

Some nice pictures in OP.

On helmets, as well as padding under the bascinet, it could have a crest or visor or be covered with a greathelm, so actually there could be more slots.

I’m not an expert on transitional period body armour, does anyone know if the plate armour we’ve been shown is accurate to the year 1403 and vicinity of Bohemia?


The bascinet did indeed evolve from the bascinet worn under a great helm, however it evolved into a new type of helmet meant to be worn alone. This new type has a visor and was one of the first helms (besides the great helm) to have full face protection but at a much lower weight than the great helm. By 1403 I doubt many would still wear a great helm though.

The second question I cannot really help you with. Truthfully I am already glad the devs managed to get armor fitting the time with a margin for error of give or take 20 years.

That is referring to the full plate armor, the other armors we’ve been shown so far seem to be alright. Gambesons and kettlebell helmets etc.

EDIT: As a point of reference you could view the armors worn in famous battles around that time period. Agincourt is probably the most famous but prety far from Bohemia so I suggest you take a look at armor during the Hussite war and the battle of Grunwald.

the aventail is an attachment to the helmet. it’s compatible with the basincet

the “mail coif” is compatible with other types of helmets like the iron hat.

it’s not like war of the roses, where it’s all haphazardly researched and you wear mail coif under bascinet.

The great helm was falling out of use outside tournaments by this time, but not completely obsolete, so I think it would be cool to see them in-game. It could occuopy the visor slot, if there is one, since it wasn’t worn in conjunction with any visor.


Coifs were worn under bascinets before aventails gained popularity (earlier than the setting of this game or WotR). It would certainly be possible to wear them with later bascinets in place of an aventail, but it would be outdated and a waste of mail.

visor slot may possibly be separate so you can use different visors for the same basinet, or even take off the visor and just use the basinet. the hinge mechanism will of course be part of the visor model, with the base of the hinge or bolt that is attached to the bascinet weighted to the bascinet.

it seems there are two hood slots. one for the body(the mantle which can be worn with any helmet) and one for the head(like the green hood worn by the blacksmith, that can only be worn either by itself or with certain types of helmets)

Nice suggestion :smile: Could be very interesting

Yeah, you couldn’t just switch a klappvisor for a side mounted one. There are many types of both though and a visor slot sounds much more fun than two under-helm slots, especially in this period.

I would certainly like to see some of the Knights Teutonic to wear a horned great helmet, doesn’t matter how anachronistic that might be :slight_smile:

Excellent post. Very informative.