Exploration One: Vikings Clothing


The Vikings appeared in the late 700’s were a power force across Europe, comparable to the Romans, not in function but in ruthlessness. They took on culture after culture, defeating, looting, and raping their women. They were not without moral code, their religion smiled upon being bitter on the battlefield, as your personal crusade legacy was one of the things that guaranteed you a place in Valhalla. The Vikings extreme confidence, and courage alone, while facing death in the eye, was one of the most effective battle techniques that made them such a powerful force during the dark ages.

The Viking culture, is in my opinion one of the most interesting anthropological studies to dive into. Their religion was incredibly unusual, and they really did bare their faith, and would die for their faith, which isn’t what made them unstoppable, it was their drive that was incarnated by their religion. I think that their religion was the reason for the Vikings legacy. Their faith led their culture to success.


The Vikings fashion sense was driven mostly towards warmth, their winters were harsh, long, and dark. They wove their cloth from mostly linen, and wool, and then layered themselves in animal skins. Belts, boots, and shoes would be made from leather, and helped make many different accessories. They used bone to create pins, and combs. The vikings were famous for their elaborate hairstyles, and grooming was very important to being socially stylish.

The Viking women’s braids were very intricate.

Women mostly wore dresses, in the winter it would be a thick woolen dress, which would drop to her ankles. This would be accompanied by layers, should the weather need it. In the warmer times of the year, their dress would change to a lighter, summer dress. Headwear wasn’t uncommon, but still in a simpler form. Braids, and long hair, was popular for women. Hoods were a way to keep the head warm. Brooches were the main form of jewelry, there were beads and combs which would tie onto their clothing, and use as a decoration, and status symbol. If you were from a higher class background, you’d be able to afford the nicest luxurious versions of these dresses.

Men wore a simple tunic, accompanied by a pair of hose - sort of like thick fitted trousers. They might wear a belt around their waist, and this would hang a couple personals on it. Money purses were popular, as well as hunting knives. Many men wore leather boots, and a hat atop their heads. It was popular for them to grow their facial hair, and braid bits of their mane.

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The Vikings most impressive artistry came in the form of woodwork, leather work, and metal work. They used simple materials, to create true art forms, and this was the last major culture to do so. After this point in history, artwork took a turn towards painting rather than craft. The Viking people would craft individual boats into perfection, their jewelry, and metal embellishment far succeeds many people today. They had an old mythical element in their artwork which has never been achieved in the same way. I wish more of their art had been saved, it’s one of my favorite periods.