Over the top of their doublets (a slightly padded overshirt) and jerkins (a close-fitting, often sleeveless, jacket), men of the sixteenth century wore a number of jackets or cloaks. These cloaks were worn for warmth but also for decoration. Some were made in a material that matched the wearer's hose. Late in the century one such cloak, called a mandilion, was used almost entirely for decorative purposes. The mandilion was a long-sleeved, hip-length cloak that opened down the front; it could be made of silk, velvet, linen, or other fabrics.

What made the mandilion unusual was the way it was worn, especially by the soldiers among whom it was popular. Instead of wearing it over both shoulders like a regular cloak, stylish men draped the mandilion over one shoulder, leaving one sleeve hanging down the front and the other down the back. For reasons that are not known, to wear the mandilion in this manner was called "Collie-Westonward." It became so common to wear the mandilion this way, according to fashion historian Virginia LaMar in English Dress in the Age of Shakespeare, that tailors eventually made the jackets with false sleeves since they were never used.


LaMar, Virginia A. English Dress in the Age of Shakespeare. Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1958.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

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