What Did Vikings Wear?


The Vikings were fierce and adventurous seafarers from Scandinavia who lived over a thousand years ago. Their epic voyages, warrior spirit, and unique way of life have always intrigued historians. But what did Vikings wear?

You might think you know how Vikings liked to dress based on movies, art, and history books. However, you’ll be surprised at some of the more interesting Viking fashion choices. Let’s take a journey back in time to discover what Vikings wore and how their clothing helped them navigate their rugged world.

Layers for Warmth

Vikings were familiar with the challenges posed by their cold and unpredictable climate. To combat biting winds and frosty temperatures, these seafaring adventurers developed a practical approach to clothing. Layering became their secret weapon.

By cleverly combining different garments, the Vikings were able to stay warm and comfortable, whether battling the elements on a longship or tending to daily chores. It’s no wonder that Viking fashion has crept into modern style because it helps keep people toasty!

Tunic Foundations

At the heart of Viking clothing was the tunic – a long shirt-like garment made from sturdy materials like wool or linen. The tunic served as the foundation upon which the layers were built. Men and women both wore tunics, though the lengths and styles did differ.

The tunics were often cinched at the waist with belts, ensuring a snug fit that helped to trap body heat close to the skin.

Woolen Cloaks

One of the most iconic elements of Viking clothing was the woolen cloak. Worn over the tunic, these cloaks were crafted from thick wool and draped over the shoulders and body.
The cloak’s primary function was to provide an extra layer of insulation against the harsh cold. Its generous size allowed Vikings to wrap themselves snugly, creating a barrier against the chilling winds. These cloaks were not only practical but also versatile, doubling as makeshift blankets during rest.

Outer Jackets

For additional protection against the elements, Vikings often added an outer jacket on top of their tunics and cloaks. These jackets, usually made from wool or other warm fabrics, acted as a barrier against moisture and cold air. They were often fastened with buttons or toggles, allowing Vikings to secure them tightly and trap warmth within the layers.

Leg Wraps and Warmers

Vikings recognized the importance of insulating their lower limbs as well. Alongside their woolen trousers, they often wrapped strips of cloth or wool around their lower legs. These leg wraps not only added an extra layer of warmth but also prevented wear and tear on their trousers, which was crucial during their demanding activities.

If you’re interested in checking out a range of Viking trouser options, click for Viking pants!

Stylish Accessories

Viking outfits weren’t just about staying warm. They also showcased their sense of style. Both men and women adorned themselves with jewelry like brooches, necklaces, and rings made from materials like silver, bronze, and gold.

These accessories not only added flair to their clothing but also displayed their wealth. Some were even used as a status symbol.

Footwear for Adventure

Walking through rough terrains and sailing on their longships required sturdy footwear. Vikings wore leather or woolen shoes that were simple yet effective in keeping their feet safe and comfortable. In wet conditions, they might use higher boots to keep their feet dry.

Headgear and Hats

In the rugged and unforgiving lands of the Vikings, proper headgear was not just a matter of fashion but a necessity for survival. The Vikings ingeniously designed their headgear to protect against the elements while also displaying their individuality and social status.
From practical woolen caps to battle-ready helmets, their headwear served a variety of purposes in their daily lives.

Woolen Caps and Hats

When facing the chilly winds and icy weather, Vikings turned to woolen caps and hats to keep their heads warm and shielded. Crafted from wool or other insulating materials, these head coverings were essential in maintaining body heat and preventing frostbite.
Vikings would pull down the caps over their ears and forehead, ensuring maximum coverage against the biting cold.

Hooded Garments

Hooded garments were a versatile addition to Viking headgear. Much like modern hoodies, these hoods were attached to various outer garments such as cloaks and jackets.
The hoods could be pulled up over the head, offering protection against not only the cold but also snow, rain, and harsh winds. This adaptable feature made hoods a staple in the Viking wardrobe.

Headbands and Brooches

To keep their hair in check and add a touch of decoration, Vikings often used headbands or brooches. These accessories served dual purposes – holding back hair from their faces and securing head coverings in place.

Made from materials like metal or leather, these simple yet practical adornments were part of the Viking’s overall headgear ensemble.

Metal Helmets

In times of warfare, Vikings had a more robust option for headgear – metal helmets. Unlike the elaborate horned helmets often depicted in modern media, Viking helmets were designed for practicality and protection.

They typically featured a rounded or conical shape, with a nose guard and a simple, solid design. Metal helmets were crucial in battles, safeguarding the head from blows and strikes.

Dispelling the Horned Helmet Myth

Contrary to popular belief, Vikings did not wear helmets adorned with horns into battle. The famous horned helmet image is largely a misconception perpetuated by art and media.
Such helmets would have been impractical in combat, as they could easily be grabbed by opponents and hinder movement. Instead, the Vikings opted for functional and efficient helmet designs that prioritized safety.

So, What Did Vikings Wear?

What did Vikings wear? Viking clothing was a blend of practicality, style, and adaptability. The Vikings crafted their outfits to withstand the challenges of their environment. But they also used them to express their individuality and social standing.

From tunics and layers to accessories and footwear, their clothing was a reflection of their unique way of life. Through their distinct attire, the Vikings left a lasting mark on history and continue to capture our imagination today.

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