A Day of Historical Costume Lectures 
with Robin Netherton 

in the Washington DC Metro Area on Saturday, October 16th, 2004  

purple rule


  Robin Netherton is an independent scholar specializing in dress of the Middle Ages. Since 1982, she has given lectures and workshops for academic audiences, historical societies, reenactment groups, and writers' organizations, both on practical aspects of period costume and on costume as an approach to social history, art history, and literature. She is co-editor (with Gale Owen-Crocker) of the academic journal Medieval Clothing & Textiles. As founders of the study group DISTAFF, she and Dr. Owen-Crock er organize several sessions on medieval dress and textiles each year at the International Congresses on Medieval Studies. Ms. Netherton's research focuses on the development of the cut of Western European clothing in the 12th through 15th centuries, and also on the depiction and interpretation of clothing by artists and historians. Her analysis of the construction of an early Norman dress style, published in the Spring 2001 Costume Research Journal, was reprinted in the Winter 2002 Tournaments Illuminated.


Details: Each lecture will be followed by a question and answer period. Participants may bring lunch or eat at any of several nearby eateries. At the speaker's request, no audio or video taping of the lectures will be permitted. This is not an SCA event.

Cost and Reservations : Cost is $35.00 for those who pre-register. If space is still available, cost at the door will be $50.00. To pre-register, mail your check or money order to Jerry Rorstrom-Lee, 600 Cedar Street NW, Washington, DC 20012.

For More Info: Contact Jerry Rorstrom-Lee at (202) 291-3562 or


Location: The Sligo-Dennis Avenue Recreation Center at Sligo-Dennis Avenue Local Park (10200 Sligo Creek Parkway) in Silver Spring, Maryland. The recreation center has some kitchen facilities including a refrigerator and a warming oven. You can conveniently drive to fast food and restaurants from the rec center, but none are within immediate walking distance. The facility is handicapped accessible. There is parking, but since it's shared with all those using the park, car pooling or using the Metro subway is suggested.

Directions via Car: From I-495 (the DC Beltway), take Georgia Avenue north (towards Wheaton). Make a right at the 3rd light, Dennis Avenue. Follow thru traffic light to a 4-way stop (Sligo Creek Parkway). Make a left on Sligo Creek Parkway. The Sligo-Dennis Avenue Recreation Center is immediately on the left. Map

Directions From the Metro: Take the subway to the Forest Glen station on the Red Line. Exit the station and walk east on Forest Glen Ave. Cross over Georgia Avenue and continue for another mile. Turn left on Sligo Avenue and walk north for one mile. The Sligo-Dennis Avenue Recreation Center is on the left. Rides to/from the Forest Glen Metro Station can be arranged by contacting Jerry Rorstrom-Lee -in advance- at (202) 291-3562 or

Hotel Information: Info on nearby hotels will be posted soon!



The Gothic Fitted Dress

The fitted fashion popular throughout much of Europe in the late 14th century and early 15th century has been the object of much speculation, regarding such matters as who wore it, how it was made, and even what it was called. (The term "cotehardie," often applied to this style, was most likely not the term used by the women who wore it.) A detailed analysis shows the various versions and uses of this style, how it evolved from earlier unfitted fashions, and how it formed the basis for the development of the more structured fashions of the 15th and 16th centuries. The lecture examines some likely construction techniques as well as the social significance of the fashion and its presentation in artwork.


The Greenland Gored Gown

Costume references frequently cite the garment finds from the 14th- century cemetery at Herjolfsnes, Greenland, as examples of medieval European clothing construction. This lecture re-examines some common assumptions about these gowns in light of overlooked details in the original study report, the cultural context of the Greenland colony, and the likely methods of clothing construction used by the Greenlanders. The discussion gives special attention to the oft-cited "10-gore" gown and how it might influence our understanding of 14th-century European fashion.


The 15th-Century V-Neck Gown

The so-called "Burgundian" style that dominates much of 15th-century fashion in Western Europe is in fact two separate styles, which have distinctive characteristics and are apparently constructed in two completely different ways. An examination of artwork over the course of the century demonstrates the differences and provides clues as to how the two styles developed and the ways in which they may have been made.


When Medieval Meets Victorian: The Roots of Modern Costume Sources

Too often, today's costume sources present "facts" about medieval and Renaissance costume that are actually misinterpretations dating from the Victorian era. This lecture traces the development of modern costume scholarship and examines the motives and methods of 19th-century costume historians. Armed with this information, 21st-century costumers can learn how to recognize -- and compensate for -- Victorian influence in current sources.


The Problem of Women's Heraldic Dress

The image of the medieval noblewoman wearing a gown that displays a full-body coat-of-arms has long been popular among costume historians, theater designers, artists, and re-enactors. However, an analysis of archaeological ev idence, documentary records, and visual images from the period raises serious questions about the nature and use of such clothing. Practical construction problems complicate the issue further. This lecture traces the development of the modern concept of women's heraldic dress and examines the options for the modern re-enactor faced with reconciling the popular image with the historical evidence.