A kirtle is a tunic-like garment worn by men and women in the Middle Ages or, later, a one-piece garment worn by women from the later Middle Ages into the Baroque period. The kirtle was typically worn over a chemise or smock and under the formal outer garment or gown.
Kirtles were part of fashionable attire into the middle sixteenth century, and remained part of country or middle-class clothing into the seventeenth century.
Kirtles could be loose garments without a waist seam, or could be made as a combined bodice and petticoat, depending on their use and the current fashion. Kirtles typically laced up the back or side-back, especially when worn under front-lacing gowns as in sixteenth century Germany and the Low Countries.
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