The Medieval Gambeson as Winter Historybounding Jacket

We all *love* historybounding – wearing historical garments in modern contexts, mixed with modern dress or styling in some way great or small. It’s “secret” history…the muggles see an interesting jacket, but YOU know (and WE know) it’s actually a 17th century doublet, or an Edwardian duster…or in this case a medieval arming coat.

I’ve heard this time of year referred to as “Han Solo Season,” which always makes me laugh. It’s the time of year when (at least in the 20teens) skinny jeans with boots come out, paired with a puffer vest over a white Henley.

I mean…it’s still historical, recreating costume from a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away, right?

I do indeed own all of these things…but in the interest of oddity, I’ve upgraded my puffer vest to this:

This is the Armstreet Dark Star ladies’ gambeson. It’s a two-piece quilted linen garment made to go under medieval-friggin’-armor. The vest part is super comfy (although mine was a little too big) and looks good over a sweater (or that white Henley). My favorite thing about it is the round-cut skirt, which gives it that extra-interesting shaping beyond a modern straight-cut puffer vest, and also accommodates lady-booties.

The second piece – the sleeves – is a short under-jacket that laces up. It definitely takes some swagger to wear it on its own. Of note, it is quite bulky and is cut in a “T” shape, kindof. I’m sure it’s accurate, but it takes some getting used to. This set is sold together but also you can get the pieces separately.

The sleeved bodice for the gambeson.

The ladies gambesons now come in a bunch of different colors. Some have different fastenings – mine has buckles. Some are cotton, some linen, some wool. You can see them all here. Most of them are on sale right now too, but if you’re thinking of getting one give yourself plenty of time as the shipping from Europe takes quite awhile. 


  • Unknown

    December 17, 2020 at 3:42 AM

    I've had my eye on this set for a while, I'm in the process of making some armor for a larp and this would be a fabulous addition for so many reasons. But I have hesitated because I'm not sure which material would be the most comfortable in the summer. Does anyone have any suggestions? XD

    • Lauren Stowell

      December 18, 2020 at 12:02 AM

      Hi! I have the linen one, lined in linen. I will say it's very warm, even being linen. Since all the textile options are padded, though, and will all be warm, if I were choosing for Summer I would choose linen over anything else, followed by wool.

  • sam b

    December 29, 2020 at 9:17 PM

    My son's been asking me to make him something like this all year! I'll have to ask if he wants the sleeves sewn on or as the separate cropped jacket. Suddenly the more odd costumes from "romeo and juliet" make sense. I'm wondering if the cropped jacket part would suit for Regency or 1910's styles…

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