Clothes and Personality


Fashion and clothes were a critical part during and after the medieval times, while some people regarded clothes to be real definitions of individuals, some believed that clothes did not provide or define an individual’s traits. However, despite the side that people chose fashion and clothes remained a key aspect to explain the different situations and conditions that occurred before, during and after the medieval times. Clothing should not be at any point be allowed to reveal the identity of people as people’s identity is so far much different than the clothes that they wear. The paper, therefore, aims to prove that we cannot use an individual’s clothes to explain their identity or personality.

Jones and Stallbrass argument about clothes fashioning person’s identity in the late medieval times, this has changed with time so that fashion do not really form the person’s identity. This was as a result of change of way clothing styles have changed over time. In the medieval times the story about Griselda does not support person identity formed as w result of clothing one wears, Griselda was from a humble background and despite being in a lowly family, she turns out to be one among the wisest. In addition, she was married to marquisate of Saluzzo known as Gualtieri and it was at this point her obedience and patience were put to test when she was told to give up her both children for a sacrifice and she did not protest. The clothes that Griselda usually wore were ragged clothes due to the poor state of her family. Griselda, however, shows that her wisdom is beyond the clothes that she wears as she is ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of her husband’s happiness.


Griselda identity is therefore not independent on the clothes that she wears as even when she was betrothed to Gualtieri and moved on from wearing shift dresses to wearing expensive robes she never had a change in character. Griselda remains humble and always listens to her husband all times giving in to his wishes and doing as it pleases him.

The medieval period marked the end of the link between a person’s identity and the type of clothes he/she wore. There were clothes specifically designed to show affluence; this included expensive robes and garments. This included the robes that Gualtieri used to wear to show his position in the society. At the same time, there were garments associated with the low in the society as they signified poverty. The shift dress that Griselda wears as she exists Gualtieri’s house back to his home as a result of the alleged divorce conspired by Gualtieri shows the state of lowliness. Griselda even pleads with Gualtieri not to let her go away naked as her dignity would be further lowered if she did so.

After all the tests are done, Gualtieri rewards Griselda by reinstating her back to her position and giving her back everything that she had taken from her. The luxurious robes are given back to her to symbolize that now her position in the society had again completely changed. But despite all this, Griselda remains the same, and she does not change her character regardless of the different garments that she wears in her lifetime, from wearing shift dresses to robes her attitude remains unshaken.

Griselda wore beggarly attire during the period of ‘welcoming the new bride,’ Griselda even accepts to attend the wedding of Gualtieri and his ‘newly found bride.’ She agrees to stay until the wedding ceremony of the bride after which would see her go back to her father to take care of the sheep and forget about Gualtieri. This was more than torture that Gualtieri was making Griselda go through and had it not been that Griselda was one among the wisest women at the time, not many would have persevered.

Tale picture one appears to be the engagement between the Gualtieri’s followers and Gualtieri as they pursue and try to convince him to marry and have a wife for himself. The followers of Gualtieri insist that rather than having only hunting and hawking all the time of his life, he should look for a woman to marry and have a family of his own. This approach is not met well by Gualtieri as she believes she cannot find a person that matches her position in the society. Gualtieri’s followers even offer to get him a wife that matches and fits her expectations and whose parentage was good. Gualtieri, however, is still stubborn and insists that he would be able to find a woman that would please him and adapt to his way of living. Gualtieri even uses his wisdom to condemn his flowers claiming that parentage could not determine the character. He insists that most daughters do not take after their parents and instead he insists on taking the blame for his actions to himself by being the one to choose the bride. Gualtieri even goes further by threatening his followers that if they failed to honor the lady that she would choose for betrothal and marriage they would regret and know the cost of how serious the matter of urging him to marry against his will be.

Tale picture three appears to be the moment when Griselda is betrothed to Gualtieri as a result of her will and her father’s agreement. Griselda is made to strip naked in front of everybody present in the gathering that had brought Gualtieri to the bride’s house this was to test how obedient she was and to what extent she would persevere. This is a demeaning act but in spite of all, Griselda had vowed always to do anything that pleases his husband Gualtieri and had done this in the presence of his father. Griselda would therefore not refuse to strip naked as all she would always do please his husband although her feelings that would be contrary to her wants. Griselda is then covered in an expensive robe to signify the affluence of Gualtieri, a crown to show that she was the bride chosen by Gualtieri and a ring to act as a symbol of the marriage between Griselda and Gualtieri.

Tale picture four appears to be the period when Griselda’s family were handing her over to Gualtieri’s followers for marriage. The clothes that Griselda wears indicates the level of poverty that her family was in and as shown by the painted image by Appollonio di Giovnni, she is not even able to afford a full dress. This is unlike his husband to be expectations since Gualtieri had tailored a quantity of fine rich robes that he wanted to use during his wedding and the clothes were meant to fit a girl whose he intended to marry. The image in tale picture 4 is after she had been betrothed to Gualtieri and now was being crowned as the wife who had been chosen by Gualtieri. The expensive robe, shoes, and crown were a sign of affluence and this was what was clothed to Griselda an indication that she would not be living a life of lowliness anymore. The author explains in the context that Griselda looked entirely different and that the clothes signified the new life that had just begun for her away from the poverty that was in her household. Gualtieri eventually recognized Griseldas faithfulness, patience as well as sincerity when he revealed to her all the trials he had devised inorder to assess her layolty. Griselda proved that clothing does not form someone personality or identity. Despite her husband painful test presented to her without prior knowledge, she remained loyal to her husband. Even after being informed to take part in pseudo wedding that would lead to her being united to her children she willing accepted the offer. Eventually she was crowned as Gualteris obedient and patient wife.


Fashion, referred to as way clothing styles was regarded as an essential aspect in the medieval period. Conversely, the aspect changed during renaissance so that fashion was no longer used to form a person identity. The different types of clothing and fashion indicated that different person was considered in the society as being affluent or poor according to the clothes they wore. Certain clothes also form a person’s identity while some just signified an event that was there present in a moment in time. However, Griselda does not allow herself to be changed by the clothes that she wears and consistently remains loyal despite all that she undergoes in the hands of her betrothed husband, Gualtieri. After testing her patience and loyalty, gualteria recognized her faithfulness and crowned her since her personality did not change. This, therefore, proves that despite all that comes through life, personal identify is not altered by the clothes worn.