With the 500th and 450th anniversaries of Florida and our city approach, here assembled is a list of suppliers of various types of clothing we’re going to need for our portrayals. This note relates to the hosen, or full-length, footed leggings, that were introduced for nearly universal use by men during the medieval period and continued in use through the Renaissance… in other words, during the periods of Ponce de León through Menéndez. Hosen were worn with the long tunics of the Ponce period and under the flared breeches that followed.
There were several forms of hosen, the predecessors of modern stockings. The ones most universally applicable to our usage were, like modern dancing tights, full length from waist to toe.
Please remember that NO synthetic hose are allowed in living history re-enacting due to their proclivity to turn their wearers into human torches around gunpowder or open flame. Only natural fibers (cotton, wool, linen, hemp, jute, etc.) are acceptable. This is purely a matter of personal safety. Melted re-enactors are not happy re-enactors.
“Period correct” leggings/hosen can be purchased from Revival Clothing in both wool and, though less correct but much more comfortable in hot weather, cotton. The cotton hosen are available in a variety of colors. The site also shows how hosen was worn with doublets and other garments so you’ll be able to see how a man’s costume of the period was assembled.
Excellent quality and period correct boiled wool hosen are also available in a variety of colors from Historic Enterprises. From either of these sources, period correct joined hosen will cost between $115.00 and $135.00.
Unless you’re walking around exhibiting a short doublet and hosen with no overgarment like a long tunic or breeches, no one will see the ties, codpiece, and other details of the hose from the waist to the upper thigh. In the interest of economy, then, you can opt to wear cotton (usually with a bit of spandez mixed in) hosen. They fit snugly, are lightweight, and cost about $30.00 or so for a set. They’re not perfectly period correct, but they are very practical.
Museum Replicas has men’s cotton tights/leggings in light gray, black and brown for $30.00. These are not, however, footed leggings. Like ski pants, they have stirrups that require you to wear either stockings with boots to cover the stirrups or overstockings to be worn turned down with shoes.
Bal Tog manufactures 90% cotton, 10% lycra/spandex footed leggings that are thick enough to be opaque. The manufacturer’s site is here. At the bottom of their page there is a color chart link that, when clicked, shows all the colors available. These will cost between $30.00 and $35.00 per pair but they look good and will certainly do the job. You cannot buy directly from the factory. The closest dealer to us is A Dance Boutique, 1138 W. Granada Boulevard, Ormand, FL 32174, 386-671-2841.