From REAL CRUSADES HISTORY: I have always felt that female fashion peaked in France some time around 1200. The bliaut stands out in history as a truly beautiful form of apparel, and still retains a lot of its appeal more so than other historical fashions. In Western Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the bliaut was the most popular dress worn by noblewomen. It featured voluminous skirts and horizontal puckering or pleating across a snugly fitted under bust abdomen. The sleeves are the most immediately notable feature (notice how they flare wide, creating that distinctive look so many associate with the medieval world). The sleeves fit closely from the shoulder to approximately the elbow, and then widen from the elbow to drape to floor- or nearly floor-length. The dress emerged in French-speaking regions, and spread to other parts of Europe. Like most medieval fashions, it was the product of the creativity of the noblewomen themselves, who designed and sewed their clothing and the clothing of noblemen as well. The statue below is from Chartres cathedral, and shows a woman wearing the distinctive bliaut. Notice the flaring sleeves and the sash tied around the waist.