Dress and monks in the later Middle Ages: Some points for discussion
The way a monk dressed was a central issue in monastic culture and civilisation. It gravelly addressed orderliness in a monastery, and the way it was respected by an individual monk, e.i. it pertained to the realm of his religious vocation — one should not forget that the body of a monk was sanctified by his belonging to a religious community. A brief survey of the sources, both normative and descriptive, demonstrates that the main part of the discussion is to be found in the famous polemic writings of St. Bernard, as well as at the times of the beginning of the Cluniac reforms (Odo of Cluny). It is nevertheless difficult to propose a typology of these sources, in particular when the par excellence descriptive sources (hagiography) tend to have a normative character as well, as they depict the saintly life, the ideal, which should be followed by all monks.