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1st Answer:

Until modern times it was considered improper for a woman to show her legs or ankles. The only women who showed their bodies were the prostitutes who worked the streets. Doctors couldn't look at a woman's body undressed.

2nd Answer:

Medieval women wore long dresses partly because it was the fashion; during some parts of the Middle Ages, long dresses had trains that dragged on the floors. We see pictures of these dresses often in medieval pictures of wealthy women. Of course the pictures also show very clean tile floors.

In many places they also needed long dresses to keep warm because the methods used at the time for heating were very primitive.

The idea that medieval women wore long dresses out of modesty is probably incorrect, for at least part of the time. I went to a related question (linked below) to look at medieval dresses at the source links it has. One piece of Anglo saxon artwork I came across portrays the Virgin Mary standing in a medieval dress short enough that her feet and ankles were clearly visible. While most of the rest of the artwork does not show women's feet and ankles, several pieces do. An article on the Black Death (linked below) has a contemporary picture of a plague scene used as a Bible illustration; in it, a doctor is tending two plague victims, whose bodies are largely uncovered, the woman from the waste up, the man from thighs down. According to an article on the history of nudity (linked below) medieval people were baptised by immersion nude until the beginning of the 8th century, about a quarter of the way through the Middle Ages. I have seen a number of pictures of men and women bathing together in medieval bath houses, which seem to have been common enough that even some larger villages had them. I came across one medieval picture of the Virgin Mary bathing, in which her body was fully visible from the waiste up. And I see from articles on medieval attitudes that people swam, and were nearly always naked when they did so until the 17th century.

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13y ago
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13y ago

Because of the same reasons every other culture wears clothes. Although their clothes were much different than the fashions of today, they still are clothes.

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14y ago

It showed royalty.

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Q: Why did women in the middle ages wear heavy gowns?
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