A tabard is a short coat, either sleeveless, or with short sleeves or shoulder pieces, which is a common item of men’s clothing, usually for outdoors. It might be belted, or not. Tabards often are emblazoned on the front and back with a coat of arms.

A tabard was originally a humble outer garment of tunic form, generally without sleeves, worn by peasants, monks and foot-soldiers. Later tabards, now open at the sides and so usually belted, were worn by knights over their armor, and usually emblazoned with their arms, though occasionally worn plain. Around this time they were distinguished from surcoats by being open at the side, and by being shorter. These have become an important means of battlefield identification with the development of full plate armor as the use of shields has declined- at least among officers- in major engagements.



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