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The word liripipe has had many different meanings throughout the centuries. While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of this word, it is assumed that a liripipe originally referred to a type of hood. Liripipe is derived from the Latin word liripipium, which had a number of unique meanings.
Fashion historians have discovered that the term liripipium has been used to refer to shoelaces, the sole of certain shoes, some types of hoods, and cords that can be found on clothing. In short, this term really didn't have one particular meaning.
During medieval times, a liripipe referred to the very tip of a long hood. As these hoods became more and more popular, the length of a typical liripipe grew from just a few inches to many feet. In fact, liripipes grew so long that they had to be wound around the circumference of a hood, so that people would not trip over their own hoods. Throughout the medieval years, liripipes changed drastically. Some of these hoods were embellished, while others included wide ribbons and lace. Eventually, this type of garment faded from the fashion scene, though it does survive today within the academic world.
During an academic ceremony, it is not uncommon for graduates to wear gowns with long hoods that have liripipes. Frequently, graduate gowns feature liripipes that are made from a multitude of colors. In most instances, the color of a graduate gown indicates the type of degree that a person has obtained. The term is not used on a frequent basis, though it is common within fashion circles. Even though many contemporary garments have hoods, most of the hoods added to garments today do not have long points.
Those who are interested in medieval garb may find replicas of cloaks that have been outfitted with liripipes. These cloaks can be purchased through various specialty retailers. Many different patterns can be found on the Internet, since many people enjoy fashioning clothing from bygone eras. While liripipes are not difficult to make, any item of clothing that features this type of hood is likely to stand out from the crowd.
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