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Jerkin vs. Doublet: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 1, 2023
A jerkin is a sleeveless, close-fitting jacket, often made of leather, worn in the 16th and 17th centuries. A doublet is a snug-fitting buttoned jacket, often with sleeves, worn by men in the same period.

Key Differences

Jerkins were traditionally sleeveless outer garments, typically made of leather or similar durable materials. Doublets, in contrast, were fitted, often sleeved jackets that served as the upper body garment.
A jerkin was primarily worn for practical purposes, providing additional warmth and protection. The doublet, however, was more of a fashion statement in menswear, often elaborately designed.
In terms of fashion history, the jerkin could be worn over the doublet as an additional layer. The doublet, on the other hand, was a fundamental part of a gentleman's attire and was usually worn over a shirt.
Jerkins could be adorned with simple decoration but were generally more utilitarian in design. Doublets were often richly decorated and made with expensive fabrics, reflecting the wearer's status.
The jerkin was a versatile garment, also worn by the working class for its durability. The doublet was a symbol of elegance and was typically worn by the upper classes and nobility.

Comparison Chart


Usually with sleeves


Often leather or durable fabrics
Made with various fabrics, often expensive


Practical, for warmth and protection
Fashionable, a key element of menswear

Worn Over/Under

Worn over doublets or shirts
Worn over shirts, sometimes under jerkins

Social Class

Worn by all classes, including working class
Associated with upper classes and nobility

Jerkin and Doublet Definitions


A practical upper garment, typically for outdoor work.
The farmer's jerkin was worn and weathered.


A buttoned upper garment popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Portraits from the era often show men wearing elaborate doublets.


A sleeveless jacket, often made of leather.
He wore a rugged jerkin over his shirt.


A snug-fitting jacket with sleeves, worn historically.
The nobleman's doublet was made of fine velvet.


A protective upper garment made from sturdy materials.
His leather jerkin protected him from the cold wind.


A fashionable jacket, often richly decorated.
His doublet was adorned with gold embroidery.


An outer vest-like garment, often associated with historical attire.
The actor's jerkin completed his Elizabethan costume.


An upper body garment that symbolized status and elegance.
The king's doublet was a symbol of his royal status.


A close-fitting outer garment worn in the past.
The historical reenactor donned a jerkin typical of the 16th century.


A key element of a gentleman's attire in historical times.
For the banquet, he chose a silk doublet.


A close-fitting, hip-length, collarless jacket having no sleeves but often extended shoulders, belted and worn over a doublet by men especially in the 1500s.


A close-fitting jacket, with or without sleeves, worn by European men from the late 1300s to around 1650.


A pair of similar or identical things.


What is a jerkin?

A jerkin is a sleeveless jacket often made of leather or similar materials.

When was the jerkin popular?

Jerkins were popular during the 16th to 18th centuries.

Are jerkins still worn today?

They are not common in modern fashion but may appear in historical reenactments or costumes.

Were jerkins decorative or functional?

They were primarily functional, offering warmth and protection, but could also be decorative.

Did jerkins have sleeves?

No, jerkins were generally sleeveless.

What were jerkins made of?

Typically, jerkins were made of leather, but wool and other fabrics were also used.

How were jerkins worn?

Jerkins were worn over shirts or doublets as part of the outer layer of clothing.

What differentiates a jerkin from a vest?

Jerkins are generally more robust, often made of leather, and historically specific, while vests are lighter and more varied in style.

When was the doublet in fashion?

Doublets were popular from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

Did women wear jerkins?

Generally, jerkins were a male garment, but some women's fashion incorporated jerkin-like designs.

Were doublets purely decorative?

They were both functional for warmth and highly decorative, often reflecting the wearer's social status.

Did children wear doublets?

Yes, boys often wore doublets similar to those of adult men.

Who wore jerkins?

Jerkins were worn by men of various social classes.

What is a doublet?

A doublet is a snug-fitting buttoned jacket that was commonly worn by men during the Renaissance.

How were doublets fastened?

Doublets were typically fastened with buttons or laces.

Are doublets worn today?

They are not part of contemporary fashion but are seen in historical reenactments, theater, and film.

What materials were used to make doublets?

Silk, velvet, and wool were common materials for doublets.

Did doublets have sleeves?

Yes, doublets typically had sleeves and were often elaborately decorated.

Who wore doublets?

Doublets were worn by men across different social classes, often reflecting their status through material and design.

How did doublets differ from jerkins?

Doublets were more form-fitting, usually with sleeves, and served as a shirt or undergarment, unlike the sleeveless and more outer-layer oriented jerkin.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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