The Church found the fashion scandalous, some
prelates dubbing the garment the "Gates of Hell" in honor of what its gaping sides did
not cover. Seeing as the bodice of the surcoat only continued to grow narrower
into the 15th century, the Church's concerns seemed to have had little impact on the
ladies of high fashion.
No one questions whether men wore heraldic clothing in the Middle Ages. But there
has been some debate as to whether surcoates displaying heraldry were actually worn by
women. Whatever you believe, there's no doubt that they add to the pageantry in
the current middle ages.