A wimple is an ancient form of female headdress, formed of a large piece of cloth worn around the neck and chin, and covering the top of the head. Its use developed in early medieval Europe. At many stages of medieval Christian culture it was unseemly for a married woman to show her hair. A wimple might be elaborately starched, and creased and folded in prescribed ways, and later elaborated versions were supported on wire or wicker framing, such as the cornette.
Italian women abandoned their head cloths in the 15th century, or replaced them with transparent gauze, and showed their elaborate braids. Both elaborate braiding and elaborately laundered clothes demonstrated status, in that such grooming was being performed by others. Today the wimple is worn by certain nuns who retain a traditional habit.
Jan Van Eycks Giovanni Arnolfini and his Bride, 1434 Jan Van Eycks Portrait of Margaret van Eyck, 1439