Alexander Kazhdan recently observed with great justice that ‘the history of Byzantine costume is still to be written and will be difficult to write’ (Kazhdan 1998: 13). The prevailing picture of Byzantine clothing remains to this day highly distorted and unrealistic. The distortions stem initially from the tendency of Byzantine pictorial art to stylisation, and stylisation of a sometimes subtle kind. The effect of this factor has then been very much exaggerated by the long-standing practice of art historians of studying and reproducing only a narrow sampling of imperial and religious art, and by the lack of linguistic and art-critical skills on the part of those more popular authors who have written on the specific subject of Byzantine dress. (The only work largely devoted to this subject is Houston 1966. More encyclopaedic works treat it in a more cursory manner: Black 1978; Boucher 1987; Kohler 1963; Payne 1965; Tilke 1956.) Attention to aspects of dress in more scholarly studies have focused exclusively upon particular items of imperial or religious regalia, and so have done nothing to broaden the picture in the direction of the wider society (Kondakov 1924; Piltz 1976, c.1977, 1997. Note also de Waha 1978 who draws attention to the caution with which Piltz’s work should be approached.).