Shadiversity has an interesting non-work safe video on medieval sex. (It’s not racy… it’s just not a safe topic for your work computer. They speak frankly.) Generally a good video, although it seems to have some strange ideas about the practices of medieval Catholicism. Just because it’s in a reference book, that doesn’t mean somebody was asking every question. (Outside of things like general confessions for somebody’s entire lives… and even then!)
Anyway, reenactor/researcher Rosalie Gilbert points out that, during her 13th century period, one could show quite a lot of decolletage in dresses, even though hair and sleeves were covered.
Here’s the rule, straight from a queen:
“A decent woman doesn’t have a dress cut lower than her armpit.”
Depending on the positioning of one’s bust, that could be fairly low!
Of course, this was a time when the preferred young lady bosom was often compared to “apples,” and we’re not talking jumbo apples like we have today. So the low cut may have been a kindly gesture, as it was to the young English stick ladies in the Regency… but also it’s good for older ladies of more bosom to be able to…um… lead fashion. Yeah.