I corresponded with Mistress Roxane Farabi, who sent me to her tailor re: my questions about color and pattern choice for artisan class. Master Safi al-Khansaa' was very kind and these are her comments:
Both cotton and wool were commonly used...especially for the inner layers, which, especially for the working classes, is what would have been worn. Silk, if used, would have been probably only on the top layer. Men especially, only used silk on their outer layers, as any garment next to their skin had to be cotton to be in keeping with the Hadith.
Most of the coats we have seen were lined in cotton as well, although that is not a hard and fast rule.
I am actually Roxane's personal tailor. I have made several coats for her out of wool which she loves very much in the winter months. One is lined in silk, and the other in linen. I have one wool coat myself lined in linen, and have another wool one cut out that will hopefully one of these days be sewed together...LOL. It will also be lined in linen.
But I actually find that unless it is very cold and I am standing outside in the middle of winter for an extended period for some reason, that a silk top layer and several cotton under layers is plenty warm in the cooler months. It is very rare that I need the wool overcoat. Roxane will tell you the same thing...which she laments...her red wool overcoat (called a Jobba) is a pretty one I made with a laurel wreath cloud collar and porcelain laurel buttons...she never gets to wear it because it makes her too hot most of the time.
You will find in alternating weights of fabrics, heavy and light, for shells and linings (which was actually done in the reverse with period garments...the lining was the heavier of the two) it traps in your body warmth and keeps you very protected against the cold.
It is a misconception among many people that Central Asian garb is "nice and cool." As you pointed out, much of Persia is actually quite mountainous, and was covered in snow for a portion of the year, making it obviously quite cold. Our garb is VERY warm, and is great in the winter months. It's actually not the greatest in the summer months, (it is actually downright HOT if you wear every single layer) but there are tricks to looking period and staying cool.
The lower classes would have worn more solid colors and stripes, these fabrics are much cheaper to make and therefore less expensive. These would have been used rather than complicated florals, brocades, or even block printed patterns, which was a actually a fabric called kalamkar, and it was imported from India, and very expensive. If this fabric is used, it would be on the top layer only, and used very sparingly.
A lower class woman would have a simple headdress, (but would still wear some sort of head covering...that is a must) but would be less covered, believe it or not, than the noble ladies of the upper class. These customs of priviledged veiling predate Islamic veiling customs by thousands of years (13th century BC) The higher a woman's rank was, the more likely she was to veil heavily. A simple fillet headband with a feather in the front, a small flat round cap with a square veil pinned to it, or even just a simple babushka tied under the chin are perfectly period and work very nicely for lower class ladies.
Persian dyeing was such an exact science and was done at such a production level that virtually any color was available to most of the classes. There are many colors in period, in Persia that were not available elsewhere until well after our period. Obviously there would have been some colors more common than others, such as indigo blue, various greens made from over dyeing indigo and different yellows, and purples made from cutch and cochineal, which were common dyes. If you were to wear a red or bright pink color, I would say in the lower classes, it would be better for the outer coat, as a color you would want to show off. These dyes, although still very available, were a little more expensive (lac, kermes, etc.) Rusts and reddish browns are very cheap and common (madder, henna, etc.) And some bright yellows are another color that again, would have been available, but you would use more sparingly...(saffron overdyes, etc)
The only color which you must avoid like the plague is black. If you would like to be period, do not wear black except for your shoes. This color was seen as unlucky, and the color of the devil. Sometimes you see people who look like they are wearing black in the miniatures, and they are actually wearing something that was painted with indigo that has turned black over time, or they actually might even represent the devil in a miniature...that sometimes actually happens.
I asked for more information about 'the Hadith' and got:
The Hadith are the oral sayings related to Muhammad, and is considered an important tool for understanding how to live the Muslim way of life. It outlines all sorts of things, including dress. It is written that after their earthly death, the faithful will be awarded with silk garments upon entering Paradise.
It was widely believed that the wearing of silk was impious and disrespectful to the Prophet's teachings, as it brazenly and selfishly showed Allah they had no need of silk garments in Paradise, as they had already purchased silk for themselves with their own wealth.
Those who were very religious often took an oath of poverty and only wore modest clothing, only of linen or cotton, with little or no adornments. Men who were religious, but also wanted to wear finery, got around this tenet by wearing cotton clothing next to the skin, and only wore silk in the very outer layers, even having their coats lined in cotton. This is why most pirihan are made of cotton. The 14th century pirihan made of silk is probably a woman's garment. Women had less stringent rules in this regard. They were seen as helpless, not
being able to control themselves, much like children...not knowing any better. Most pirihan are of light colors...unbleached, undyed fabric (off-white, etc.) Any color on it was usually that of embroidery. This is probably because dyed fabrics, which are more expensive, were saved for the outer layers that are noticeable.
Men also wore a special kind of pirihan called a talisman pirihan, or talisman shirt. Some people think that a talisman shirt is a different garment than a pirihan, but it is important to understand what the word pirihan means. All it means is, generally, undershirt. Just like the word, underwear. Just as there are different kinds of underwear, there are different pirihan. A talisman pirihan had religious inscriptions, tiraz bands, and sometimes numerical symbols written on them. Some of these shirts look like they were planned out in a mathematical/magical way, some do not. A boy was given a shirt like this when he turned 12, and he wore them from that time on. It is unclear exactly what boys/men wore them, but definitely all of the middle to upper classes did. The inscriptions on the shirt were meant to protect the wearer from harm.
Great stuff - much thanks and gratitude for Master Safi's kindness, and thank you to Mistress Roxane for forwarding my questions.
Looks like I can proceed with my plans for those fabrics after all - providing there's enough! (yes, yes, I know it's been hours since I last worried about that, and it doesn't take that long to doublecheck measurements for yardage, but I'm simultaneously scanning ILL Persian garden books that have to go back next week (whyohwhydoILLbooksALWAYSshowupwhenmostinconvenient), and I'm working. Really. I promise I'll get to the doublecheck tomorrow.)