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A wimple is a garment worn around the neck and chin, and which usually covers the head. Its use developed among women in early medieval Europe. At many stages of medieval 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, even supported on wire or wicker framing (cornette).
Italian women abandoned their headcloths in the 15th century, or replaced them with transparent gauze, and showed their elaborate braids. Both elaborate laundry and elaborate braiding demonstrated status, in that such grooming was being performed by others. Today the wimple is worn by some nuns who still don the traditional habit. 
Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales has the Wife of Bath and also the Prioress depicted wearing them. The King James Version explicitly lists wimples in Isaiah 3:22 as one of a list of female fineries, however the Hebrew word "miṭpaḥoth" (וְהַמִּטְפָּחוֹת) means kerchief.