A marchant was ther with a forked berd,
In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.

– Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue. To look at him you would say the Merchant was very successful and financially well off. He proudly sits on his horse wearing a multi-colored cloak, a Flemish beaver hat and handsome buckled boots. One would never suspect he was in debt.