- 1550-1600 in fashion
Fashion in the period 1550-1600 in
Western European clothingis characterized by increased opulence, the rise of the ruff, the expansion of the farthingalefor women, and, for men, the disappearance of the codpiece.
The Spanish style
Charles V, king of
Spain, Naples, and Sicilyand Holy Roman Emperor, handed over the kingdom of Spain to his son Philip II and the Empire to his brother Maximilian II in 1558, ending the domination of western Europe by a single court, but the Spanish taste for sombre richness of dress would dominate fashion for the remainder of the century.Boucher, François: "20,000 Years of Fashion"] , Ashelford, Jane: "The Art of Dress: Clothing and Society 1500-1914", Abrams, 1996.] New alliances and trading patterns arose as the divide between Catholicand Protestantcountries became more pronounced.
The severe, rigid fashions of the Spanish court were dominant everywhere except
Franceand Italy; black garments were worn for the most formal occasions. Regional styles were still distinct though. [Fernand Braudel, "Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Centuries, Vol 1: The Structures of Everyday Life," p. 317, William Collins & Sons, London 1981] Janet Arnoldin her analysis of Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe records identifies French, Italian, Dutch, and Polish styles for bodices and sleeves, as well as Spanish.Arnold, Janet: "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd", W S Maney and Son Ltd, Leeds 1988. ISBN 0-901286-20-6]
Linen ruffs worn at Court grew from a narrow frill at neck and wrists to a broad "cartwheel" style that required a wire support by the 1580s. Later ruffs were made of delicate
reticella, a cutworklace that evolved into the needlelaces of the seventeenth century. [Montupet, Janine, and Ghislaine Schoeller: "Lace: The Elegant Web", ISBN 0-8109-3553-8]
Fabrics and trims
The general trend toward abundant surface ornamentation in the
Elizabethan Erawas mirrored in clothing, especially amongst the aristocracyin England: shirts and chemises were embroidered with blackworkand edged in lace, and heavy cut velvets and brocades were further ornamented with applied bobbin lace, goldand silverembroidery, and jewels.Arnold, Janet: "Patterns of Fashion: the cut and construction of clothes for men and women 1560-1620", Macmillan 1985. Revised edition 1986. (ISBN 0-89676-083-9)] Toward the end of the period, polychrome (multicolored) silk embroidery became fashionable.Digby, George Wingfield: "Elizabethan Embroidery", Thomas Yoseloff ] .
Clothing was fastened with
buttons or tied with cord or ribbon"points". For the wealthy, buttons were made of silver and gold and set with gemstones, and points were tipped with aiguillettes or aiglets of precious metals.Scarisbrick, Diana, "Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery", London, Tate Publishing, 1995, p. 97]
By the end of the period, a sharp distinction could be seen between the sober fashions favored by
Protestantsin England and the Netherlands, which still showed heavy Spanish influence, and the light, revealing fashions of the French and Italian courts; this distinction would carry over well into the seventeenth century...
Bodices and sleeves
The narrow-shouldered, wide-cuffed "trumpet" sleeves characteristic of the 1540s and 1550s disappeared with the accession of Elizabeth, in favor of French and Spanish styles with narrower sleeves. Ashelford, Jane: "The Visual History of Costume: The Sixteenth Century", 1983 edition (ISBN 0-89676-076-6), 1994 reprint (ISBN 0-7134-6828-9)]
Emphasis was on high or wide shoulders. Slashed upper sleeves with puffs of the chemise pulled through, seen in Italian dress in the 1560s, evolved into single or double rows of loops at the shoulder with contrasting linings. By the 1580s these had been adapted in England as padded and jeweled "shoulder rolls".
Bodices could be high-necked or have a broad, low, square neckline, often with a slight arch at the front early in the period. French, Spanish, and English bodices were stiffened into a cone shape or worn over corsets. Bodices fastened with hooks in front or were laced at the side-back seam; high-necked bodices styled like men's doublets might fasten with hooks or buttons. The bodice ended in a V-shape at the front waist in French, English, and Spanish fashion. Italian and German fashion retained the front-laced bodice of the previous period, with the ties laced in parallel rows; Italian fashion uniquely featured a broad U-shape rather than a V at the front waist.
A low neckline could be filled in with a "partlet". English partlets were usually of embroidered linen with matching sleeves. Embroidered sets of partlet and sleeves were frequently given to Elizabeth as New Year's gifts. Alternatively, a high-necked chemise with a standing collar and ruff could be worn.
Gowns with hanging sleeves in various styles, often lined in
fur, were worn as an extra layer indoors and out through the period. Loose gowns of the 1560s hung from the shoulders, and some had puffed upper sleeves. Loose gowns could be worn over a one-piece "kirtle" or under-dress, usually laced at the back...
Later gowns were fitted to the figure and had full or round sleeves with a wristband. These were worn over a bodice and matching skirt or
petticoatand undersleeves. Extremely long hanging sleeves came into fashion at the end of the period.
The fashion for skirts worn open at the front to display a rich petticoat or separate "forepart" continued into the 1580s. The forepart was a heavily decorated panel to fill in the front opening; it might be sewn to a plain petticoat or pinned in place. Often the forepart matched the bodice sleeves.
During this period,
underwearconsisted of a linenchemise or smock and (optionally) linen drawers. The chemise could have a low, square neckline or a high collar and ruff like a man's shirt. Fine chemises were embroidered and trimmed with narrow lace.
To shape the figure, the fashionable lady wore a
corsetcalled a "pair of bodies". Her skirts were held in the proper shape by a farthingaleor hoop skirt. In Spain, the cone-shaped "Spanish farthingale" remained in fashion into the early 17th century. It was only briefly fashionable in France, where a padded roll or "French farthingale" held the skirts out in a rounded shape at the waist, falling in soft folds to the floor. In England, the Spanish farthingale was worn through the 1570s, and was gradually replaced by the French farthingale. By the 1590s, skirts were pinned to wide wheel farthingales to achieve a drum shape.
Italian women wore skirts gathered at the waist, without hoops.
Women wore sturdy overskirts call "safeguards" over their gowns for riding or travel on dirty roads. Hooded cloaks were worn overall in bad weather.
The fashion for wearing or carrying the
peltof a sableor martenspread from continental Europe into England in this period; costume historians call these accessories "zibellini" or "flea furs". The most expensive zibellini had faces and paws of goldsmith's work with jewelled eyes. Queen Elizabeth received one as a New Years gift in 1584.Sherrill, Tawny: "Fleas, Furs, and Fashions: "Zibellini" as Luxury Accessories of the Renaissance", in Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker, editors, "Medieval Clothing and Textiles", Volume 2, p. 121-150]
Gloves of perfumed leather featured embroidered cuffs.
Hairstyles and headgear
Early in the period, hair was parted in the center and fluffed over the temples; later front hair was curled and puffed high over the forehead. Wigs and false hairpieces were used to extend the hair.
In keeping with tradition, married women in Northern Europe wore their hair pinned up and covered. A close-fitting linen cap called a
coifor "biggins" was worn, alone or under other hats or hoods, especially in the Netherlands and England; many embroidered and bobbin-lace-trimmed English coifs survive from this period. A style called in French at "attifet" was wired or starched into a slight heart-shape; it is called a "Mary Stuart cap" by costume historians, after the Queen of Scots who wears this French style in several portraits. Flemish and French hoods were worn into the 1560s (and later farther from Court and great cities).
Another fashionable headdress was a "caul" or cap of net-work lined in silk attached to a band, which covered the pinned up hair, which had been seen in Germany in the first half of the century [Köhler, "History of Costume"] .
In this period, women began to wear
hats similar to those worn by men, usually over a caul or coif. This fashion was deplored by Puritancommentator Philip Stubbesin his "Anatomie of Abuses" 1583 (although a tall hat would become a characteristic of Puritan women's costume in the 1590s and for half a century thereafter, contributing to the popular notion of "Pilgrim" dress).
mourningwore black hoods with sheer black veils. First-time brides wore their hair down in token of virginity and wore orange blossoms in their hair.
tyle gallery 1550s
# of the early 1550s features a loose gown of light-weight silk over a bodice and skirt (or kirtle) and an open-necked partlet.
# of 1554: A black gown with high puffed upper sleeves is worn over a black bodice and a gray skirt with black trim. The high-necked chemise or partlet is worn open with the three pairs of ties that fasten it dangling free.
# wears Italian fashion of 1555. The front-lacing bodice remained fashionable in Italy and the German States. She appears to be wearing a straight-bodied corset.
# in a gown with a high-arched bodice fur-lined "trumpet" sleeves, over a pink forepart and matching paned undersleeves, c. 1555.
# wears a brocade gown with fur-lined "trumpet" sleeves and a matching overpartlet with a flared collar, 1555-58. Neither the sleeves nor the overpartlet would survive as fashionable items in England into the 1560s.
# wears a blue gown with a flared collar and tight undersleeves with horizontal trim. The uncorseted S-shaped figure is clearly shown, 1555-57.
# wears a gold-colored gown with tied-on sleeves and a chemise with a wide band of gold embroidery at the neckline. She holds a jewelled fur or zibellino suspended from her waist by a gold chain, Lombardy (Northern Italy), 1557.
tyle gallery 1560s
# wears a red loose gown over a bodice and a sheer linen partlet. Her brown gloves have tan cuffs, 1560.
# wears the high-collared gown of the 1560s with puffed hanging sleeves. Under it she wears a high-necked bodice and tight undersleeves and a petticoat with an elaborately embroidered "forepart", 1562.
#, thought to be Elizabeth I, shows her wearing a red gown with a fur lining. She wears a red flat hat over a small cap or caul that confines her hair.
# wears an open French collar with an attached ruff under a black gown with a flared collar and white lining. Her black hat with a feather is decorated with pearls and worn over a caul that covers her hair, 1560s.
# cap beneath a sheer veil, 1560-65.
# in severe Spanish fashion of the 1560s. Her high-necked black gown with split hanging sleeves is trimmed in bows with single loops and metal tags or aiglets, and she carries a jewelled flea-fur on a chain.
# in modest German style: she wears a light-colored petticoat trimmed with a broad band of dark fabric at the hem, with a brown bodice and sleeves and an apron. An elaborate purse hangs fron her belt, and she wears a linen headdress with a sheer veil, 1564.
# wears German front-laced gowns of red satin trimmed with black bands of fabric. They wear high-necked black over-partlets with bands of gold trim and linen aprons. Their hair is tucked into jewelled cauls, 1564.
tyle gallery 1570s
# over a stomacher and an open chemise are characteristic of Italian fashion. The skirt is gathered at the waist.
# wears a high-necked partlet with an attached ruff open at her throat. Her long hair is twisted with pink ribbon and pinned in a crown on the back of her head; her front hair is parted in the center and tightly curled, 1570.
# in a brocade gown and a partlet with a lattice of jewels, 1571. The lattice partlet is a common French fashion.
#In this allegorical painting c. 1572, wears a fitted gown with hanging sleeves over a matching arched bodice and skirt or petticoat, elaborate undersleeves, and a high-necked chemise with a ruff. Her skirt fits smoothly over a Spanish farthingale.
#" were worn in the nineteenth century).
# in captivity wears French fashions: her open ruff fastens at the base of the neck, and her skirt hangs in soft folds over a French farthingale. She wears a cap and veil.
# of his wife Alice shows her wearing an open partlet and a closed ruff. Her blackwork sleeves have a sheer overlayer. She wears a black hood with a veil, 1578.
# Margarethe Elisabeth von Ansbach-Bayreuth wears a tall-collared black gown over a reddish-pink doublet with tight sleeves and a matching petticoat. She wears a black hat.
tyle gallery 1580s
# wears an embroidered black high-necked bodice with round sleeves and skirt over a gold petticoat or forepart and matching undersleeves, a lace cartwheel ruff and lace cuffs, and a tall black hat with a jeweled ostrich feather, c. 1580s.
# wears a black gown with vertical bands of trim on the bodice. The curved waistline and dropped front opening of the overskirt suggest that she is wearing a French roll to support her skirt. She wears a heart-shaped cap and a sheer veil decorated with a pattern of pearls, early 1580s.
# c. 1580 wear gowns with wide French farthingales, long pointed bodices with revers and open ruffs, and full sleeves. This style appears in England around 1590. Note the fashionable sway-backed posture that goes with the long bodice resting on the farthingale.
# with a jewelled "billiment" and a black veil, 1582.
# wears a Spanish farthingale and closed overskirt. The long pointed oversleeves are uniquely Spanish, 1584.
# is seen here again wearing a Spanish farthingale, a closed overskirt, and the typically Spanish, long, pointed oversleeves. However, she is also wearing black, a testament to the austere side of the Spanish court, c. 1584.
# wears a cutwork cartwheel ruff. Her stomacher and wired heart-shaped coif are both decorated with blackwork embroidery, 1585-90.
# wears a cartwheel ruff slightly open at the front, supported by a "supportasse". Her blackwork sleeves have sheer linen oversleeves, and she wears wired veil with bads of gold lace, 1585-90.
#, aged 14, wears a black brocade gown over a French farthingale. The blackwork embroidery on her smock is visible above the arch of her bodice; her cuffs are also trimmed with blackwork. This style is uniquely English. She wears an open-fronted cartwheel ruff.
tyle gallery 1590s
#, Countess of Shrewsbury, wears a black gown and cap with a linen ruff, 1590.
# wears a painted petticoat with her black gown and cartwheel farthingale. She wears an open lace ruff and a sheer, wired veil frames her head and shoulders. Her skirt is ankle-length and shows her shoes, 1592.
#" over a sheer linen cap and simple jewelry.
# wears a bodice with split, round hanging sleeves. Her tight undersleeves are chartacteristic of Spanish influence. From the folds of her skirt, she appears to be wearing a small roll over a narrow Spanish farthingale. Note that her oversleeves are the same shape as those worn by Lettice Knollys.
# (assumed to be Maria de Medici) shows the adaptation of fashion to accommodate pregnancy. A loose dark gown is worn over a matching bodice and skirt, with tight white undersleeves. The lady wears an open figure-of-eight ruff of "reticella" lace, 1594.
# featured bodices cut below the breasts and terminating in a blunt U-shape at the front waist, worn over open high-necked chemises with ruffled collars that frame the head. The Dogaressa of Venice wears a cloth of gold gown and matching cape and a sheer veil over a small cap, 1590s.
#" or flea-fur, with a jeweled face, 1595.
linen shirtwith a ruff and matching wrist ruffs early, replaced by a collar and matching cuffs later in the period.
* A doublet with separate sleeves tied or laced to the shoulders.
* Optionally, a jerkin, usually sleeveless and often made of leather, worn over the doublet.
* Hose, in variety of styles, worn with a
codpieceearly in the period:
**"Trunk hose" or "round hose", short padded hose. Very short trunk hose were worn over "cannions", fitted hose that ended above the knee. Trunk hose could be "paned" or "pansied", with strips of fabric ("panes") over a full inner layer or lining.
** "Slops" or "galligaskins", loose hose reaching just below the knee. Slops could also be "pansied."
** "Pluderhosen", a
Northern European form of pansied slops with a very full inner layer pulled out between the panes and hanging below the knee. [Arnold, "Patterns of Fashion...1560-1620", p. 16-18.]
** "Venetians", semi-fitted hose reaching just below the knee.
shoeswith rounded toes, with slashes early in the period and ties over the instep later.
cloaks or capes, usually hip-length, often with sleeves, or a military jacketlike a mandilion, were fashionable. Long cloaks were worn for inclement weather. Gowns were increasingly old-fashioned, and were worn by older men for warmth indoors and out. In this period gowns began their transition from general garments to traditional clothing of specific occupations, such as scholars (see Academic dress).
Hairstyles and headgear
Hair was generally worn short, brushed back from the forehead. Longer styles were popular in the
1580s. In the 1590s, young men of fashion wore a "lovelock", a long section of hair hanging over one shoulder.
Through the 1570s, a soft fabric
hatwith a gathered crown was worn. These derived from the "flat hat" of the previous period, and over time the hat was stiffened and the crown became taller and far from flat. Later, a conical felt hat with a rounded crown called a "capotain" or "copotain" became fashionable. These became very tall toward the end of century. Hats were decorated with a jewel or feather, and were worn indoors and out.
Close-fitting caps covering the ears and tied under the chin called
coifs or "biggins" continued to be worn by children and older men under their hats or alone indoors; men's coifs were usually black.
tyle gallery 1550s-1560s
# wears matching black doublet, paned hose, and gown trimmed with bands of gold braid or embroidery closed with jewels, c. 1550.
# wears an embroidered black doublet with worked buttons and a matching gown. His high collar is worn open at the top in the French fashion.
# wears a jerkin with short slashed sleeves over a red satin doublet. His velvet hose are made in wide panes over a full lining, 1566.
# wears a severe black jerkin with the new, shorted bases over a light grey doublet with rows of parallel cuts between bands of gold braid. His rose-coloured pansied slops are also decorated with cuts and narrow applied gold trim, 1560.
# wears a shirt trimmed in black on ruff and sleeve ruffles. He wears a belt pouch at his waist. 1563.
# wears an embroidered black jerkin with long bases or skirts over a white satin doublet and matching padded hose, 1566.
# fastens with buttons and loops. The detailed stitching on the lining can be seen. The blck-and-white doublet below also fastens with tiny buttons, German, 1566.
tyle gallery 1570s
#, wears doublet and matching cape with the high collar and figure-of-eight ruff of c. 1573–74.
# wears a "pinked" doublet over heavily padded hose. His shirt has a small ruff.
#, c. 1576.
# in a peascod-bellied doublet with full sleeves under a buff jerkin with matching hose, 1577.
# shows a deep figure-of-eight ruff in pointed lace (probably reticella). Note the jeweled buttons on his doublet fasten to one side of the front opening, not down the center, 1577.
tyle gallery 1580s-1590s
# shows a linen cartwheel ruff with lace (possibly reticella) edging and the stylish small pointed beard of 1585.
# He wears the cartwheel ruff popular in England in the 1580s. His white satin doublet is laced with a red-and-white cord at the neck. A red cloak with gold trim is slung fashionably over one shoulder, and he wears a tall black hat with a feather, 1586.
# of 1588 wears a lace or cutwork-edged collar rather than a ruff, with matching sleeve cuffs. He wears a tall grey hat with a feather which is called capotain.
# wears the Queen's colors (black and white). His cloak is lined and collared with fur, 1588.
# "colley-westonward", or with the sleeves hanging in front and back, 1588.
# (d. 1598) in old age. Spanish fashion changed very little from the 1560s to the end of the century.
#, c. 1590.
# no. 793-1901)
For most of this period, fashionable shoes for men and women were similar, with a flat one-piece sole and rounded toes. Later shoes tied with a ribbon over the instep.
pattens" were worn over delicate indoor shoes to protect them from the muck of the streets, and men wore boots for riding.
A variant on the patten popular in
Venicewas the chopine– a platform-soled mule that raised the wearer sometimes as high as two feet off the ground.
Toddler boys wore gowns or skirts and doublets until they were
# wears an unusual doublet (or gown?) that appears to fasten up the back, Italy, 1551
#, France, 1556-58
# wears a while gown with embroidery and pearls. Her hair is twisted and coiled against her head and pinned in place with pearls, 1560.
#, c. 1570. The girls wear gowns of striped fabric trimmed with bands of black, with linen chemises and partlets.
# wear miniature versions of adult costume, including gowns with hanging sleeves and Spanish fathingales, c. 1571. Their skirts appear to have tucks to allow them to be let down as the girls grow.
# at table wear brownish doublets and slops over cannions, the Low Countries, 1585.
# wears a coif, ruff, and lace-trimmed cuffs, England, 1590
# of Ammerzoden, aged 8, wears a red velvet gown with embroidery and several gold chains. Dutch, 1598.
Working class clothing
# in contemporary dress shows a table servant wearing "pluderhosen" with full, drooping linings, 1565.
# wears a black partlet, a front-lacing brown gown over a pink kirtle with matching sleeves, and a gray apron. Her collar has a narrow ruffle, and she wears a coif or cap under a straw hat, 1567.
#. The woman in the foreground wears a gown with a contrasting lining tucked into her belt to display her kirtle. The woman at the back wears contrasting sleeves with her gown. Both women wear dark parlets; the V-neck front and pointed back are common in Flanders. They wear linen headdresses, probably a single rectangle of cloth pinned into a hood (note knots in the corners behind). Men wear baggy hose, short doublets (one with a longer jerkin beneath), and soft, round hats, 1568.
# is pinned into a capelet or collar over her shoulders, and she wears a high-crowned hat over a coif, a chin-cloth, and an apron. She carries gloves in her left hand and a chicken in her right, c. 1570.
# wears a front-fastening gown with ties or points for attaching sleeves, a green apron, and a chemise with a ruffled collar. Her uncovered hair is typical of Italian custom, c. 1580. Fruit and vegetable-sellers are often shown with more cleavage exposed than other women, whether reflecting a reality or an iconographic convention is hard to say.
# wear "cotes" with full skirts, hose, hats, and low shoes, 1594.
*Arnold, Janet: "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd", W S Maney and Son Ltd, Leeds 1988. ISBN 0-901286-20-6
*Arnold, Janet: "Patterns of Fashion: the cut and construction of clothes for men and women 1560-1620", Macmillan 1985. Revised edition 1986. (ISBN 0-89676-083-9)
*Ashelford, Jane: "The Art of Dress: Clothing and Society 1500-1914", Abrams, 1996. ISBN 0-8109-6317-5
*Ashelford, Jane. "The Visual History of Costume: The Sixteenth Century". 1983 edition (ISBN 0-89676-076-6), 1994 reprint (ISBN 0-7134-6828-9).
*Boucher, François: "20,000 Years of Fashion", Harry Abrams, 1966.
*Digby, George Wingfield. "Elizabethan Embroidery". New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1964.
*Hearn, Karen, ed. "Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630. New York: Rizzoli, 1995. ISBN 0-8478-1940-X.
*Kõhler, Carl: "A History of Costume", Dover Publications reprint, 1963, from 1928 Harrap translation from the German, ISBN 0-4862-1030-8
*Kybalová, Ludmila, Olga Herbenová, and Milena Lamarová: "Pictorial Encyclopedia of Fashion", translated by Claudia Rosoux, Paul Hamlyn/Crown, 1968, ISBN 1-1995-7117-2
*Montupet, Janine, and Ghislaine Schoeller: "Lace: The Elegant Web", ISBN 0-8109-3553-8
*Netherton, Robin, and Gale R. Owen-Crocker, editors, "Medieval Clothing and Textiles", Volume 2, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, and Rochester, NY, the Boydell Press, 2006, ISBN 1843832038
*Scarisbrick, Diana, "Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery", London, Tate Publishing, 1995, ISBN1854371584
* [http://www.elizabethancostume.net/ The Elizabethan Costuming Page ***updated link!]
* [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1577harrison-england.html#Chapter%20VII Description Of Elizabethan England, 1577(from "Holinshed's Chronicles"), Chapter VII: Of Our Apparel And Attire]
* [http://modehistorique.com/elizabethan/farthingales.html Fathingales and Bumrolls]
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