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Festive Attire

The Festive Attire of Elizabethan and Renaissance Costuming

European countries were experiencing a flourish of culture during the Renaissance and Elizabethan eras, which lasted from 1450 AD to 1600 AD. The cultural boom was not limited to art and literature; it also led to dramatic changes in fashion and exotic accessories such as ostrich feathers..

At the beginning of the Renaissance period, women started to wear flowing skirts and robes, instead of the long trains that were popular during the Gothic period, and they used jewels and veils to adorn their hair. Men were often seen wearing short doublets over shirts with open necks and billowy sleeves. The most sought after fabrics at that time were satin, velvet, and cotton. Around the 15th century, many Europeans began to wear German-style clothing, which was more massive and horizontal. Men’s garments featured square cutting and elaborate trimming, while women’s attires became voluminous, with heavily-pleated hoop-skirts.

Clothing was representative of social status during the Elizabethan era. Women’s costumes were mostly very modest, and they completely covered the body from the neck to the feet. Fitted bodices were used to make women’s waists look smaller and their shoulders broader, but later on, gowns began to feature straighter waistlines. Most men wore jerkins, doublets, and hose, as well as cloaks and hats. Fabrics that were popular among the upper classes during the Elizabethan era included stain, velvet, fur, silk, taffeta, and cotton.

Here are a number of websites that provide more information about Renaissance and Elizabethan costuming:

Historical Research

  • 16th Century Hose: Information about the kinds of hose that were worn during the 16thcentury.

Costume Gallery


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