In English, we have studied a drama named “A Midsummer Nights Dream” written by William Shakespeare. The time he was living in was when Queen Elizabeth the first was in reign and during that period the fashion was very different. So we have decided to focus on clothing, laws, shoes, makeup and jewellery.
The clothing in the Elizabethan era is very different from the trends and styles we have nowadays in the 21st century. What a woman chose to wear represented her social status as the more expensive dresses you wore, the higher up in society you were. Most people in this era used fashion and accessories to express themselves. Most woman covered themselves from the neck to their ankles, as showing your legs was seen as being provocative. Ruffles, puffy sleeves and hood like neck lines was the popular style. Also most woman wore very tight corsets to achieve a perfect waistline.
Depending on your class, certain people were only allowed to wear certain materials. According to law only the Duchess, Countesses and Marquises could wear silk, tissue or fur. Also gold or silver dresses were only available to the upper class.
Shoes were not as important as the clothing or makeup. People generally wore shoes or boots made from leather. They were famous for bringing high heels into fashion, from France. The laws of clothing were extended to shoes as well.
Queen Elizabeth the first had a very big influence on what women wore and what they thought was beautiful. Very porcelain skin and light air was the look woman tried to achieve. Women no matter what age had to have the perfect skin, hair, eyes and lips, so women used a mix of vinegar and lead to achieve a pale, white complexion. The makeup they applied was very heavy and lots of layers were applied. Also they would used egg whites and talcum powder to hide wrinkles. Red cheeks and red lips, were also very popular in that era. Most women plucked their eyebrows very thinly but also in a high arched shape and pencilled them in very dark. The makeup they applied was very heavy and lots of layers were applied.
Portrait of a Lady, called Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia by Marcus Geeraerts [Public domain]
Portrait of Elizabeth I as a Princess attributed to William Scrots [Public domain]
The hairstyles today are nothing like what they were in that era. Hairstyles were highly elaborate to try to impress others, a possible husband or wife. If women did not have the right shade of hair, they would just wear a wig. They would even go so far as to shave all their hair off and wear a wig every single day. Women went to great lengths to achieve the perfect look. Also women would try to dye or bleach their hair with their own urine! The wigs that were purchased were very expensive and only rich women could afford them. Young women wore their hair down but once they got married they would mostly wear it up.
Jewellery was the final touch to completing the look. Pendants, pins, watches, rings and earrings were essential. Earrings were worn by both men and women. The jewellery was mostly the same as nowadays except it was only upper class and royalty that could afford to buy and wear them.
We hope that you find all this information interesting, as it has given us a better insight into what the fashion was like back then.
Elizabethan England Life.com (2017). Elizabethan England Life [online]. Available from http://elizabethanenglandlife.com/clothing-in-elizabethan-england.html
Elizabethan England Life.com (2017). Clothing law for women [online]. Available from http://elizabethanenglandlife.com/elizabethan-era-clothing-law-for-women.html
Elizabethan England Life.com (2017). Elizabethan makeup and beauty [online]. Available from http://elizabethanenglandlife.com/Elizabethan-Make-up.htm
Elizabethan England Life.com (2017). Elizabethan Shoes [online].Available from http://elizabethanenglandlife.com/elizabethan-shoes.html
Beautiful With Brains.com (2008-2017). Makeup [online]. Available from http://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/beauty-history-the-elizabethan-era/
Alcuin, Linda (2012) Jewellery [online]. Available from http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-jewelry.htm
This entry was posted in blogging and tagged 2017-18 S2 bloggers, A midsummer Nights Dream, Elizabethan fashion, Mrs Mitchell, William Shakespeare on April 23, 2018 [https://olhsenglish.wordpress.com/?p=6161] by olhspupil.