In our class we are studying Romeo and Juliet and me and my partner have decided to learn more about fashion in the 16th century when William Shakespeare was around. Here are some topics we shall touch on: hats and headdresses, shoes and boots, men (upper class, middle class and peasants), Woman (upper class, middle class and peasants), Fashion icons/ Trend setter, materials and dyes and jewelry.
Hats and headdresses
In the 16th century hats and headdresses were the biggest/grandest ever seen in England. Pupils and scholars were the first to wear bonnets. The most fashionable gentlemen wore bonnets. The french hood is a jeweled hat and covers most of their hair. Neck ruffs were originated in Spain, It frames the face and men also wore them.
Shoes and boots
The 16th century had very extreme and simple footwear. Women had very simple footwear because they wore very long skirts and dresses. No one could see their footwear. Ordinary people would have/wear simple shoes. A type of shoe is duck bills, they were shoes with extremely broad toe. In the early 16th century shoes might have been slashed. Shoes were slashed for decorative purposes.
There were upper class, middle class and peasants (or stinkards/groundlings), (what they were called in the 16th century). The upper/middle class men wore: flat caps with feathers, shirt frills(which later became ruffs), Jerkins, doublet sleeves, nether hose, broad toe shoes with slashing, upper hose and cod piece. Peasants would have worn straight or louse fitted trousers that reached mid calf. Men wore many layers of clothing as you can see from our list. The silhouette of a man in the 16th century resembles a square.
There are upper/middle class and peasants. The upper/middle class woman wore: parlet, kirtle, smock, corset and long skirts or dresses. Peasant woman would wear: a one piece, a kirtle, sleeveless dress and a gown/overdress. Some upper class woman would hang small sweet-smelling spices on their belts to hide the rotten old smell of the streets. The silhouette of a woman in the 16th century resembles a triangle.
Fashion icons/trend setters
The 16th century had very powerful people who then became everyone’s fashion icons. Here are some trend setters: Queen Elizabeth I is remembered as a fashion icon because of her day to day clothing choices, King Frances I of France became the first true trend setter. The trend setters had set up a foundation for our modern-day styles. Members and monarchs of their court were made better by the trends.
Materials and dyes
A young Queen Elizabeth I by Percy Anderson [Public domain]
Here are some of the most popular fabrics and trims: linen, silk, velvet, leather, lace and they used gold and silver for embroidery/trims. Buttons were only worn by the rich. They were made with gold and silver sometimes had a setting of gemstones. Wool was worn by everyone. The most expensive dyes were: bright red , purple and indigo.
Pendant by shakko [Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0]
Many women wore jewelry to make an outfit original and more them. It was very popular in the 16th century. Rich people would have better quality jewelry than others.
As you can see fashion in the 16th century was very elaborate. It was also much more complex than present day fashion.
Fashion through the ages Shoes and boots by Fiona MacDonald (ticktock media LTD, 2006)
Fashion through the ages Hats and headdresses by Fiona MacDonald (ticktock media LTD, 2006)
Panorama a history of fashion from loincloths to Lycra by Jacqueline Morley (MacDonald, 1995)
Sixteenth-Century Clothing, http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/European-Culture-16th-Century/Sixteenth-Century-Clothing.html accessed 02/10/16
Women’s Clothing, http://www.lepg.org/women.htm accessed 02/10/16
Mens Clothing, http://www.lepg.org/men.htm accessed 05/10/16
16th Century Fashion, http://mens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/16th_Century_Fashion accessed 05/10/16