The accessories in Elizabethan times ranged from jewellery, scarves, gloves, belts, veils and hats. Purses were also considered as an essential accessory in the Elizabethan period. Accessories were not only a woman’s forte. Men also accessorised their outfits with whatever was in fashion in those days.
Women have always had a penchant for jewellery, be it a necklace, bangle, bracelet, pendant or even a brooch. Elizabethan women were the same. They loved wearing jewellery in gold and silver and precious gems. This not only enhanced their beauty, but also stated the class they belonged to in the Elizabethan society.
Necklaces were beaded or chains of gold or silver. They were often worn in concentric circles reaching the waist. Chokers or short chains and necklaces were also worn. The ruffs were adorned with glass beads, embroidery, gems, brooches or flowers.
Gloves Masks Scarves
Gloves were another indispensable Elizabethan accessory. Gloves were worn by men and women alike. The women wore gloves as a sign of breeding and class as well as to protect their skin from the sun.
As mentioned, an ideal Elizabethan woman supposed to be very fair skinned. The gloves were lightly embroidered and were available in different colours. White, however, was most preferred. Men usually wore brown or black gloves made of fine leather. Scarves were another vanity Elizabethan society indulged in. They served a twofold purpose, which was to keep the neck warm, shade oneself from the sun and to add colour and style to gowns and coats.
Scarves made of silk were worn by men and women belonging to the upper classes. Thee scarves were tasselled with silver and gold thread. Masks made of velvet were worn by women, with just two holes for the eyes. Veils were also very much in fashion. Light and gauzy material that covered the face and head of Elizabethan women.
Belts Wigs Purses:
Belts were as much a necessity as they were an accessory. Commoners wore them as a handy sling from which to hang their tools from. Upper crust wore them thin and often bejewelled. Purses or reticules were another Elizabethan accessory.
This was a matter of necessity however, as women’s gowns were not tailored with pockets. Hence, to carry money, etc, they used pouches or reticules. These were wither made of leather or satin and often hung by a long cord. Wigs were used extensively by Elizabethan women to achieve the light hair which was not bestowed upon them naturally.