Fashion during the Renaissance

What were the differences between rich women’s clothes and common women’s clothes?

Wealth and social rank was easily distinguished with the help of precious garments (just as it is today). Renaissance clothing was a public display and would validate your status. Even if you did not have much money, you would be accepted into society if you wore the right clothes and carried yourself in a refined manner.

Noble ladies were often the leading trend setters in Renaissance fashion. Their dress would include precious jewels, fur cloaks and other elaborate decorations as a sign of their aristocracy and high social rank. However, since fashion items were available to anyone with money, the distinctive meaning for aristocratic Renaissance clothing could be mimicked by the lower classes.

Fashion during the Renaissance

What did children wear during the Renaissance?

Children were no exception to fashion’s dictates, with little ones tied into the same corsets and doublets as adults. Children’s clothing was very similar to the adult clothing. However, their clothing was simpler and made of stronger material. Their clothes were stronger because children don’t stay the same size forever and will need new clothes in some time so it is better to not spend too much on it.

Working class children wore garments made of rough fabric that was possibly handed down from their older siblings. A common girl’s outfit included “a long-sleeved kirtle worn with ample skirts and a rectangular apron and a headdress. Meanwhile, a well-to-do girl would wear a gown with a deep ‘V’ that extends down to the base of her abdomen. It might be laced across the front over a stomacher or kirtle.

What kinds of hairstyles, shoes, and make-up were worn?

Women’s hair coverings went from the ‘pointed cone’ style with no hair allowed to show, to the more popular light-weight veil type trimmed with flowers or lace. Most women had very long hair and kept it braided. As time passed, a pointed hood-like covering was introduced, called a cap. Shoes were made out of wood in the platform and leather in the slipper. The shoes were very extravagant as was the rest of the outfit.

Fashion during the Renaissance

The platform could add height to the wearer and came in a height of up to 13 inches and jeweled ornaments adorned the leather. Some slippers had slashes over the toe which was filled with taffeta. Chopines were high wooden platforms, almost like small stilts.

How did the royal men dress differently than the common men?

Men in the Renaissance period wore four essential pieces of clothing. First, was the camicia or shirt. For upper-class men the camicia was made of silk or soft fine linens. The camicia was never worn alone, for that only symbolized a working man. Lower-class men’s camicias were made of heavy coarse linen.

A gusset was inserted in the camicia to make it stronger and roomier. Over the camicia was the doublet, which was a close fitted jacket worn with or without sleeves. The next piece of dress for the Renaissance man was the hose. The hose was attached to the doublet and seamed together at the crotch. The outer-most piece of clothing worn by common-men was the jacket.

Fashion during the Renaissance

In the later part of the 15th century the jacket was worn over the shoulders and chest then falling in full pleats and belted at the waist. Footwear was a big part of the men’s fashion. The shoes were long, pointed, and generally worn for indoor use only. Leather clogs with wooden soles were worn for outdoor weather. Hats, hair styles, and accessories were the last essential pieces that finished off the man’s costume.

More info on- Elizabethan era Clothing Law for Women, Clothing Styles of different Classes, Hairstyles, Clothing in Elizabethan England