The clothing for rich people in Tudor times was colourful and extravagant, even through they were faced with similar restrictions to the poor when it came to the use of material and colour. Rich Tudor fashion was a world away from the plain, dull and drab styles and colours worn by the poor. For the rich there was a much wider choice of materials and colours available, and they could embellish everything that they wore. The higher a persons rank in the nobility the greater their options were.
Tudor Clothes for the Rich made a Style Statement
The higher you were in the ranks of the nobility the more choice you had when it came to style, material and colour. Of course at the very head of all of the nobles was the King himself, and he could wear whatever he wanted, which was of course the finest of linens and the softens of silks. The king was one of the few individuals in the country that was allowed to wear the colour purple.
While the king could wear any purple item, the likes of the Dukes, Marquises and Earls could only use the colour for their doublets or jerkins, for the lining of their cloaks, their hose and a lady’s gown. Knights of the Garter were also allowed to use purple but this was restricted to their mantles only.
Popular Rich Tudor Clothing Colours for Men Were Gold and Silver
Gold and silver were other very important colours. It was those nobles of the rank of Viscounts, Barons and above that was permitted to use material with gold or silver threads. Again the use of these powerful statement colours was restricted to their doublets and jerkins, as well as their cloak linings, hose and their lady’s gown. There was however an exception to the rule.
Those that were in attendance of the monarch in their privy chamber (their private quarters), were allowed to have their clothing trimmed with silver or gold as well as pearls. These trimmings were only to be used for their outer garments though such as their caps or hat bands as well as their garters or boot hose. There were also restrictions on which members of the nobility could carry weapons as part of their daily attire, and which weapons were appropriate for their rank.
Rich Tudor clothing for women had constraints on what they could wear
The queen like the king could have their choice of materials and colours, though of the Tudor women it was really only the queen that could wear purple. The hierarchy of nobility addressed by the Sumptuary Laws went as far as the daughters of knights.
They were allowed to use silk, damask or taffeta for their petticoats or cloaks, showing that they were above the common woman of the day. If you were a wife of a member of the royal court you had to be careful that you were dressed appropriately for his rank, as there were discernible differences between what the wife of a baron was allowed to wear to that of wife of a viscount.