What did Rich people wear?
The clothing for rich people in Tudor times was colourful and extravagant, even though 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. The clothes worn by rich people were very elaborate.
Rich people clothes material
They wore wool of fine quality, unlike the poor people who wore rough quality wool. Shirts and undergarments were made of linen. The rich people were the ones who could wear clothes made of silk and cotton. The clothes of the royalties and the nobility were often embroidered with golden silk threads to display their wealth and status.
The women wore stockings and the men wore breeches. For rich people, these were mostly made of silk. Men also wore woollen stockings or socks called hose.
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.
The kings and queens in the Tudor era would wear clothes that were made of the most expensive and fine materials – silk, velvet, satin and even fur. They were the only people who could wear colours like purple, gold and crimson.
King Henry VIII was described as the “best-dressed sovereign in the world”. Henry VIII was also fond of fur cloaks and elaborate jewellery to show off his wealth and elegance.
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 hatbands 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 the wife of a viscount.
Knights and sons
The Knights and nobles wore clothes made of silk, velvet and satin. They often wore royal blue or dark blue which signified their rank.
They also wore bonnets, hats, girdles, pantofles along with a gown or cloak. Jackets and jerkins were also common for them. Duchesses and countesses wore kirtles, gowns, partlets and sleeves. They were also nobilities and were allowed to were purple and their clothes were made of sable fur.
Wealthy businessmen and merchants wore long gowns of dark colour, usually made of silk or wool. However, compared to the nobility they wore plain clothes.