Fashion During the Elizabethan Era

By: Victor, Byron, Antharya, and Christina

Background

  • During the 1500's, there were strict restrictions on the clothing worn by people of certain social classes. The punishment could result in the loss of property, title, or even death.
  • At the time, fashion was really important. It was necessary to receive attention and success in court, as well as recognition.
  • Queen Elizabeth made the Sumptuary Law which stated that people in England must wear clothing according to their position and rank. In general, the people did not like this law.
  • The restrictions on clothes in the Elizabethan era led to people creating their own fashion. Both men and women began to slash their clothes.
  • Queen Elizabeth herself contributed quite a bit to the fashion change going on around that time. She started to wear collars, exposing parts of the neck and the tops of breasts. She wore big puffy sleeves so that people would not look down upon her just because she was a woman. She was even believed to have had over 80 wigs and hairpieces.
  • In fact, so many wigs were worn in the Elizabethan era, that children out after dark were in danger of having their hair cut and made into wigs.

Men's Clothing

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  • Men were not allowed to wear purple silk.

Extra Facts

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Underclothes:

  • Shirt
  • Stockings or hose
  • Codpiece
  • Corset


Overclothes:

  • Doublet
  • Separate sleeves
  • Breeches
  • Belt
  • Ruff
  • Cloak
  • Shoes
  • Hat

Women's Clothing

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  • The woman in the Elizabethan Era wore dresses.

  • The ideal image of an Elizabethan woman was a woman with light hair and a Snow White complexion with red cheeks and red lips.

Extra Facts

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Underclothes:

  • Smock or shift
  • Stockings or hose
  • Corset or bodice
  • Hooped skirt
  • Rowle
  • Stomacher
  • Petticoat
  • Kirtle
  • Forepart
  • Partlet


Overclothes:

  • Gown
  • Separate sleeves
  • Ruff
  • Cloak
  • Shoes
  • Hat

Both Men and Women

  • Only Royalty were permitted to wear clothes trimmed with ermine. Lesser Nobles were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with fox and otter and so on and so forth.
  • Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what colors and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear, an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege.
  • The materials and even the colors of Elizabethan clothing were therefore very important in relation to dyes, fabrics and the type of clothes that men were allowed to wear and the type of clothing that Elizabethan women were allowed to wear.