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DATES: 1625 - 1660 A.D.
bulletENGLISH THEATERS CLOSED         1642
bulletENGLISH COMMONWEALTH         1649 -1660


bullet PAINTERS: Velasquez, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Hals, Rubens, Indigo Jones.


bulletHandbook of English Costume in the 17th  Century 
bulletThe Cut of Women's Clothes
bulletThe Cut of Men's Clothes


bulletCyrano De Bergerac- Cyrano De Bergerac-
bulletLe Cid - Le Cid -
bulletThe Tempest- The Tempest-
bulletLife's A Dream- Life's A Dream-
bulletLes Precieuses Ridicules- Les Precieuses Ridicules-
bulletStewart Masques
Cavalier Costume

The first ten years of this period witnessed the gradual change from the stiffness of the Elizabethan period to the relaxed, elegance and comfort of the Cavaliers and the Puritans.  The next change is to simplicity and excess went out of fashion.  Velvet and satin stayed soft and were arranged in natural folds.  It is important to realize Cavaliers and Puritans lived within the same society.  In different countries in different proportions.  England was heavily Puritan especially during the time of  Cromwell. France was heavily Cavalier.

When ruffs went out of style, men’s hair could then grow long again and did as the ruff lost its starch.  Cavaliers cherished their flowing locks where Roundheads cropped their hair.  Beards and mustaches were small and the mustache bristled out at the sides or curved upwards.  The beard of the period is what we call the Van Dyck.  The hat was large and had a stiff wide brim if the brim was larger the wearer left it soft and cocked up one of the sides or in the front or back.    Puritans left hat trimming to a buckle and a band while Cavaliers decorated  with jewels and feathers.  The men of this period wore Collars outside armor, cloaks and gowns.  They wore stiff unpadded doublets and jerkins for a utility jacket.  Wrists were finished with wide white cuffs and they wore stockings with boots frequently.

Women lost the high hair styles of the earlier period and cut their hair short on the sides, curled it to a frizz and tied the back into a bun.  Later ringlets took the place of the frizzy sides and the bun supported comes and fancy pearls.  Modish women ceased wearing caps and wore a disk, which was balanced by a veil and decorated by a feather.  The peasant woman continued to wear the white caps much like the caps of European regional costumes.    Women also gave up the high and starched collars of the earlier periods.  The collar became flat and was used to hide the neck and the bosom.  In this period it was the first time that a woman’s arms had been exposed since the Roman times.  Sleeves stopped right at the elbow and was decorated with ruffles.  The waist of the dresses got shorter and the ladies stopped wearing hoops and the skirt was only supported by many petticoats and slips. 

Colors of this period are dark rich hues like Burgundy, sapphire-blue, crimson, purple and brown and black.  The people were fond of velvet like previous eras.  White, sky-blue, almond-green, tan, rose and gray were fashionable for female garments and the contrast of dark and light occurred because of the white collar that accompanied many peoples clothing.

Notable Cavalier and Puritan Costume Elements

Falling Bands—A collar of fine white lawn edged with lace, later developed into the pleated rabat.  It is the wide collar spreading out over the shoulders that is seen in the later portraits by Anthony Van Dyck, and in this width is sometimes known as rabatine.

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Falling Ruff—A neck ruffle related to the ruffs of the Elizabethan period but not stiff or extending upward.  They created this look by not starching the ruffs.

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Bertha Collar—Large feminine collar almost always made of lace.


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Boot Hose—Hose of sheer white linen with wide lace frills at the top worn to protect the gentleman’s costly silk hose when worn with boots.  The lace top was usually allowed to fall down over the leather cuff of the boot.



Puritan Hat—Tall conical hat with a large round brim often decorated with a buckle and belt.

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Cavalier Hat—A wide brimmed hat often decorated with a large feather and one side either, front, back, left or right cocked up.

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Peplum—Flared shirt-like panels or ruffles below the waist that would conceal the top of the skirt under the shirt.

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Studied Negligence—To look as though you have spent no time on your appearance but in actuality there was great preparation to look unkempt.

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Articulated Shoes—Shoes with heels.

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