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, mens 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 womans 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
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