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DATES:1450-1500 AD
bulletPrinting Press Invented in Germany 1456
bulletColumbus sails to America 1492
bulletMartin Luther breaks with Rome 1517
bulletSack of Rome 1527
bulletHenry VIII Dies 1547


bulletactual garments
bulletPAINTERS: Holbein, England; Memling Durer, Breugel, Cranach, Germany; Boticelli, daVinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titan, Italy.


bulletArt of the Renaissance in Northern Europe - Benesch
bulletRenaissance Humanism: 1300 - 1550 - Artz
bulletA Short history of Costume and Armour - Kelly and Schwabe
bulletHistory of Fashion in France - Challamel
bulletHandbook of English Costume of the 16th Century - Cunnington
Renaissance Costume History

Around the 1490's is when costume historians can agree that the new dress for Renaissance began. This was the period of clothing that could be said that excessiveness in all areas of costume began. Different countries took the news styles differently. For instance, the northern European countries were distorting the natural figure by padding sleeves, doublets and stockings. Italy did not go as far as the North, and England and France followed Italy's lead while they stuck to more medieval influenced styles. Germans went to the greatest extremes making “improvements” on the natural silhouette. They put large puffs at the head, shoulders, thighs; small puffs, like boils, over chest, back, arms, legs and feet. They put feathers on many on everything from wide-brimmed hats to the knees. Clothing at this time followed suit with all other types of creative expression at this time—it went over the top into new discoveries.

Permanent characteristics in all countries are summarized as thus: rich heavy materials, in voluminous amount, large sleeves, close body garments, large hip-clothing, wide-toed, heelless shoes and covered heads masculine and feminine.

Most men's hair was bobbed but the length of your hair was chosen by individual taste. The could be straight or curled according to the nature of the wearer. As the sixteenth century advanced men wore their hair shorter almost like modern hair. The men wore variations of the low-crowned, brimmed cap and was often turned up all around or with just one side turned up.

Women wore the low-crowned hat in the same fashion as the men. Women either wore their hair with elaborate structures in their hair like the Germans or with just a kerchief. They had the hair covered with some kind of headdress. Some names of headdresses are: crescent, kennel, gable, transparent half-dome bonnet, or the gorget and wimple. Peasant women wore the cote of the earlier period and handkerchiefs or collars around their neck. They looked like what we associate dress of the Puritans.

Colors of this period are strong, often dark colors. Black velvet was a staple fabric of the period, especially in headdresses. White linen was another accent against colors of gold and burgundy for collars and wrist ruffles.

Notable Renaissance Costume Elements
Flat Cap—A hat that is flat with soft crown and moderately broad brim often associated with Henry VIII. portrait of King Henry VIII by an unknown artistHolbein's famous portrait of Edward as a toddler
Jerkin—A short velvet or leather jacket, usually sleeveless, similar to a vest/waistcoat.

Upper Hose—Upper hose or full trunks that extended from upper thighs to waist.

 portrait of King Henry VIII by Hans Eworth, c1545
Nether Hose—The stockings that covered the lower edges of the leg. They were usually rolled above the knee and secured by garters.  
Kennel/Gable Headdress—Resembles in outline the pediment of a Greek temple. Its essentials were the piece that goes over the front part of the head and covers the ears and the veil or bag cap covering the rest of the head. With the formal styles of this headdress, no hair was visible, that at the forehead being covered with rolls or folds of cloth. There were however, linen coifs shaped in the same outline which left the parted hair visible on the forehead. The front roll was of diagonally striped material or velvet. The kennel consisted of a stiff plane covered with rich material, pieces of which extended down the sides and might be pinned back on themselves. The cap at the back, joining the kennel, was like a bag with a square bottom. One side was turned back and pinned to the other at the back of the head. The bag was generally of black velvet. miniature portrait of Jane Seymour by Horenbout
French/Crescent Stuart Cap—A heart shaped cap worn by Mary Stuart. .

miniature portrait of Katharine Parr by Lucas Horenbout portrait of Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn The marriage portrait of Charles Brandon and Princess Mary Tudor

Bridged Sleeves—Sleeves created by tying segments together at a bridge often bridged at the shoulder.  
Cod Piece—A pouch like appendage made from the same fabric as the jerkin or upper stocks and fastened by ties or buckles; a decorated covering for the opening in the front of the breeches; forerunner of the fly.
Simar(re)—A robe for men, derived from chimer or chimere, and ecclesiastical garment very much like it in shape. The neck part was somewhat on a double breasted line, with no collar in back, but with wide revers turned back from the front edge of the robe. The robe was worn either ungirded or confined at the waist by a narrow silk scarf, knotted with one loop and two ends.

Slashing and Puffing—Vertical, horizontal or diagonal slits in the fabric of the garment, through which appeared a different fabric. Often the shirt was the garment which puffed through.
Panes—Loose, vertical bands on sleeves, doublets and trunk hose.  
Funnel Sleeves—Sleeves that start big and tighten toward the cuff. Princess Elizabeth, c1546, attributed to William Scrots
Order of the Garter—An honor bestowed by the King and the person was given a special garter to wear.
Duckbill Shoes—Very wide square-toed, slipper-like shoes, often decorated with jewels, puffs or slashes.
Stomacher—False front or ornamental covering on the front of bodice.


Clocking—Embroidery on the socks at the ankle and sometimes on boots.
Chain of Office—A heavy chain worn by a man across the chest and neckline as decoration; often denoted an organization to which he belonged. portrait of Edward VI in 1547, in a pose reminiscent of his father
 Interesting other links to this period

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