Fashion today is quite different than before and is always progressing. In 2018, most clothes are tight and revealing. In the Elizabethan era however, things were quite different. There are many differences that can be spotted. Some of the most popular clothing items then are rarely even spoken of now. Many clothing items were worn differently such as dresses, skirts, blouses, and pants.
One of the very popular items of clothing were ruffs (“Tudor Clothing Doublet.”). Ruffs were worn by many people. Many pictures from then have people wearing ruffs with colors that vary; from a uniform white to a light pink or yellow. They were so popular even the lower class wore them. To not wear ruffs would be social suicide and would show that a person had no class whatsoever (“Clothing of England.”).
Skirts and dresses were very different in this era. Working women wore fitted corsets and long full skirts that were held out on a frame. The edges of the skirt were adorned with jeweled borders if a person was rich (“Elizabethan Jewelry.”). To be considered fashionable in this era a woman’s wardrobe would have sleeves, a corset, ruffs, a skirt, and an underskirt, which came in separate pieces that were held in place by pins. In fact, Queen Elizabeth herself, loved presents of rich garments (“Clothing of England.”).
The Elizabethan men had their own fashion as well (“Tudor Clothing Doublet.”). In this era even, the men wore dresses. Men’s clothes were usually twice the size of a man’s physique. Next to their skin they wore a white linen shirt, which usually supported a ruff. The dresses were laid over breeches if it was winter but in summer the men would wear only the dresses. In addition to this, their sleeves were swollen and were pushed on their shoulders (“Clothing of England.”).
Breeches were an important part of a male’s wardrobe (“Tudor Clothing Doublet.”). The breeches of a working man were baggy and knee-length. The fashionable Elizabethan man would choose to wear short breeches, only covering his thighs. The pants of a rich man were padded, to deem a look of melons, however this made it difficult to walk and dance. Breeches, no matter what class, were a necessity for men (“Clothing of England.”).
Doublets were especially import for the knights of this era (“Clothing of England”). The doublet was a type of men’s clothing that was a short jacket which was buttoned up at the front. The name is from the way that it was quilted, which involved a doubling up of the fabric. The layers of fabric were stuffed with cotton that provided padding for the wearer to protect from injuries caused by a chainmail shirt. The doublet was made to emphasize the shoulders of whoever wore it (“Tudor Clothing Doublet.”).
Ceruse was a type of makeup in the Elizabethan Era. Ceruse was a thick white paste that gave a smooth complexion until it melted. Once the ceruse melted it would turn grey, shiny and smelly which was an obvious signal to either take it off or reapply. It was usually complimented with a splash of vermilion on the wearers cheeks (“Elizabethan Jewelry.”). The Queen relied increasingly on ceruse to give her a pale white complexion that was in such high demand during
the period. It was almost impossible for working class women to afford ceruse making it a lavish expense (“Clothing of England”).
Like every decade before and after, the women loved jewelry. Elizabethan jewelry was like the type of jewelry worn now (“Clothing of England.”). Like most luxuries in this era, it was only available to some people. Gold, silver, copper, ivory, and jet were used with precious stones in this jewelry. Cheaper alternatives were made of glass, bone, horn and even wood were also used and considered just as fashionable (“Elizabethan Jewelry.”).
In conclusion, fashion in the Elizabethan Era is as different from 2018 fashion as night is different from day. The concepts are still the same, but the styles have changed vastly. It was harder to be a poor woman and have the best style. Expression was still an important part of clothing even this far back in history and it shows the transformation of style.