17th Century clothing

October 31, 2009


In the 16th century, the Mannerist style was stressed as a realistic representation of religious themes painted to show emotions of the beholder.

In the 17th, the italians led the artistic  transition from Mannerism to the vigorous Baroque style.

Spanish costume:

Spain has been the major fashion leader throughout half of the 16th century, but styles were beginning to lag behind those of those countries influences. Mantilla, a Spanish veil was worn on women. length of veil depends on status in society. Later on, the Spanish style was called the Guardinfante. The Basque was long and wide, and extended down over the top of the wide skirt. shoulder line was usually horizontal and showed necklines. sleeves were full and slashed to show contrasting underlinings and generally ended cuffs. Women wore high chopines with wooden or cork soles that helped to elongate the figure somewhat to compensate for the width of the guardinfante. Skirts were wide with padding around the waist.

During the 17th century, powerful images such as art can contribute to the apparel during this time. Mannerist art had strong and emotional content and was the liaison between the Renaissance arts and the Baroque  styles.

The Girl With The Pearl is a painting done in the early 17th century by a dutch painter named Johannes Vermeer. In this painting, the main focal point is the pearl probably to symbolize some kind of wealth. There is some type of emotion in the face which is the point of these mannerist types of paintings. This type of painting was considered as the “mona lisa of the North”.

This specific painting would contribute to apparel during these times through the types of accessories, colors, and baroque style. The Baroque style comes from the Roman Catholic church thorugh reformation. The Baroque style is probably the most important urbanistic revision during this period of time.

Movies like The Girl with the Pearl was remade to interpret the style and feeling during the 17th century.


Also, the Guardinfante style is also most popular during the 17th century. The Basque was long and wide, and extended down over the top of the wide skirt. shoulder line was usually horizontal and showed necklines. sleeves were full and slashed to show contrasting underlinings and generally ended cuffs. Women wore high chopines with wooden or cork soles that helped to elongate the figure somewhat to compensate for the width of the guardinfante. Skirts were wide with padding around the waist.


Movies like Shirek did a modern day impression of the Guardinfante style


Project Runway: Korea

October 27, 2009

Project Runway: Political Issue

SEX TRAFFICKING is one of the leading issues in Korea today. Mostly women and children are placed in in this situations where they are promised a better job and a better future in another country. They are kidnapped, taken advantage of and fooled into marriage. In some situations, it may be the parents, boyfreinds, husbands that put their female on the sex trade market rather than the female themselves agreeing to do so themselves. You can find more info here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/fact_sex.pdf

Korean tradition

The Holy Rollers took the traditional Korean Hanbok, and put a modern twist while also expressing a political issue. The Hanbok is a traditional garment that is mostly worn during big occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. It is usually made of bright colors. The fabrics range from cotton to finer fabrics like silk. The fabric you wear depends on the status of your family.




Since our concept of the garment was to represent Sex Trafficking, here is our analysis of the garment:

Top: Barber shops are one of the places in which sex trafficking occurs. Since sex is undercover in Korea, to let customers know that a place is “selling sex”, in Barber shops, there are two red, white and blue pinwheels are represented. It also represents the combination of the American and Korean flag with the red white and blue colors. Symbolizing Korean and American influences.

Skirt: The skirt is represented by a yellow color to symbolize Korea in the day time. The inside of the skirt is black to represent Korea at night. Attatched to the inside of the skirt are dollars to represent the selling of sex.





Modern American tradition:

The top is made out of old shirts cut up and placed back together again to make the long sleeve on the traditional Hanbok. The short length of the jacket gives the garment a more modern day feel and is made out of 100% Jersey Cotton.

The Holy Rollers took the Hanbok skirt made out of 100% Polyester and twisted the skirt so that the opening is facing the front instead of the back. This gives the garment a modern slit opening.

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On the Runway…



The Team behind the work:  The Holy Rollers


Congrats to the other groups as well!


India: Obesity


Philippines: Typhoon


China: One child rule


Thailand: HIV


Vietnam: Human trafficking


Japan: CO2 emissions


Burma: Political prisoners



The Late 16th Century is often called “Elizabethan Age” due to Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She came to the throne of England in 1558 and was a powerful and successful ruler for 45 years. The latter half of the 16th century is still considered the Renaissance, but it has
undergone a change as trading and the wealth of the middle class become prominent and
the era was greatly influenced by the works of William Shakespeare. England emerges
as a great power after her defeat of the Spanish Armada; France continues a great power
and supporter of Catholicism, and Spain declines in power.
Elizabeth took summer tours in the country side taking with her 300 to 400 baggage carts, 1,000 horses. She visited nobles, supported pageantries, visited different towns, and made herself visible. Can you imagine being a host for such an entourage? However,she was a ruler who demanded to know her people and was well loved..The world of Elizabeth and William Shakespeare, the playwright, was a courageous, nota whining world. Elizabethans never cringed with fear, nor wasted precious time in selfpity. Treatises instructed men in the art of dying with dignity. Sir Walter Raleigh, on thescaffold, ran his thumb along the edge of the headman’s axe and wryly commented:“This is sharp medicine, but it is a sound cure for all diseases.”

The French were dominated by Catherine de Medici which was Queen of France, wife of Henry II from 1547-1559, then Dowager Queen Mother from 1559 to 1589. She was the ruling force behind her sons: Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. It is said she was a cruel but faithful woman. Her best physical asset was said to be her legs, so she brought into fashion the use of the side saddle so that her legs would be exposed. She and Elizabeth were fashion rivals, although they never met. For more information on this lady go to: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03443a.ht

Religious Conflicts:
In England Edward IV (son of Henry VIII) had a Protestant rule, Mary Tudor had a Catholic rule, Elizabeth I had a protestant rule (yet she lived fear of Catholic plots). You can imagine the strife as monks, priests, preachers, and nobility were tortured and put to death because of not changing their religious views. France’s Catherine Medici is noted for turning a blind eye to the infamous massacre of St. Bartholomew where Catholics slaughtered Protestants. The protestant leadership falls on England as in 1559 the national church was broad and flexible enough for both Protestants and Catholics. Inquisition is going on with torturers, witch hunts (The 1486 treatise, The Malleus Maleficarum, is the guideline for identifying witches.). There were statutes against witchcraft and just as many revoking the statutes in England, France and Germany. These “witch hunts” will carry into the 17th century. Reformation condemned finery, gay colors, and manifestation of fantasy in clothing. Thus you begin to see religious changes in costume. However, these changes will not be widespread until the 17th century.

Scientific research:

The scientific aim of scholarship was to “achieve a comprehension of the meaning and significance of things, above all the chief end of man, the meaning of human life and all creation related to it.” It seems after 500 years we still do not have this lofty aim achieved, but the Elizabethans thought they could accomplish it. Reason has a dignified role in Science; reason and faith are no longer joined; reason is no long subservient to faith. Learning becomes practical. Gunpowder used, the printing press, even though invented 150 prior, becomes very important in communicating different ideas. This is the time of Galileo, Copernicus.

Women’s Dress:
Farthingale and the ruff are the two most significant changes in women’s dress. Official costumes were wider and longer than costumes of private life. The bodily movements were slower and more formal, dignified in appearance. The body revealed or was accentuated by clothing.

Elizabeth I in court dress. This white jeweled encrusted garment was one of the 3000 dresses Elizabeth had inventoried in her wardrobe when she died. The garment is a dress that is supported or controlled by the farthingale frame under the skirt and the tight corset with long pointed stomacher under the bodice. The farthingale is a frame (like a hoop skirt frame) made from reeds, boning, and fabric into a round shape. It tilts up in the back, making the skirts a bit shorter in the back of the body. It also juts out at the hips. Often a ruffle (as you see in Figure 6) is attached at the waist and called the cartwheel ruff.

Court Lady. This white and pink brocaded dress with farthingale support clearly illustrates the high control the late 16th century culture valued for clothing. The lady has a cartwheel ruff at her waist, a tight bodice with bombasting (the padding of bodice sleeves and torso to achieve a smooth and puffy look, worn by men and women) and a Medici collar, the collar that stands up behind the neck. The collar in Figure 9 is called a ruff. It is detachable and goes around the entire neck. Worn by men and women.

Court dress was typically more extreme than daily dress. Note the lady in Figure 11; her neck insert (white fabric with blackwork…embroidery) is called a tucker. It has a whisk, a small ruff at the upper edge.

Court scene. From a painting and shows the macheron or false sleeve on the female. Also note the elongated waistline point. These points were supported by long pointed busks. Imagine bending over!

Illustration from Tilke. The two ladies are wearing farthingale style gowns with petticoat (underskirt) showing. They support cartwheel ruffs at their waist and have bombasted bodices. The sleeve style of both women is called virago (bombasted with indents up and down the arm) and turns up again in the 19th century. They both have a Medici collar.

Men’s costume:
Recall the early 16th century with the very wide shoulders of the male. In the late 16th century of shoulders of the male become narrow, but the hips and thighs tend to get larger with their variety of trunk hose (breeches).

Trunk Hose or breeches. Many v variations and the naming of them remains a mystery. Your text does not agree with other costume historians. Generally Venetians were trunk hose (breeches that extend from waist to knee. Some authors say they are tight, your text identifies them as full (see figure 17 for both versions). . Galligaskins start at the waist and are very full generally ending at mid thigh (see Figure 16); pumpkin breeches are very full and may go to the knee (see figure 18); culottes are very, very short breeches

Portrait of a man with bombasted doublet and peasecod belly, paned culottes, codpiece, and ruff. His doublet is bombasted to the point that it develops a peasecod belly which looks to us like a beer belly. It was the fashion. His culottes have slits or panes in them showing another fabric underneath. The sleeves on his doublet are detachable.

The ruff is an important element of the last 16th century costume for both men and women. Figure 24 shows a ruff shop, a place that ruffs were made a fitted for the society. The ruffs were made of starched and pressed fine linen and sewn together at the neckline. They could also be made of lace.

Wigs were used as were dyes and hair bleaches. Hair puffed up around temples and sometimes combed over padding. High control in all aspects of the costume. Heartshaped hat often called the Mary Stuart cap.

Chopines, shoes that were put on a raised platform making the wearer taller (obviously)
and keeping their gowns out of the mud. They wearing of boots also became common.

Pins were used in abundance to fit v various parts of the costume in position and often
jeweled and given as gifts, hence, “pin money.” Rings were used in abundance as well as
necklaces and earrings.
Knitting, lace becomes important. Sheer fabrics for ruffs, blackwork, yellow and red
were fashionable colors. France loved white, Italy had many contrasting colors on one
gown, and colors were identified for professions: red for scholars, black for lawyers, etc.

The commoners are wearing costume similar to the early 16th century. Their clothing is
not changing as rapidly as the court costume. They use common fabrications such as
wools and linens made into burlaps, plain wovens, napped wools for warmth, and

A period of high control in dress as seen through the use of ruffs and Medici collars, the
use of lace and decorative fabrications, the use of bombasting, the right hosiery on the
men, the farthingale, highly trimmed facial hair for men and controlled hairdos for the
women. There was not much in the way of spontaneity in fashionable clothing for this
time period.


Elizabeth R
Elizabeth I
Mary, Queen of Scots
Shakespeare in Love
The Virgin Queen
Queen Margot

Early 16th century

October 16, 2009

Lecture #11: Early 16th Century: 1500 to 1550
During the 16th century most of the European cultures, England, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, etc. had entered the Renaissance, an awakening of interest, not only in literature, but academic thought, technology, painting, architecture, music, and sculpture. This reawakening entered the lives of the people. For example, Cicero and Plato were models for life rather than having their ideas just learned academically. Learning was held in high esteem and people were sincere about their beliefs, ready to die for them. It was a revival of the classics in art, music, medicine, politics, learning, etc. Italy started the Renaissance during the 15th century, but then the rest of Europe follows suit.

This is a period of great change and great turmoil, especially in religious and political ideologies. In addition, trade and global exploration flourished. See the following web site for additional information on the Renaissance. http://www.learner.org/exhibits/renaissance

Important people from this time period would be Henry VIII (King of England), Francis I (King of France), Charles (King of Spain), Sir Thomas More, Erasmus. There was quite a bit of communication and diplomacy going on between countries and ambassadors were very common.

Events: The re-discovery (as it is documented at other cultures had explored the Americas) of America in 1492 has tremendous impact and many countries are sending their own explorers – Desoto, Balboa, and Columbus. Gradually wealth in the form of trade goods and some gold was imported from the “new” world. The Spanish were the leaders of exploration and imported much gold and many new products: tobacco, corn, cochineal (a red dye), tomatoes, etc.

Technology: Surgery began as the foundation of modern medicine. Ambroise Pare was a surgeon to four kings; printing press allows for more education, the explosion of genius, learning centers and intellectual revolts (for example people are able to read the travels of Marco Polo and ideas of some of the greatest thinkers of the day); gunpowder changed the methods of war.

Trading increases, towns begin to grow, and a middle class rises. Although the diaries of Marco Polo had helped to establish Italy as an important trade route, the Italian textile trade declines due to the changing trade routes and it loses its prestigious as a dominant country in world events. Before the 14th century it was considered sinful to trade for profit, now it becomes an important occupation that will result in the rise of the merchants, burgers, and middle classes. Lorenzo Medici and others were happy to display their new wealth by sumptuous clothing, art, and housing. The Mona Lisa was started in 1503. Recently 3-D images have revealed that the sitter for the Mona Lisa, a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was pregnant in the portrait because she was wearing a “guarnello”, a veil worn only by pregnant women. The evolution of towns since the 11th century has almost completely taken over the feudal system.

Religious changes
Reformation – attitude change. The diverse and far-reaching effects of the Reformation along with wide-spread acceptant of the philosophy of the humanists, made men willing to expand these newly available riches upon themselves—it was not longer necessary to place the best and finest of everything upon the alter. However, this attitude somewhat changes in the 16th century. There was also the counter-reformation at the same time. See http://www.lepg.org/religion.htm if you are interested in additional information. In addition, there was a separation of church and state started by Henry VIII, but carried on throughout several generations. The Papacy is weakened by the same decadence that affected the princes along with increased education and the reform movement.

Women’s clothing
The houppelande gradually evolves into a gown that has a natural waistline, tight fitting bodice, and very full skirt. The attention is on the skirt and the full detachable sleeves.

Reproduction of the typical female garment or gown. Note the waistline has lowered from the houppeland, the neck becomes squared rather than v-necked or round, and while the top of the sleeves are close to the body, an enormous macherons or false sleeve (black item) becomes a focal point. Please note that this sleeve may be seen lower on the arm as well. The gown in Figure 8 also has a frame under it called a shakefold or verdugale (Tortora). Often the entire gown is referred to as the shakefold. The frame is made from thin stripes of wood fashioned into a frame that supports the skirt of the gown in the cone-like shape. The white portion is an undergown and meant to be seen. Some of these became quite elaborate. In addition a cord, the cordeliere, was often wrapped around the waist and hung down the center front of the skirt. These were covered with jewels. As your textbook will point out the costumes from the various countries differed somewhat so you

Women’s Headgear:
English Burger’s Wife, c. 1540. The fabric is not as decorative, but the square neck is evident and the layering of skirts is evident. The English headgear is called an Architecture Headdress or DogHouse headdress. It is covered by a sheer veil, the remains of the wimple.

Men’s clothing
Tailoring continued to evolve in this century as every part of the male and female’s attire was controlled by his/her tailor. The slim look of the late middle ages gave rise to the broad shouldered and square look of the man of the early 16th century.

Men wore a shirt under their clothing. This shirt is important because it suddenly is seen very minutely at the neckline but will continue to grow in importance. Figure 20 the shirt is the small wisp of white fabric seen at the neck. It is generally very full, especially in the sleeves. They wear a doublet (formerly the pourpoint) over the shirt, worn to the waist, and it will serve to hold up the trunk hose. In Figure 20 the doublet is the black and white garment. It is a vest-like garment and is often decorated with slashings, panes, jewels, or other ornamentation. The neckline shape and sleeve shape will change from country to country and from year to year, so you might see a variation in these areas. The jerkin is an over garment often cut the same length as the doublet. It may look long as bases (men’s skirts) were often worn with it and used the same fabrication. In Figure 20 these are red and shaped to the body. Figure 20 shows a jacket which is the very full garment with large satin collar jacket. Jackets are often trimmed with fu, worn over the jerkin, and usually extended to the knee with full sleeves. However, in some portraits we are uncertain if the sleeves belong to the doublet, the jerkin, or the jacket.

Hose were now cut in one piece from waist to toe at the beginning of the century. But soon separate into upper or trunk hose and lower hose or nether socks. They were also highly decorated with slashings, “By 1515 hardly any unbroken surface of the trunk hose was left above the knees. So large were the openings that a second pair of plain hose were usually worn under the slashed ones. This was one reason for dividing full-length hose, a form of trousers, into two parts during the 16th century.” Bases, a skirt made from columnar folds was worn over the trunk hose and reached from waist to mid-thigh. It could be made of a very rich fabric. The codpiece can still be seen. Rapier, or sword is often carried.

Textile became very fancy. Many brocades, damasks, velvets were used. In addition,
there were many fabrics that were incrusted with jewels.

Ostrich feathers popular and worn in hats. Beaver was brought from the “New” world and used in hats and fur collars. Many types of fur were used as trimming in clothing: ermine, sable, mink, rabbit, fox, etc. Figure 27. Two laborers beating flax. Linen was a common fiber used to make different types of fabric. The weavers often combined linen and wool.

Duck-billed shoes can be seen on the feet. They are flatted out at the toe, often padded
out, and slashed. See figure 25 and 23. They often use the slashing decorative device.
Boots were introduced to the Renaissance. Although the Romans and Greeks used boots,
they disappeared for many years.

Although it is difficult to see from this illustration, this working woman is
wearing chopines on her feet to keep her shoes from the mud. Chopines were a wooden
galoche that had a thick sole or stilts to keep the shoes out of the grime of the streets.Films: A Man for All Seasons


Six Wives of Henry VIII
Anne of the Thousand Days
The New World
Reading: Chapter 8 The Northern Renaissance

Discussions #11 In your own words describe the zeitgeist of the Renaissance. There
are many articles about the Renaissance, but describe in your own understanding.

During the 16th century, Inspirational leaders like Cicero and Plato reawakened Renaissance. In the European cultures, sincerity of beliefs was what they focused on the most. The evolution of art, music, medicine, politics and learning were revived as the classics. As far as the arts, in 1503, images of 3-D pictures were revealed. One example of a famous painting is the painting of the Mona Lisa. Technology was taking a turn as well with surgery being the foundation of modern medicine, the printing press. Trade was getting popular as well. Great explorers like Desoto, Balboa and Columbus began imported products like gold, tobacco, corn and tomatoes. This began the increase of the middle class. Religion is still important during this time with this attitude of reformation. Textile became very fancy especially with many brocades, demasks, velvets, and jewels. Ostrich feathers were popular especially when worn with hats and trimmings in clothing. I would describe the early 16th century as the century to discover. Many new inventions were discovered and many explorers were curious about conquering the lands.

Women’s clothing involves the Houppelande from the 14th and 15th centuries, but gradually evolved into a long gown with a natural waistline, tight fitting to the body, and full skirts. Rather than the v-neck in the centuries before, the v-neck transformed into a squared nack line. This garment has detachable sleeves, called false sleeves that became the focal point. Though some portions of the garment, like the undergown were elaborate with stitching, the womens Houppelande from the century before was much more detailed. The women’s headgear was still very popular during this time though there are some differences compared to the century before. Architecture headdress is the name of the headdress for women during this century. Here, the headdress is covered with a sheer veil. Unlike the pointy cone hat of the 15th century, these headdresses were more round shaped. Probably because the architecture was not as detailed as before. During this time, it seems as though the women’s garments were tight to the bodice, covering every inch of the body. Is there a reason why? Maybe it is because of religious ideals?

The men’s clothing during this time evolved into more tailored clothing. The men had broad shoulders making the man of the 16th century appear larger than the actual size of the body. During this time, like women, men wore an undergarment. For men it was a shirt which becomes important later on. A doublet was worn over the shirt, and the jerkin was worn over the garment. Then, a jacket was also worn on top of that. The men’s outfit make it seem like it might have always been cold, or men were not allowed to show their body. The trunk hose and nether socks were worn on the legs and were highly decorated with slashings like in the 14th and 15th centuries. These fabrics were made of rich fabrics, which probably meant the families were rich or probably traded with others. Duck-billed shoes were worn with a flat toe, padded, and slashed. And boots were also introduced during this period. Why is it that during this century, it seemed like the fabrics were finer and more heavy on the bodice? I think this probably had to do with the trading and receiving finer products.

Trading increases, towns begin to grow, and a middle class rises. Although the diaries of
Marco Polo had helped to establish Italy as an important trade route, the Italian textile
trade declines due to the changing trade routes and it loses its prestigious as a dominant
country in world events. Before the 14th century it was considered sinful to trade for
profit, now it becomes an important occupation that will result in the rise of the
merchants, burgers, and middle classes. Lorenzo Medici and others were happy to display
their new wealth by sumptuous clothing, art, and housing. The Mona Lisa was started in
1503. Recently 3-D images have revealed that the sitter for the Mona Lisa, a portrait of
Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was pregnant
in the portrait because she was wearing a “guarnello”, a veil worn only by pregnant
The evolution of towns since the 11th century has almost completely taken over the feudal

Late Middle Ages: 14th and 15th Centuries
The dates from 1300 to 1500 are generally considered the late middle ages. It seems that the Italians passed the Late Middle ages in 100 years and were into the Renaissance period in the 15th Century, but generally the rest of Europe had the Late Middle Ages mentality the 16th century or 1500s. Let me again re-emphasize that when you are given dates for an art movement, decorative arts, musical styles, religious and political reforms, they (the dates) are approximate as not all movements reached all people at the same time, all people did not follow trends to the same degree, and some people held onto them longer. Costume did not suddenly change at the end of the Middle Ages, it evolved.

Inside of Westminster
Abbey, London.
This photo is a good example of Gothic Architecture, the prevailing architectural style of the time. Other examples of Gothic architecture would be Notre Dame and Chartres. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco also exhibits some characteristics of the Gothic style even though it was built six centuries later. For additional information on England in the 14th and 15th centuries see http://history.boisestate.edu/hy309/Englan/index.html

In the Late Middle Ages the people are just beginning to show an interest in classical life and recognize the essential goodness of man rather than having a sense of gloom and guilt. They see man as a rational being. This spirit of humanism had enormous influence in scholarship, literature, fine arts, science, and philosophy. Some of the important people of this time were Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Martin Luther, Jeanne d’Arc, Chaucer, and Wycliffe.

While etiquette was becoming important there were still some facts that we might find abit strange. Typically forks and knives were known but not used widely. Therefore it was considered uncouth to plunge more than the first 2 joints of three fingers into a sauce when serving yourself. People washed their hands and eyes every morning in cold water, hair was typically washed every week, and hot water was used for a bath taken once a year, generally in autumn.

With the exception of the Jewish populations, animals often lived inside and bathing was infrequent, so people often carried pomanders or smelling balls around with them. These would be hung from a cord and attached to the waist. The Christian religion begins to lose its hold on the culture due to the Great Schism, the Black Death that killed 1/3 of the population of Europe in 1348, and the abuses of capitalism. The printing press is invented in the 1400s and makes the Bible readily available to more people increasing the number of interpretations. The plague hit Europe several times and was spread by fleas that fed off infected rats and were carried to household animals.

Trade and commerce flourished. In fact, architects began to design buildings for commerce rather than just religion. Many portraits of families engaged in some kind of commercial venture. The middle class has more money and is beginning to take an interest in financial affairs, politics, the arts, and governing laws.

Public baths were installed in large cities in the 14th and 15th centuries. There were many restrictions on them, but the following are some illustrations depicting public baths. Generally, women were there to help men bathe. Soap making started at this time.

Sumptuary Laws: These were laws that regulated the consumption of a people according to their rank. These laws might dictate the height of the hennins, headgear of the women, the number of gowns and amount one could pay according to the income and station of the wearer. For example, the extension of a shoe, poulaine, (the man’s shoes in Figure 3) beyond the toe was limited to 6 inches if you were a commoner, 12 inches if a gentleman, and 24 inches or more if you were a nobleman. If you were a duke your mourning wear could contain 16 yards of material, if an earl 14 yards, if a viscount 12 yards, and a baron 8 yards.

The art of heraldry continues in this period as well as the early middle ages. Heraldry gives way to pied or parti-colored which refers to clothing items have a different color on the left and right side, much like a jester’s costume. Note the legs on the men in Figure 8. Often the men would cut their clothing, some with tiny slits, some with larger slits. These were called slashings. Supposedly it started when a Swiss mercenary group won a battle but their clothing was cut to shreds. Other groups wanted to imitate it. Slashings will be an important decorative element throughout the next century.

In addition, they practiced dagging, a fabric edge treatment that is uneven. Castelation is a dagged edge resembling the upper edge of a castle wall, foliated refers to a dagged edge that resembles oak leaves, and there are others.

In the 15th century the Renaissance was in Italy only. Cultural glory in abounded in Italy and had a classical feeling, but was an imitation rather than an equal of Greece. Michelangelo, Raphael, and deVinci all created at this time. Painting was brought to perfection and the status of the artist was rising. The role of women was not strong. Although there women who had power such as Eleanor of Aquitaine (wife of Henry II of England, and dated to the early middle ages), most women had to fight for their rights. Historic research is full of women fighting for
their children, land, and inheritance. In the early Middle Ages women were known to have 108 professions including doctors, weavers, traders, managers, but their roles fell back and by the end of the 15th century women were thought to be empty vessels with nothing to say. France did not even allow a woman to ascend to the throne, although England had a more progressive spirit concerning this law. Most marriages for the nobility were arranged and many arranged at the ages of 5 through 10. Children were thought about but expected to act like miniature adults. Too many children died before the age of four and parents tended to keep their emotions in check.

Due to the crusades, Renaissance, and technological developments, the culture begins to be more extravagant, worldlier, and life is growing easier. Literature flourishes with the help of the printing press; increasing styles of textiles are imported due to the crusades, and the visual arts become important due to the Renaissance, a revival of the classics. Chivalry was the living ideal and is at its height in the beginning of the 14th century,
after which it begins to decline.

Wool and flax were the main fibers for both commoners and nobility. In addition, the wealthy could import silks and cottons. Fabrics were velvets, taffeta, lace, gauzes,chiffons, broadcloth, brocades, damasks (often studded with pearls, sapphires, rubies, etc.) satins, poplins, and burlap-like materials.

Fabrics were dyed and embroidered, but printing was not yet a stable process. There was marketing fraud going on as well. The expense of cloth was very great in some instances so dyers and weavers would often sneak wool and linen into silk cloth.

Tapestries were common and woven to decorate the great halls as well as to keep out the drafts in the cold of winter. The tapestries were art forms and often were allegorical in nature as they told stories. Many ideas of what costume looked like came from these

Women’s Costume
The gown of the female was called a houppeland. See Figure 14 It generally had a vshaped neckline, tight sleeves, was high waisted, most often had cartridge pleating, long train, and was held up in the front by the wearer making the female appear pregnant.. The ideal in a woman’s shape was an “S” curve, therefore holding up the skirts and tilting the body backwards a bit, gave this appearance. Bare arms were never seen in public.

The cotehardie or cote-hardie (shaped cotte, like the chainse), was worn over a chemiseand often under a full houppeland. This garment could also be worn alone and resembled a flared dress.

Many times it was worn with a surcoat over the cotehardie. The surcoat was made of the skirt and plasteron, a stiffened portion, was sleeveless with large armholes called“Windows of Hell”. The surcoat often had a seam at the end of the plasteron. An increasing amount of cutting and sewing the fabric was in evidence. The costumes of the
cultures used more and more tailoring techniques.

Women’s Headdress
Headdress for both men and women was very important as it told of their status in the society as well as the male occupation. It continued to be socially necessary for the women to cover their heads. See Figure 12 and note that all women have something covering their hair. They might do this through the caul, a netting or fabric piece
covering the hair. However, the hennin was the fashionable headdress for women and it was a cone that sat on the head on top of a small cap called a calotte (See Figure 12). The front of the cap had a small loop called a frontlet or bingrace. This was used for easily removing the calotte and hennin. The illustrations demonstrate the proper position of the hennin and from that the student will see that the women plucked their hairlines so that they obtain very high foreheads as well as plucking their eyebrows. Attached to the tip of the hennin was a wispy scarf that was the remains of the wimple.

coffer, a short hennin that covered the ears only and was highly decorated with jewels. It is said that women when traveling would hide valuables in the coffers, thus we get the name coffer, a kind of jewelry chest. As the woman’s hair was worn long, they divided their hair in half and wound them around each ear (like Princess Leia) in a fashion called reticulation.

Men’s Headwear
Men, too, wore many hats but did not gain the exaggerated height of the woman’s hennin.They were very familiar with the art of felting, so many of the hats ( sugar loaf, roundel, bourrelet) were shaped through this process. See Figure 4,5, 7 and 10. Hats were madeof felt or straw. The sugar loaf hat was a soft tall cone sitting on top of the head.

The chaperone was one of the first stylized marketing efforts in fashion. It consisted of the roundel that had a caplet with liripipe stuffed into it. See Figure 35. This style was first done spontaneously as a place to store the caplet, but then became such a fashion that the hat was sold in that configuration.

Men wore their hair about shoulder length and often wore a bowl crop….a bowl would be placed on the head and used as a guideline for cutting the edges even (See Figure 2). For the most part they were clean shaven but might sport beards.


The men wore a soft shoe generally made of fabric or leather called a poulaine or crackow. These poulaines are remarkable because they are the brunt of contemporary amusement since the pointed toes often extended many inches beyond the toe of the foot. We might think of these as jester’s shoes. The length of the toe was governed by sumptuary laws. Often the tip of the toe had to be stiffened or tied to the knee by a thin thread.

Mens Wear
The men, too, wore a garment called the houppelande, however, it was not as fitted and
engaged large cartridge pleats at the yoke. This was a long gown. The 15th century man
was becoming a tailor’s joy which he has never ceased to be. There were extremes in the
upper silhouette with crisp pleats, tight belts, padded clothing, and stuffed sleeves. Tailor
guilds started in the 13th century with clothing for special events. The nobility wanted to
be distinguished from the commoners by their dress.

Women wore poulaines , but they never were the exaggerated styles of the men. These were fabric or leather slender shoes covering the top and bottom of the foot. They often wore galoches, a wooden sole that covered the bottom of the foot only and was attached by straps. These items protected the shoes from the filth of the streets. As this footwear evolved they were built up and had straps to slip one’s foot into. The built up portions elevated the wearer. Called pattens or chopines.

The extreme short version of the male houppeland is called a houppelande a mi-jamb (see text). In the next century this garment evolves into the doublet and is often called soin various textbooks. This garment reached mid thigh or shorter and was accompanied by hose or the legging-like leg coverings.

Since the hose were so tight they outlined the body shape and the clergy was upset by the pronounced look of the male genitals. Therefore, a codpiece was stitched to the crotch seam to cover the genital area for men.

Since the hose were so tight they outlined the body shape and the clergy was upset by the pronounced look of the male genitals. Therefore, a codpiece was stitched to the crotch seam to cover the genital area for men.

Men also wore a jerkin, huke, or jupe which was a sleeveless outer garment worn over the houppelande a mi-jamb or over the long houppeland as you see in Figure 45.. The jerkin in its short form often carried heraldry symbolism on it.

Important for men and women. Agnes Sorel the mistress of Charles VII (French) was the first to enlist someone to cut a diamond. Thumb rings were popular, heavy gold chains, small silver bells, pearls were all important. Our term “pin money” comes from this time as headdresses were fastened by pins that were expensive and ornate, but not necessary. There were laws limiting gifts if these pins to the first two days in January. Buttons were used at the end of the 14th century (See figure 46) for before that they were considered to be part of the “loose” life as they allowed one to loosen ones garments with

Movies: Henry IV, Martin Luther, Jeanne d’Arc, Hunchback of Notre Dame

Discussion #10. Discuss any connection between the popular Gothic
architecture and the clothing/accessories worn. Look at silhouette, fabrication, motifs,
details, or other items that make a connection.

Reading: Tortora and Eubanks, Chapter 6. Late Middle Ages.


In the late middle ages of the 14th and 15th centuries,  the headdress for both men and women was highly important to their ranking, status, and occupation in society. In this culture, women did not like to show their hair. The women during this time wore headdress that covered their whole head. Women covered their hair with a caul which was a piece of fabric. Not only did they have this to cover their head but they also had a calotte which was a small cap that lay under the hennin which was a cone shaped hat. Not only were women conscious of their revealing their hair, women liked to alter their heads by plucking their foreheads and eyebrows to give the illusion of an elongated forehead. I was interested in the way they used the coffers as a traveling luggage to hold valuables. Though women has long hair, they kept it hidden underneath, maybe because it was sacred.

Men’s headgear during this time was not as determined to touch the sky as that of the women’s headdresses. Though the men’s hair was about shoulder length, they often had bowl cropped hair, and covered it with headdress called a sugar loafer, a soft tall cone shaped hat, roundel or a bourrelet, which looked sausage-like, or flat-like usually made out of felt or straw. They also wore chaperones which was worn in many different ways. It could be worn all on the head, or half on the head draping down onto the shoulder. Either way, it was worn to determine their status in society.

Gothic Cathedral
Architecture during the late middle ages of the 14th and 15th centuries was that of the prevailing gothic style. This type of architecture is most familiar in cathedrals, churches, town halls, universities, and castles. It was mostly the churches and cathedrals that made bold and powerful statements.

Below is an image of the Gothic Cathedral in Notre-Dame de Chartres. This image distinguishes the many different parts of the cathedral by numbering each section with a specific name.

Comparing the men and women’s attire to the gothic cathedrals, I concluded that the hennin headdress of the women depicted the “Spire” of the gothic architecture with it’s pointed top of the tower. Also the footwear of the leather made poulaine or crackow could represent the tip of the gothic tower as well with the pointed tip of the shoe. Also, with the detailing of the pied colored patterned garments, could represent the detailing of the columns mixed with the wide arches. Here is a picture of a the inside of a colorful cathedral.

Definitely I think that the middle ages was a way to “blend in with their surroundings”. Fashion during this time was a bold statement and I think that it’s interesting how we can see a balance between the art of fashion and the art of architecture. I found a couple examples online of architectural inspired clothing. These are garments that are being showcased on the runway, and is probably not your average everyday wear. These are just some representations of how architecture could still influence fashion today.

In this image, geometric shapes are used to represent the contours of the buildings.

In this image, the design element of color is being represented.


October 9, 2009

Clothing during the early middle ages of the 10th to 13th centuries focused more on composite garments which later on evolves to more cutting and sewing of garments. The shape of the body was what was more important rather than just trying to conceal the body. Cote was one form of dress in which both men and women wore. Men and women wore the cote which was a tunic like garment worn with a girdle, which is a type of belt. The cote was loose fitting and measured from the neck and down to the ankles almost covering the feet completely. The sleeves of the cote are long and form fitting to the arm. The girdle was belted around the waist to show more of the shape of the body. I would consider this garment to be an example of unisex clothing. The mantle, or cape is another form of unisex clothing. These capes or cloaks were fur lined, and fastened with a broach called fermail. The function of the mantle was to keep both men and women warm. The Tunic was also another form of clothing I would consider to be unisex. Though this type of dress served as a different purpose for men than women, the style of the tunic was the same. For women, the tunic or chemise was an undergarment usually undecorated. For men, the tunic was used as a working garment in which they can easily move actively. Though during this time period men and women wore similar clothing, men and women wore different garments to represent their status role in society. The Bliaut, or bliaud was worn by the upper class, and was often sewn with two pieces of finer, fuller, and luxurious fabric.

Today, unisex clothing has somewhat become a popular choice by big clothing companies. Maybe the reason for unisex clothing is because in today’s society race and gender doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal when it comes to clothing. Anyone and everyone can wear whatever they please. I think that people are learing to accept the fact that this society is one big melting pot or tossed salad. As far as gender roles, who decides what men should wear, and who decides what women wear? How come in clothing stores, there is a men’s section and a women’s section? Do we decide this ourselves or does the media have some influence on who can wear what? I believe that media does have a lot to do with how we as humans carry ourselves. The media is a big portion of why we change ourselves to look like what we think is “beautiful” based on television. Though most articles of clothing distinguish men from women,there are also a lot of unisex clothing that is available today. A few examples that come to mind are clothing from American Apparel, a clothing company originally based in Los Angeles California. One garment I want to highlight is the collared long sleeve. Both men and women can wear the collared long sleeve in different variations. Here in the picture below shows both the men’s style and women’s style wearing the collared long sleeve tucked into the pants. Another unisex item I want to highlight is the circle scarf favored by both women and men.