Overview of an Elizabethan Outfit

Overview of an Elizabethan Outfit

Putting on an Elizabethan Outfit Defunked website= http://www.dnaco.net’—aleed/corsets/overview.html Overview of an Elizabethan Outfit Or “She must b...

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Putting on an Elizabethan Outfit Defunked website= http://www.dnaco.net’—aleed/corsets/overview.html

Overview of an Elizabethan Outfit Or “She must be stifling in that thing” This is a listing of the main elements of Elizabethan costume. (By the term “Elizabethan”, I mean the dress worn by the English approximately during Queen Elizabeth’s reign (15601600). Each item is accompanied by a short definition and explanation accompanying each item as well as pointers to more detailed information elsewhere at this site. Even when one doesn’t take into account the variations in style between 1550 and 1590, and the radical spectrum of fashion occurring between the middling poor and nobility, there is a bewildering variety in English Elizabethan womenswear--French gowns, round gowns, loose gowns, night gowns, doublets, Italian gowns, and Flemish and Polish gowns, just for starters. So this is a general listing, not a specific one, concentrating mainly on the under-clothing worn by middle- and upper- class Englishwomen in the latter half of the 16th century to create the Elizabethan silhouette. Putting on an English Elizabethan gown is a complicated process, and when you include hair and makeup, can take half an hour or more. Any undies, stockings, shoes, earrings, etc. go on first. Dress your hair and do your makeup before starting; once you’re dressed, it’ll be nearly impossible. Although Elizabethan women didn’t wear underwear per Se, they did wear stockings. These usually came to just above the knee, and were held in place by a garter at the top of the calf. See Knitting Period Stockings for more details. There is evidence that Englishwomens’ shoes during Elizabethan times were usually thin-soled with leather soles, and had uppers of leather, velvet or other fabrics lined (by the nobility, at least) with scarlet, taffeta, or satin. They were for the most part simple, slipper-type shoes, cut low on the top and round-toed, although heeled shoes became more popular from the 1 560s onward. For more information, here’s a site containing Patterns for Tudor Shoes. To protect their shoes from the muck and mud of an average English street, women wore pattens, or chopines. Pattens were wooden soles, usually 1/2 to 1 inch thick, hinged at the ball of the foot with leather straps that were strapped on over the shoes, rather like sandals. Chopines, also called pantobles or mules, ranged from sturdy-soled shoes with heels to high, discoesque platforms. Put on your Chemise/smock. This was a simple underdress worn to protect the clothing from sweat and body oils. It often had full sleeves gathered to a cuff, and either gathered to a neckband or fitted close to the chest, although examples exist of ungathered smocks. For more information on the history and variety of Elizabethan smocks, see the section on Elizabethan Smocks and Chemises

If you’re going to wear an under-petticoat under your farthingale to keep warm and to prevent any flashes of leg, put that on now. Petticoats were underskirts worn both for decoration (often an overskirt would be tucked up to display a pretty underskirt) and for warmth. Decorated petticoats were worn over a farthingale and buniroll (see the next two sections), but flannel under-petticoats are also documented as being worn underneath the farthingale. The tailors’ patterns of the time, and surviving petticoats and skirts, most commonly show slightly gored or flared pieces gathered or pleated to a waistband. For more information on petticoats, visit this page on Elizabethan Petticoats Put on your farthingale/hoop skirt. The Spanish farthingale, worn from approximately 1540-1580, was a cone-shaped underskirt stiffened with willow osiers or other materials. The design for this farthingale was imported from Spain; hence the name. It was this undergarment which created the signature early Elizabethan A-line skirt. As the century waned, it gradually gave way to the French Farthingale, which had a different look altogether. For more info on the farthingale and its evolution throughout the Elizabethan era, look at the sections on the History of the Farthin2ale and Making Elizabethan Farthingales. The corset/pair of bodies. This was a close-fitting stiffened garment, usually with a wooden busk down the front to make it flatter and stiffer. The pair of bodies, or some comparative type of stiffening, is essential for all middle class and upper class Elizabethan gowns; even if you have a beautiful bodice and sleeves, the period effect will be ruined by the torso’s natural lumps and bulges if you go without a corset, unless the bodice itself is heavily boned (in which case it is itself called a pair of bodies--you have to love period terminology). Look at the sections on the History of the Elizabethan Corset, Corset Materials, Corset Patterns and Sewing a Corset Together to find out more about this garment.

Put on your bumroll. The bumroll, worn by almost all Elizabethan women of any means, was a round, crescent-shaped pad that makes the skirt stick out like it should. Look at Making an Elizabethan Bumroll for more information.

If you have a partlet, this goes on now. The partlet was a curious item of clothing worn by Tudor and Elizabethan women which covered only the front and back chest and tied under the arms. Originally it was worn over a dress, but by the mid 16th century it was, for the most part, worn over the corset and under the bodice.