Category Archives: Renaissance Era

Renaissance Splendor

This was the period when fashion finally moved from draped clothing to fitted garments and the art of tailoring came into its own. Clothes gained structure and became stiffer and more supportive. The first templates for garments that remained modern items of clothing were created: hose with a fitted doublet and outer coat for men, a bodice with a separate skirt for women.

Möller Lady with a rose, c.1600. Lovely cuffs and micro pleated ruff. Beautiful doublet and interesting belt. And, uh, unique hat.
Möller Lady with a rose, c.1600. Lovely cuffs and micro pleated ruff. Beautiful doublet and interesting belt. And, uh, unique hat.


Differentiation in clothing

Clothing now consisted of a greater number of parts including detachable sleeves, under- and over skirts, sleeveless jerkins, and  breeches of different lengths. This emphasis on separate parts of the body reflected the new interest in human anatomy that had gripped the natural sciences. The masculine form was enhanced by the latest clothing, with its wide shoulders, prominent codpieces,strong legs, and bellies. Women’s clothes emphasized their narrow waists, combining wide shoulders and skirts with a deeply pointed bodice. The garments of different nations or regions showed greater differentiation, and the religious schism between the Catholic church and the reform or Protestant faiths led to the creation of new visual  identities for members of the different faiths.

(Let’s see women’s clothing of Renaissance Era and before the time.)

14th century women's clothing
14th century women’s clothing
Elizabethan Working Woman
Elizabethan Working Woman

Age of exploration
The Ottoman Empire rose in the near East and southeast Europe, after conquering Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) in 1453, bringing  Islamic might to the region. Through the 16th century the Spanish empire was the richest and most powerful; it began to wane in the early 17th century as the French became more dominant. This was an  age of conquests, exploration, and expansion into the Americas, following Columbus’s arrival in 1492. Other explorers ventured around the world opening up sea trading routes around Africa and Asia, crossing the Pacific and discovering new goods to bring back to Europe.

Dominant personalities

New realism and naturalism in painting meant that portraits were much more realistic and could accurately represent individuals and their clothes.Dominant personalities in Europe—Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in England, Philip II in Spain,Francois I and Henry IV in France, the de’Medici dynasty in Florence, and Suleiman the Magnificent in the Ottoman empire—reinforced their position with strong visuals in paintings that portrayed them in fashionable clothes. Ruffs, in particular, became popular. The starching process stiffened cloth and allowed the development of very wide ruffs, and lace became the most luxurious textile to own. In the late 16th century heeled shoes were invented.

Henry VIII
Henry VIII


Elizabeth I
Bess of Hardwick/Elizabeth I: “The Hardwick Portrait”, c1599, by Nicholas Hilliard and his workshop was commissioned by Bess of Hardwick. Bess also embroidered the skirt the queen is wearing in the portrait. The elaborate design includes flowers, sea serpents, and dragons. The painting can be viewed still at Hardwick Hall.