Elizabethan Clothing Essay

912 words - 4 pages

The Elizabethan era lasted from 1550-1625, it was a time of great change in English culture. “For perhaps the first time in history, man viewed his recent past with contempt, dismissing the Middle Ages, somewhat unfairly, as a hopelessly backward period.” (Kemper 67). Queen Elizabeth I ruled from 1558-1602. Queen Elizabeth drastically changed the design of clothing. She created new sumptuary laws that stated who could wear what distinct colors and articles of clothing. The Elizabethan era was a time of change in all aspects of life, especially the design, and laws governing clothing.

Clothing was forever changed in the Elizabethan era. What came of this era was the Renaissance and the ...view middle of the document...

Women and men both had the design of their clothes changed as the Renaissance began, and both genders were adept on staying in fashion.

Clothing has changed tremendously throughout the centuries, but the difference in Elizabethan clothing to other era’s is astronomical. Queen Elizabeth I made clothes bigger and more extreme. The type of clothes worn depended on the person’s social standing. Clothes were more vibrant in color the higher the class. Peasants could not afford to make such extravagant dyes for their clothes and would end up having a fainter color then the nobles. Noblemen wore hats with adornments, shirts with great detail, and breeches. Other small clothes were also worn with the clothes. And like women noblemen liked to wear jewels. “Elizabethan noblemen didn't believe in being understated. They loved wearing jewels -- the bigger, the better” (Sandeen). Although clothes brought out ones personality only some colors, and trims were allowed for each social class.

The Sumptuary Laws were put into place many years ago to let only certain social classes wear certain colors. “The word sumptuary comes from the Latin word which means expenditure. Sumptuary Laws were imposed by rulers to curb the expenditure of the people” (Alchin). Queen Elizabeth created new Sumptuary Laws which were known as the “Status of Apparel”. All Sumptuary Laws were enforced and could be punished severely by the law. Punishments could range from small fines to death. There was a clause in the laws to allow nobleman's entertainment to stay the same. "Note also that the meaning of this order is not to prohibit a servant from wearing any cognizance of his master, or henchmen, heralds, pursuivants at arms; runners at...

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