What Did Renaissance Women Wear ?
During the Renaissance, women wear was influenced by Italian and Germanic designs. The women's clothing was wide, barrel-shaped or square in shape. However, clothing was considered to be a symbol of status, and the wealthy were known to spend a lot of money on clothing, and were not averse to showing off their wealth via their clothes.
Women used to wear dark colored clothes so that they could show off their jewelry and embroidery on the clothes. Usually the jewelry and embroidery were sewn on the clothes itself, and the more intricate the design and style of the clothes, the more expensive they would be.
During the Renaissance, women used to wear clothes made from silk, brocade, velvet and cotton. The cotton fabric was very expensive and taxed quite a bit to be imported into the different countries. As the clothing had value, it was quite common for the rich to pawn their clothing for money if hard times befell on them.
The Renaissance saw a change in women's wear. The three piece clothing consisting of underskirt, bodice and robe was replaced first by a one piece clothing and then by five piece or more consisting of skirt, underskirt, bodice, over-bodice (vest), hoop and collar. The rich wore different style from the lower classes, and clothing was seen as a way to differentiate between the different social classes.
The hairstyle also changed and women would hide all their hair under veils that were bordered with flowers and/or lace. As time went by, women started wearing a hood-like head covering that was pointed and known as a cap. However, in later years of the Renaissance, it was not mandatory for women to keep their head covered. Therefore, older women wore caps, while the younger ones did not.
However, to control fashion and style, the royalty passed a law that lower classes had to wear only clothing of a single color. This law was highly unpopular and to show their displeasure, the women from lower classes made outfits from two layers of fabric of contrasting color. The outer layer was slashed so that inner layer could be seen. Initially the slashes were restricted to the sleeves and skirts, but slowly slashes became so popular that men and women adopted it. Even shoes had slashes on them.
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