“Fashion in 15th-century Europe Was characterized by a series of extremes and extravagances, from the voluminous gowns called houppelandes with their sweeping floor-length sleeves to the revealing doublets and hose of Renaissance Italy. Hats, hoods, and other headdresses assumed increasing importance, and were swagged, draped, jeweled, and feathered. As Europe continued to grow more prosperous, the urban middle classes, skilled workers, began to wear more complex clothes that followed, at a distance, the fashions set by the elites. It is in this time period that we begin to see fashion take on a temporal aspect. People could now be dated by their clothes, and being in “out of date” clothing became a new social concern. National variations in clothing seem on the whole to have increased over the 15th century.”
About new techniques, Wikipedia writes:
“Slashing is a decorative technique that involved making small cuts on the outer fabric of a garment in order to reveal the inner garment or lining. It was performed on all varieties of clothing both men’s and women’s. This practice, revealed brightly colored pieces of fabric from underneath an outer garment. Contemporary chroniclers identify the source of the fashion for slashing garments to the actions of Swiss soldiers in the aftermath of the Battle of Grandson in 1476. Supposedly the Swiss plundered the rich fabrics of the Burgundian nobles and used the scraps to patch their tattered clothes. In reality, images appear of sleeves with a single slashed opening as early as mid-15th century, although the German fashion for “many small all-over slits” may have begun here. Whatever its origin, the fad for multiple slashings spread to German Landsknechts and thence to France, Italy, and England, where it was to remain a potent current in fashionable attire into the mid-17th century.”
“The basic costume of men in this period consisted of a shirt, doublet, and hose, with some sort of overgown (robe worn over clothing).
Men of all classes wore short braies or breeches, a loose undergarment, usually made of linen, which was held up by a belt. Hose or chausses made out of wool were used to cover the legs, and were generally brightly colored. Early hose sometimes had leather soles and were worn without shoes or boots. Hose were generally tied to the breech belt, or to the breeches themselves, or to a doublet.
As doublets became shorter, hose reached to the waist rather than the hips, and were sewn together into a single garment with a pouch or flap to cover the front opening; this evolved into the codpiece.
The hose exposed by short tops were, especially in Italy late in the 15th century, often strikingly patterned, parti-coloured (different colours for each leg, or vertically divided), or embroidered. Hose were cut on the cross-grain or bias for stretch.”
- “1400–1500 in European fashion” Wikipedia. Accessed September 16, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1400%E2%80%931500_in_European_fashion
- “Italian 14th, 15th Century Fashion History” World4.edu Accessed September 18, 2016. http://world4.eu/italian-14th-century-clothing/#Men8217s_Dress
- 1473 – First edition of The Canon of Medicine
- 1474 – End of the Anglo-Hanseatic War
- 1476 – The new fashion is for slashing garments to reveal the lining or undergarments. Perhaps from the actions of Swiss soldiers following Battle of Grandson in 1476, when they patched tattered clothes with fabrics plundered from dead nobles.
- 1478 – Lorenzo de’ Medici becomes ruler of Florence
- 1478 – The Spanish Inquisition begins.
- 1479 – Ferdinand II ascends the throne of Aragon
- 1470s – Early versions of the farthingale appear in Spain as the verdugada or verdugado, a bell-shaped skirt stiffened with hoops of cane, or later, willow. Originally hoops are worn on the outer surface of the dress, later they go underneath the overskirt.
Resources for Fashion History Research
To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
Have a primary source to suggest? Or a newly digitized periodical/book to announce? Contact us!