Wikipedia summarizes women’s fashion during this time period by stating:

“Women’s fashions of the earlier 16th century consisted of a long gown, usually with sleeves, worn over a kirtle or undergown, with a linen chemise or smock worn next to the skin.The high-waisted gown of the late medieval period evolved in several directions in different parts of Europe. In the German states and Bohemia, gowns remained short-waisted, tight-laced but without corsets. The open-fronted gown laced over the kirtle or a stomacher or plackard. Sleeves were puffed and slashed, or elaborately cuffed.”

Elizabethan Costume writes of women’s headwear:

“A new, lighter form of headwear began to make an appearance in the 1530s. Worn mostly by younger women, this hood combined the square shape of the gable hood with the flatter, less bulky silhouette of the emerging french hood. Anne Cresacre is shown to the right wearing such a hood, which can be called a “transitional” English hood for lack of a better word. It lays flat across the top and bends down at the sides, creating a square profile much like that of the Holbein sketch of Anne Boleyn in a coif. Indeed, it is entirely probable that coif and hood were worn in conjunction with each other–the edging of lace appearing underneath Anne’s hood could be the edge of her coif. A veil pinned over the hood fell down the back.”

Musical Group

Fig. 1 - Callisto Piazza (Italian, 1500-1561). Musical Group, 1520s. Oil on panel; 91 x 91 cm (35.8 x 35.8 in). Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cat. 234. John G. Johnson Collection, 1917. Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art

An Unidentified Woman

Fig. 2 - Hans Holbein (German, 1497-1543). An Unidentified Woman, ca. 1539. Black and coloured chalks, white body color, and pen with black and brown ink on pale pink prepared paper which has been trimmed to outlines and pasted onto another sheet; 27.1 × 16.9 cm (10.6 in x 6.6 in). London: Royal Collection, RL 12273. Source: Royal Collection

Portrait of a Lady in a Green dress

Fig. 3 - Bartolomeo Veneto (Italian). Portrait of a Lady in a Green dress, 1530. Oil on oak panel; 85.9 x 67.6 cm (33 7/8 x 26 5/8 in). San Diego: Timken Museum of Art, 1979:003. Source: Balboa Park Commons

Lady with handkerchief

Fig. 4 - Paris Bordone (1495 - 1570). Lady with handkerchief, 1530. Private Collection. Source: Pinterest


Wikipedia summarizes men’s fashion during this time period by writing:

“Early in this period, men’s silhouette was long and narrow, but gradually it grew wider until by the later reign of Henry the VIII the silhouette was almost square, with shoulder emphasis achieved through wide revers and collars and large sleeves. From the 1530s, a narrower silhouette became popular under Spanish influence. Collars were higher and tighter. Shoulders lost their padding and developed a slight slope. Doublet sleeves became fuller rather than tight. Jerkins closed to the neck; their skirts were shorter and slightly flared rather than full, and they displayed more of the hose. Overall the fashion was more rigid and restrained.”

Portrait of Simon George

Fig. 1 - Hans Holbein (German, 1497-1543). Portrait of Simon George, 1536. Oil on oak; 31 x 31 cm (12.2 x 12.2 in). Frankfurt: Städelsches Kunstinstitut. Source: Web Gallery of Art

Portrait of a Man in Red

Fig. 2 - Artist unknown (German/Netherlandish). Portrait of a Man in Red, ca. 1530-50. Oil on panel; 190.2 x 105.7 cm. London: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 405752. Source: Royal Collection

François Ier, roi de France

Fig. 3 - Jean Clouet (French, 1475–1540). François Ier, roi de France, 1530. Oil on oak wood; 96 x 74 cm. Paris: The Louvre. Source: Lourve


Wikipedia summarizes children’s clothing during the 1530s by saying:

“As shown in the images below, children’s clothing was mostly smaller versions of adult clothing, complete with low necklines and cumbersome underthings. Children of the nobility must have had limited freedom of movement to play and romp because of the restrictive clothing they wore. Toddler boys wore gowns until they were breeched.”

Prince Edward VI of England

Fig. 1 - William Scrots (English, 1547-1553). Prince Edward VI of England, 1550. Oil on panel; 94 × 71.1 cm (37 × 28 in). Source: Wikimedia

Maximillian of Austria

Fig. 2 - Jakob Seisenegger (Austrian, 1505-1567). Maximillian of Austria, 1530. The Hague: Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery. Source: The Athenaeum

Maximilian and his younger brothers Ferdinand II and John

Fig. 3 - Jakob Seisenegger (Austrian, 1505-1567). Maximilian and his younger brothers Ferdinand II and John, 1539. Oil on canvas; 40 x 60 cm. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, GG_8191. Source: Wikimedia


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1530-1539

Map of Europe, 1519. Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • 1532 – Hapsburgs repulsed Turks in Hungary.
  • 1535 – Henry VIII became head of the Church of England.
  • Primary/Period Sources

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