OVERVIEW

Womenswear

Wikipedia writes of women’s fashion 1550-1600:

“Women’s outer clothing generally consisted of a loose or fitted gown worn over a kirtle or petticoat (or both). An alternative to the gown was a short jacket or a doublet cut with a high neckline. The narrow-shouldered, wide-cuffed “trumpet” sleeves characteristic of the 1540s and 1550s in France and England disappeared in the 1560s, in favor of French and Spanish styles with narrower sleeves.

Overall, the silhouette was narrow through the 1560s and gradually widened, with emphasis as the shoulder and hip. The slashing technique, seen in Italian dress in the 1560s, evolved into single or double rows of loops at the shoulder with contrasting linings. By the 1580s these had been adapted in England as padded and jeweled shoulder rolls.”

Ritratto di famiglia

Fig. 1 - Bernardino Licinio (Italian, 1489–1565). Ritratto di famiglia, 1560. Oil on canvas; 98.5 x 111 cm (38.8 x 43.7 in). Private Collection. Source: Blogspot

Dama y Nina

Fig. 2 - Adriaen Van Cronenburg (Dutch, 1552-1590). Dama y Nina, 1567. Oil on canvas; 107 x 78 cm. Madrid: Museo Del Prado, P02075. Source: Museo Del Prado

Portrait of Lady Zucchi

Fig. 3 - Jacopo Zucchi (Italian, 1540-1596). Portrait of Lady Zucchi, 1560. Oil on canvas; (48 x 37 3/4 in). Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, C10015. Courtesy of The Clowes Fund. Source: Pinterest

The Gatacre Jewel; The Fair Maid of Gatacre

Fig. 4 - Maker unknown. The Gatacre Jewel; The Fair Maid of Gatacre, 1560. Gold, amethyst, pearl, enamel; 6.9 x 3.9 cm. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, M.7-1982. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund. Source: Europeana Fashions

Menswear

Wikipedia writes of men’s fashion 1550-1600:

“Men’s fashionable clothing consisted of a linen shirt with collar or ruff and matching wrist ruffs, which were laundered with starch to be kept stiff and bright. Over the shirt men wore a doublet with long sleeves sewn or laced in place. Doublets were stiff, heavy garments, and were often reinforced with boning.

Optionally, a jerkin, usually sleeveless and often made of leather, was worn over the doublet. During this time the doublet and jerkin became increasingly more colorful and highly decorated. Waistlines dipped V-shape in front, and were padded to hold their shape. Around 1570, this padding was exaggerated into a peas cod belly.”

Portrait of a Doctor (The Magistrate)

Fig. 1 - Giovanni Battista Moroni (Italian, 1520-1578). Portrait of a Doctor (The Magistrate), 1560. Private Collection. Source: Pinterest

Cloak

Fig. 2 - Maker unknown. Cloak, 1560-1569. Silk cut velvet lined with linen with an applied border of satin, couched silk cords, edged with a silk fringe. London: V&A. Source: Berg Fashion Library

A Knight with his Jousting Helmet

Fig. 3 - Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520/4 - 1579). A Knight with his Jousting Helmet, 1554-8. Oil on canvas; 202.3 x 106.5 cm. London: National Gallery/ Room 12. Bought, 1876. Source: The National Gallery

CHILDREN’S WEAR

Wikipedia writes on children’s fashion of the 1550s to 1600s:

“Toddler boys wore gowns or skirts and doublets until they were breeched.”

Children's Games

Fig. 1 - Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Dutch, 1525-1569). Children's Games, 1560. Oil on panel; 161 x 118 cm. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum. Source: WikiArt

Dama y Nina

Fig. 2 - Adriaen Van Cronenburg (Dutch, 1552-1590). Dama y Nina, 1567. Oil on canvas; 107 x 78 cm. Madrid: Museo del Prado, P02075. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Boy of the Bracciforte Family of Piacenza

Fig. 3 - Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (Italian, 1505-1569). Portrait of a Boy of the Bracciforte Family of Piacenza, ca. 1560. Oil on canvas; 165.1 x 87.9 cm (65 x 34 5/8 in). Source: MAG Art

Portrait of Archduchess Anna of Austria

Fig. 4 - Nicolas Neufchâtel (German, 1524-1590). Portrait of Archduchess Anna of Austria, 1567. Oil on canvas. Warsaw: Museum of John Paul II Collection. Source: Pinterest

References:

Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1560-1569
Rulers:

Historical Map of Western Europe in the Time of Elizabeth. Source: Emerson Kent

Events:
  • 1560-1600 – Men’s clothes get narrower on shoulders and longer.
  • 1562 – English legislate against the wearing of “monstrous and outrageous greatness of hose” after fashion for padding tops of legs reaches ridiculous proportions.
  • 1564 – Starching is introduced from the Low Countries and allows for the development of large, stiff ruffs. Starch can be colored yellow or blue to tint the ruff.
  • 1566 – Pope Pius V is credited with changing the color of the papal robes from red to white, as he would not give up his Dominican habit.
  • Primary/Period Sources

    Resources for Fashion History Research

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    Digitized Primary/Period Sources

    Secondary Sources

    Also see the 16th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.

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    Books/Articles
    Pinterest