Wikipedia summarizes Western European fashion of 1600-1650 as:

“characterized by the disappearance of the ruff in favour of broad lace or linen collars. Waistlines rose through the period for both men and women. Other notable fashions included full, slashed sleeves and tall or broad hats with brims. For men, hose disappeared in favour of breeches.

The silhouette, which was essentially close to the body with tight sleeves and a low, pointed waist to around 1615, gradually softened and broadened.

In the early decades of the century, a trend among poets and artists to adopt a fashionable pose of melancholia is reflected in fashion, where the characteristic touches are dark colours, open collars, unbuttoned robes or doublets, and a generally disheveled appearance, accompanied in portraits by world-weary poses and sad expressions….

In the early years of the new century, fashionable bodices had high necklines or extremely low, rounded necklines, and short wings at the shoulders. Separate closed cartwheel ruffs were sometimes worn, with the standing collar, supported by a small wire frame or supportasse used for more casual wear and becoming more common later. Long sleeves were worn with deep cuffs to match the ruff. The cartwheel ruff disappeared in fashionable England by 1613….

To about 1613, hair was worn feathered high over the forehead. Married women wore their hair in a linen coif or cap, often with lace trim. Tall hats like those worn by men were adopted for outdoor wear.”

Ansegisus and Saint Bega

Fig. 1 - Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640). Ansegisus and Saint Bega, ca. 1612-1615. Oil on canvas; 94 × 76 cm (37 × 29.9 in). Vienna: The Museum of Fine Arts, GG_521. Source: Kunsthistorisches Museum

Lady Catherine Smythe Scott

Fig. 2 - Anonymous. Lady Catherine Smythe Scott, 1610. Oil on canvas; 206.5 x 127.0 cm (81 5/16 x 50 in). Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Art, GL.67.13.6. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James MacLamroc. Source: Grand Ladies

Ceremonial dress of Magdalena Sibylla of Prussia, Electress of Saxony

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown. Ceremonial dress of Magdalena Sibylla of Prussia, Electress of Saxony, 1610-20. Dresden: The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen. Source: Pinterest


[To come…]

Portrait of Sir John Penruddock

Fig. 1 - Circle of Robert Peake the Elder (British, 1551–1619). Portrait of Sir John Penruddock, 1616. Oil on panel; 59.8 x 44.5 cm (23.5 x 17.5 in). Private Collection. Source: Artnet

Prunkkleid von Johann Georg I

Fig. 2 - Designer unknown. Prunkkleid von Johann Georg I, 1617. Dresden: Private Collection. Source: Pinterest

Saint Jerome as Scholar

Fig. 3 - El Greco (Greek, 1540/41–1614). Saint Jerome as Scholar, ca. 1610. Oil on canvas; 108 x 89 cm (42 1/2 x 35 1/16 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.1.146. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975. Source: The Met

Portrait of Albert

Fig. 4 - Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640). Portrait of Albert, 1615. Engraving; 42.3 x 30.0 cm. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 22.42.1. Rogers Fund, 1922. Source: The Met


Portrait of a girl from the de Ligne family

Fig. 1 - Marcus Gheeraerts (English, 1561-1635). Portrait of a girl from the de Ligne family, 1616. Oil on canvas. London: Private collection. Johnny Van Haeften Ltd. Source: PBS Learning Media

Merrymakers at Shrovetide

Fig. 2 - Frans Hals (Dutch, 1582/83–1666). Merrymakers at Shrovetide, ca. 1616–17. Oil on canvas; 131.4 x 99.7 cm (51 3/4 x 39 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 14.40.605. Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913. Source: The Met


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1610-1619

Map of Europe in 1619. Source: Wikimedia

  • 1616 – Death of Cervantes and Shakespeare

Primary/Period Sources

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!

Primary/Period Sources

Castiglione, Baldassarre, and Thomas Hoby. The Courtier of Counte Baldessar Castilio: Diuided into Foure Bookes. Verie Necessarie and Profitable for Young Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, Abiding in Court, Palace, or Place. Translated into English by Tho. Hobby. London: Printed by Thomas Creede, 1603. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/606505970.
Courtin, Antoine de. Nouveau traité de la civilité qui se pratique en France parmi les honnestes gens. Paris: H. Josset, 1681. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000179974.
Peacham, Henry. Peacham’s Compleat Gentleman, 1634. CIHM/ICMH Microfiche Series = CIHM/ICMH Collection de Microfiches ;No. 98995. Oxford ; Toronto: Clarendon Press, 1906. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100309353.
Pibrac, Guy du Faur. La civilité qui se pratique en France parmi les honnêtes gens, pour l’éducation de la jeunesse, avec une méthode facile pour apprendre à bien lire, prononcer les mots & les écrire. Tours: Billault jeune, [16-?]. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001921297.

Secondary Sources

Also see the 17th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.


Watt, Melinda. “English Embroidery of the Late Tudor and Stuart Eras.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/broi/hd_broi.htm.
Breiding, Dirk H. “Fashion in European Armor.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/afas/hd_afas.htm.
Breiding, Dirk H. “Fashion in European Armor, 1600–1700.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/afas17/hd_afas17.htm.
Victoria and Albert Museum. “Fashion up to the 17th Century Reading List,” January 13, 2011. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/reading-list-fashion-up-to-the-17th-century/.
“Recreating 16th and 17th Century Clothing: The Renaissance Tailor,” n.d. http://www.renaissancetailor.com/research_vocabulary.htm.
Watt, Melinda. “Textile Production in Europe: Silk, 1600–1800.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/txt_s/hd_txt_s.htm.
Breiding, Dirk H. “The Decoration of European Armor.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/deca/hd_deca.htm.

Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/759883168.
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. Expanded ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1987. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/979316852.
Braun, Melanie, and Luca Costigliolo. 17th-Century Men’s Dress Patterns, 1600-1630. London: Thames & Hudson, 2016. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/990588024.
Brown, Susan, ed. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style. New York: DK Publishing, 2012. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/840417029.
Cumming, Valerie. A Visual History of Costume: The Seventeenth Century. 3. London: Batsford, 1984. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/9761398.
Edwards, Lydia. How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/988370049.
Griffey, Erin. On Display: Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence at the Stuart Court. London: Yale University Press, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/949809624.
Hart, Avril, and Susan North. Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries. London: V&A Publications, 1998. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/170891633.
Hart, Avril, Susan North, Richard Davis, and Leonie Davis. Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2009. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/846177973.
Hill, Daniel Delis. History of World Costume and Fashion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/768100950.
Reynolds, Graham. Costume of the Western World: Elizabethan and Jacobean, 1558-1625. Harrap, 1951. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/30198326.
Reynolds, Anna. In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2013. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/824726826.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Clothing Art: The Visual Culture of Fashion, 1600-1914. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/150348469.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/630130965.
Richardson, Catherine. Clothing Culture, 1350-1650. New York: Routledge, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/976442537.
Rodini, Elizabeth, Elissa Weaver, and Kristen Ina Grimes. A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costume in European Art, 1500-1850. Chicago: The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/694844989.
Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
Vincent, Susan J., and Elizabeth Currie, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Renaissance (1450-1650). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Men’s Clothes, 1600-1900. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1964. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/927414537.
Waugh, Norah, and Margaret Woodward. The Cut of Women’s Clothes, 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/894728161.
Welch, Evelyn S., ed. Fashioning the Early Modern: Dress, Textiles, and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800. Pasold Studies in Textile History 18. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1004187054.
“1600-1699 Accessories.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-accessories/.
“1600-1699 Children’s Clothing.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-childrens-clothing/.
“1600-1699 Fabrics & Textiles.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-fabrics-textiles/.
“1600-1699 Jewelry.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-jewelry/.
“1600-1699 Men’s Extant Garments.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-mens-extant-garments/.
“1600-1699 Undated Portraits of Men.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-undated-portraits-of-men/.
“1600-1699 Undated Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-undated-portraits-of-women/.
“1600-1699 Women’s Extant Garments.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1600-1699-womens-extant-garments/.
“1600s Clothing.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/brazen_irish_hu/1600s-clothing/.
“1610-1619 Portraits of Men.” Pinterest, 1610s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1610-1619-portraits-of-men/.
“1610-1619 Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1610s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1610-1619-portraits-of-women/.
“History of Fashion: XVII C.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/luthienef/history-of-fashion-xvii-c/.