Wikipedia summarizes fashion of the 1630s, writing,

“Fashion in the period 1600–1650 in Western European clothing is 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.

Spanish fashions remained very conservative. The ruff lingered longest in Spain and the Netherlands, but disappeared first for men and later for women in France and England.The silhouette, which was essentially close to the body with tight sleeves and a low, pointed waist to around 1615, gradually softened and broadened. Sleeves became very full, and in the 1620s and 1630s were often paned or slashed to show the voluminous sleeves of the shirt or chemise beneath.

The social tensions leading to the English Civil War were reflected in English fashion, with the elaborate French styles popular at the courts of James I and his son Charles I contrasting with the sober styles in sad or somber colours favoured by Puritans and exported to the early settlements of New England.

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.”

Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Frans

Fig. 1 - Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640). Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Frans, 1635. Oil on wood; 203.8 x 158.1 cm (80 1/4 x 62 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981.238. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in honor of Sir John Pope-Hennessy, 1981. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maria of Austria, Queen of Hungary, detail

Fig. 2 - Frans Luycks (Flemish, 1604-1668). Maria of Austria, Queen of Hungary, detail, ca. 1635. Oil on canvas; 215 x 147 cm. Madrid: Prado Museum, P01272. Royal Collection. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora

Fig. 3 - Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571–1638). Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora, 1633. Oil on panel; 74.3 x 59.4 cm (29 1/4 x 23 3/8 in). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 46.559. Gift of Mrs. Albert J. Beveridge in memory of Delia Spencer Field. Source: MFA

Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes (previously known as Artemisia), detail

Fig. 4 - Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669). Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes (previously known as Artemisia), detail, 1634. Oil on canvas; 143 x 154.7 cm. Madrid: Prado Museum, P02132. Royal Collection. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Woman

Fig. 5 - Jan van Ravesteyn (Dutch, 1572–1657). Portrait of a Woman, 1635. Oil on wood; 68.3 x 58.1 cm (26 7/8 x 22 7/8 in). New York: The Met, 12.202. Gift of Henry Goldman, 1912. Source: The Met


[To come…]


Fig. 1 - Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669). Self-Portrait, ca. 1636-38. Oil on panel; 63.2 x 50.5 cm (24 7/8 x 19 7/8 in). Pasadena: The Norton Simon Museum, F.1969.18.P. The Norton Simon Foundation. Source: Pinterest

Louis XIII

Fig. 2 - Jan van Belcamp (Flemish, 1610-1653). Louis XIII, 1636. Oil on canvas; 201.6 x 122.6 cm. London: Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 404098. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Man, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family

Fig. 3 - Rembrandt (1606–1669). Portrait of a Man, probably a Member of the Van Beresteyn Family, 1632. Oil on canvas; 111.8 x 88.9 cm (44 x 35 in). New York: The Met, 29.100.3. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929. Source: The Met


Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Frans

Fig. 1 - Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640). Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Frans, 1635. Oil on wood; 203.8 x 158.1 cm (80 1/4 x 62 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981.238. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in honor of Sir John Pope-Hennessy, 1981. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portrait of a two-year-old girl

Fig. 2 - Jan Cornelisz (1577–1640). Portrait of a two-year-old girl, 1636. Oil on panel; 560 mm x 450 mm cm (22.05 in x 17.72 in). Switzerland: Hallwyl Museum, 1981.238. Source: pinterest


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1630-1639

Carte de l’Europe. Source: Wikimedia

  • 1637 – René Descartes’ Geometry
  • 1630s – The “bucket-top” boot for men makes an appearance, strings of pearls become fashionable for England
  • 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, 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.
    Strong, Roy. “Charles I’s Clothes for the Years 1633 to 1635.” Costume 14, no. 1 (January 1, 1980): 73–89. https://doi.org/10.1179/cos.1980.14.1.73.
    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/.
    “1630-1639 Portraits of Men.” Pinterest, 1630s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1630-1639-portraits-of-men/.
    “1630-1639 Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1630s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1630-1639-portraits-of-women/.
    “History of Fashion: XVII C.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/luthienef/history-of-fashion-xvii-c/.