Wikipedia describes 1640s fashion:

“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.

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 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.

Portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, and his Wife Louise Henriette, Countess of Orange-Nassau

Fig. 1 - Gerard van Honthorst (Dutch, 1592-1656). Portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, and his Wife Louise Henriette, Countess of Orange-Nassau, 1647. Oil on canvas; 302 × 194.3 cm (118.9 x 76.5 in). Amsterdam: Rijks Museum, SK-A-873. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Lady

Fig. 3 - Carlo Francesco Nuvolone (Italian, 1609-1662). Portrait of a Lady, 1647-49. Oil on canvas; 200 x 120 cm. Bologna: Collezioni Comunali d'Arte di Palazzo d'Accursio. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a lady

Fig. 4 - Jadwiga Łuszkowska (Polish). Portrait of a lady, 1640. Gdańsk: National Museum. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Woman

Fig. 4 - Ferdinand Bol (Dutch, 1616–1680). Portrait of a Woman, 1642. Oil on canvas; 87.3 x 71.1 cm (34 3/8 x 28 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 30.95.269. Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915. Source: The Met


Wikipedia describes 1640s menswear fashion:

“Linen shirts had deep cuffs. Shirt sleeves became fuller throughout the period.

Pointed Van Dyke beards, named after the painter Anthony van Dyck, were fashionable, and men often grew a large, wide moustache, as well. Doublets were pointed and fitted close to the body, with tight sleeves, to about 1615. Gradually waistlines rose and sleeves became fuller, and both body and upper sleeves might be slashed to show the shirt beneath. By 1640 doublets were full and unfitted, and might be open at the front below the high waist to show the shirt.

Short cloaks or capes, usually hip-length, often with sleeves, were worn by fashionable men, usually slung artistically over the left shoulder, even indoors; a fashion of the 1630s matched the cape fabric to the breeches and its lining to the doublet. Long cloaks were worn for inclement weather.”

Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve (1630-1658), son of Christian IV and Vibeke Kruse

Fig. 1 - Abraham Wuchters (Danish, 1608 - 1682). Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve (1630-1658), son of Christian IV and Vibeke Kruse, 1645. Oil on canvas; 208 x 123 cm. Denmark: Statens Museum for Kunst, KMS617. Køb, Kaptajn Schapers arvinger - 1851. Source: Pinterest

Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer

Fig. 2 - Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck (Dutch, 1600-1662). Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer, 1640. Oil on canvas; 104 x 78.5 cm (40 15/16 x 30 7/8 in). Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1998.13.1. Patrons' Permanent Fund. Source: Pinterest

Portrait of a Man Seated in an Armchair

Fig. 3 - Dutch (Amsterdam) Painter (Dutch). Portrait of a Man Seated in an Armchair, ca. 1640–50. Oil on canvas; 108.3 x 82.6 cm (42 5/8 x 32 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.1.139. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975. Source: The Met

Marcantonio Pasqualini (1614–1691) Crowned by Apollo

Fig. 4 - Andrea Sacchi (Italian, 1599–1661). Marcantonio Pasqualini (1614–1691) Crowned by Apollo, 1641. Oil on canvas; 243.8 x 194.3 cm (96 x 76 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981.317. Purchase, Enid A. Haupt Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1981. Source: The Met

Buff leather coat with silver-gilt braid trimming

Fig. 5 - Maker unknown. Buff leather coat with silver-gilt braid trimming, 1640. Leather, with whalebone stiffening in the collar and silver-gilt braids; height: 103 cm, width: 68 cm skirt. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, T.34-1948. Source: V&A


María Teresa (1638–1683), Infanta of Spain

Fig. 1 - Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo (Spanish, 1612–1667). María Teresa (1638–1683), Infanta of Spain, ca. 1645. Oil on canvas; 148 x 102.9 cm (58 1/4 x 40 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43.101. Rogers Fund, 1943. Source: The Met


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1640-1649

Map of Europe in 1640. Source: Wikimedia

  • 1640 – Independence of Portugal
  • 1642 – Rembrandt’s Night Watch
  • 1648 – End of Thirty Years War
  • 1649-59 – The English Commonwealth is proclaimed, with puritanical Oliver Cromwell at its head. Style in England becomes more subdued as a result.

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.
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.
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/.
“1640-1649 Portraits of Men.” Pinterest, 1640s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1640-1649-portraits-of-men/.
“1640-1649 Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1640s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1640-1649-portraits-of-women/.
“History of Fashion: XVII C.” Pinterest, 1600s. https://www.pinterest.com/luthienef/history-of-fashion-xvii-c/.