The Fashion Guide

To Elizabethan Engalnd and the 14th Century

A woman and a man of the Elizabethan era
A woman and a man of the Elizabethan era


Laws that stated what type, and what color clothes Elizabethan people were allowed to wear were known as Sumptuary Laws. Sumptuary Laws eliminated individualism, and helped to easily identify people in their social classes. They were established by Queen Elizabeth (the first) on June 15th, 1574. Breaking of Sumptuary Laws could lead to fines, loss of property, loss of title, and even death.

The Appearence of Elizibethan Woman

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  • Elizabethan women wanted their apperance to be similar to mans; wide hips, broad sholders, and a small waist
  • The apperance of an upper class Elizabethan women was essential and it included:
Tight clothing and ruffles, wide skirts of rich material over farthingale; low waistline, with a pointed stomacher; slashed and puffed sleeves; low neckline with a colar attached circling the neck entirely
  • lower class Elizabethan women were known to have no distinctive style
    Wore long robes that hid the feet making them look taller if heels were worn
    On special occasions the skirt was tucked up so that the pettycoats could be shown
    Women of the upper class tried to mimic the appearance of Queen Elizabeth who was a huge fashion icon at the time. This included wearing extravagant dresses with lace down the back and expensive jewlery such as pearls, which were even worn as hair accessories!
  • make up was very popular. A pale complexion was achieved by applying a lead based white face paint. Often, women would fall ill from lead posioning caused by their makeup.
  • Elizabethan brides did not wear the traditional white wedding dress we know today, instead they wore their best gown and kirtle

The Appearance of Elizabethan Men

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  • The main distiction of dress between classes was the materials in which the articals of clothing were made.
  • As accessories shoes and a hats of many kinds were usually worn
  • Appearance of an Upper class man included:
A dublet which is a snug-fitting buttoned jacket with separate sleeves, a breech and belt with a ruff and cloak.
Shoes varried from boots of different heights to wooden clogs or corked shoes.
High colars came from the long shirt worn underneath the Jerkin, which resembled a vest worn over the dublet, along with drawers

Materials of Dress

  • Materials Elizabethan people wore were extremely important. You could recognize what class a person came from, instantly depending on the fabric of their clothing.
  • If you were a man of the lower class your coat or jerkin was a cheaper leather and as a member of the noblitly upper class, the material was heavy velvet with pleating down the back and was usually toped with an outer coat called the Mandilion.
  • The Queen, the Queen's mother, children, sisters, and aunts were the only people allowed to wear clothing made from purple fabric
  • Lower class Elizabethan women wore clothing made of wool, linen, and sheepskin; while upper class Elizabethan's clothing was usually made of satin, silk, or velvet.
  • Although colors and certain materials were restricted, the lowerclass were allowed to wear silk, taffeta, and velvet trimmings.