fashion through ages

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  • 1050 to 1490: 11th to 15th century Day Clothes about 1050 This man and woman (left) date from about 1050, just before the Norman Conquest in 1066. They wear the basic medieval garments: a tunic, probably of wool, slightly fitted with a high neck and long sleeves, usually worn over a linen shirt. The lady's tunic, similar to the man's but longer, has a semi-circular mantle fastening on the shoulder. The lady covers her long hair with a hood held by a band, and carries a travelling pouch; the man wears loose hose and leather shoes. The Anglo Saxons were known for their skill in embroidery and braid weaving, like that trimming the man's tunic.
  • Day and Travelling Clothes about 1150 Fashion changed slowly in medieval times. This man and woman (left) still wear the semi-circular shoulder fastening mantles and tunics like those of a century earlier, differing only in being more closely fitted and having long flowing cuffs. Long hair was an Anglo-Saxon fashion borrowed by the Normans, and the woman has hers braided into cloth-covered plaits beneath her hood. The man is dressed for travelling in a hooded fur cloak and pointed hat. He wears cloth bound leggings instead of hose. His feet are bare here, but some contemporary shoes were quite decorative.
  • Travelling Clothes about 1250 (left) By 1250 men's and women's tunics were cut with a wide upper sleeve. Most men, except the elderly, preferred tunics short. Cloaks were usually held by a cord at the shoulder. A variety of loose over-gowns were also popular, and these had sleeves with two openings, allowing them to hang loosely like the university gowns based on them and still seen today. The woman's plaits are coiled in a bun at each ear sometimes covered with a net, and the flat headband is kept in place by a veil or 'wimpole' drawn closely under the chin.
  • Day clothes about 1300 The young man (left) is wearing a shorter tunic and pointed shoes. These shoes were characteristic of the 14th century and were called crackowes or poulaines, and are believed to have derived from Poland. The length of the toe was said to indicate the rank of the wearer and became more and more exaggerated by the end of the 14th century.
  • Lady's Day Dress about 1490 This lady of about 1490 wears a rich gown of thick material brocaded with gold. This line foreshadows the severe styles of the court of the early Tudors, with a low waist and high neckline. Her skirt has a train but is pinned up at the back for convenience when walking and to show off the fur lining. Her sleeves are in a new fashion, funnel shaped, and faced with fur. She wears a hood, with cape dangling like a curtain, front turned up and stiffened, and worn over a wired and jewelled undercap almost concealing her scraped back hair. Her shoes have very broad toes. Materials are rich and heavy, many imported from Flanders and Italy. Man's Day Clothes about 1490 This young man wears clothes in the 'Italian Fashion', much less enveloping than those those of his lady above. His doublet reaches only to his waist and is very tight, with slits on the chest and sleeves giving room to move and an opportunity for his fine shirt to be seen. His hose are tied to the waist with 'points' (laces) and and fasten in the front with a 'cod piece' (flap). For riding he wears protective leather stockings, and his shoes have broad toes. This style replaced peaked shoes in around 1480. His short loose gown with long hanging sleeves is cut to hang open and show the contrasting facings. His hair is shoulder length and his flat hat has a jewelled rim.
  • 16th and 17th centuries - Tudors and Stuarts Man's Formal Clothes about 1548 This gentleman wears an over-gown with full upper sleeves adding breadth to his shoulders, fashionable from about 1520. His doublet is loose with a seam at the waist and skirts, and his upper stocks (breeches) are separate from his hose for greater comfort. He has a padded 'cod piece' and his shirt is embroidered in black silk with small frills at the neck, which eventually will develop into the ruff. His cap is softer and wider and his shoes are less broad in the toe than in the early years of Henry VIII
  • Man's Formal Clothes about 1600 (left) This gentleman (pictured left) wears a padded doublet with pointed waist and short padded breeches, with tapering 'canion' at the knee, over which the stocking is pulled. His 'Spanish' cloak is heavily embroidered. Possibly Sir Walter Raleigh threw down a similar one to protect Queen Elizabeth from the mud! He wears a starched and gathered ruff, developed from the shirt neck frill after about 1560. His jewellery includes the collar of the Order of the Garter. His hat would have been conical. Lady's Formal Dress about 1610 This lady shows the dress which first appeared in the later portraits of Queen Elizabeth about 1580 and remained fashionable in the reign of James I. The bodice is very long, pointed and stiff, and the wide skirt is supported by hip 'boulsters' of the 'drum farthingale'. The sleeves are wide and the neckline low, with ruff open to frame the face. It is trimmed with lace newly introduced from Flanders and Spain. Her pleated fan is a new fashion from China. Fashionable ladies no longer wore a cap and her uncovered hair is dressed high with ribbons and feathers.
  • Lady's Day dress about 1634 This lady wears a soft satin walking dress with the short waist and full flowing skirt fashionable from around 1620. Her bodice is cut almost like a man's doublet and equally masculine are her wide-plumed hat and long 'lovelock' on her short hair. She wears a fine wide Flemish lace collar veiling the gold braid on her bodice. For formal occasions the neck would be left bare, and the hair dressed with jewels. Ordinary women's dress was similar but they, except when riding, wore a close lace-trimmed cap. Man's Day Clothes about 1629 This gentleman wears a suit with the new softer line. The short-waisted doublet with long skirts has slits on the chest and sleeve, allowing for movement. The knee-length breeches, full but not padded, are supported by hooks inside the waistline. The ribbon 'points' at waist and knee are decorative survivors of the lacing hose supports of late medieval times. The lace-trimmed ruff falls to the shoulders and the hair is long with a 'lovelock'. Boots and gloves are of soft leather.
  • Man's Day Clothes about 1650 This gentleman wears a suit based on the Dutch fashions then popular. It has a short unstiffened jacket and wide breeches hanging loose to the knee. Dark colours were generally worn and not confined to followers of Parliament. Matching braid provides trimming. About 1660, ribbons became popular trimmings and hundreds of metres could be used on a suit at shoulder, waist and knee, and for the bows on the square-toed shoes. He wears a fine square lace collar fashionable around 1650 - 70, a cloak and a narrow-brimmed conical hat. Lady's Formal Dress about 1674 This lady wears a formal dress showing how long the waistline had become since 1640. Her bodice is low and stiffened and the short sleeves show much of her lace and ribbon-trimmed shift. The skirt is made to wear open, displaying the elaborately trimmed petticoat. False curls were sometimes added to the wide-dressed hair.
  • Lady's Formal Dress about 1690 Late 17th century dress had become stiff, formal and based on French court fashions. The dress has become an over-gown pinned over the stiff corset to show the 'stomacher' and gathered back at the hips to show the embroidered petticoat. Lace frills on the shift show at the neck and sleeves. The most characteristic feature is the hair, beginning to be dressed high in the 1680's. This style was named after Mlle. de Fontanges, a favourite of Louis XIV, who is believed to have originated it. This tall headress was formed of several rows of folded lace and ribbons, rising one above the other and supported on wires. The fashion of wearing on the face black patches of various shapes was still in fashion, small circular patch-boxes being carried so that any that fell off could be replaced. This fashion was ridiculed at the time: "Here's all the wandring planett signes And some o' the fixed starrs, Already gumd, to make them stick, They need no other sky."
  • 18th and early 19th century - The Georgians / Regency Period Man's Day Clothes about 1738 This gentleman wears a smart summer suit, with the coat more tightly fitting than at the end of the 17th century. It is made of plain cloth embroidered on edges and pockets, which are raised to hip level. The waistcoat is plain and the breeches are tighter and fasten below the knee. The shirt is frilled at the cuff and around the neck is a knotted muslin or lace cravat. He wears his own hair. For formal occasions a powdered wig tied back with a bow would be worn and his coat and waistcoat would be of patterned silks. Lady's Day Dress about 1750 This lady wears a 'sackback' dress developed from the flowing undress gowns of 17th century. Beneath are a stiff corset and cane side hoops supporting the skirts. The frills of her shift show at the neck, veiled in a muslin 'kerchief' and at the opening of her wing-like