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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
Costume in Medieval and Modern Europe
IN MEDIEVAL AND MODERN EUROPE i. Pre-Roman and Roman Britain. - Men who had found better clothing than the skins of beasts were in Britain when Caesar landed. Little as we know of England before the English, we have at least the knowledge that Britons, other than the poorer and wilder sort of the north and the fens, wore cloaks and hats, sleeved coats whose skirts were cut above the knee and loose trousers after the fashion of the Gauls. They were not an armoured race, for they would commonly fight naked to the waist, dreadful with tattooing and woad staining, but Pliny describes their close-woven felts as all but sword-proof. Dyers as well as weavers, their cloaks, squares of cloth like a Highland plaid, were of black or blue, rough on the one side, while coats and trousers were bright coloured, striped and checkered, red being the favourite hue. For ornament the British chiefs wore golden torques about their necks and golden arm-rings with brooches and pins of metal or ivory, beads of brass, of jet and amber from their own coasts, and of glass bought of the Southern merchants. Their women had gowns to the ankle, with shorter tunics above them. The Druid bards had their vestments of blue, while the star-gazers and leeches went in green.
Agricola's Romanizing work must have made great changes in dress as in policy. The British chief with the Latin tongue in his mouth, living in a Roman villa and taking his bath as did the Romans, wore the white woollen toga and the linen tunic, his wife having the stole, the pall and the veil.
ii. Old English Dress. - The skill of their artists gives us many accurate pictures of the dress of the English before the Norman Conquest, the simple dress of a nation whose men fight, hunt and plough. The man's chief garment is a sleeved tunic hanging to the knee, generally open at the side from hip to hem and in front from the throat to the breast. Sleeves cut loosely above the elbow are close at the FIG. 26. - The Blessed Virgin. From the Benedictional of St Ã†thel wold (c. 963-984).
forearm. The legs are in hose like a Highlander's or in long breeches bandaged or cross-gartered below the knee. A short mantle to the calf is brooched at the shoulder or breast (fig. 25). There are long gowns and toga-like cloaks, but these as a rule seem garments for the old man of rank. In the open air the cloak is often pulled over the head, for hats and caps are rare, the Phrygian bonnet being the commonest form. Girdles of folded cloth gather the loose tunic at the waist. Most paintings show the ankle shoe as black, cut with a pointed tab before and behind, the soles being sometimes of wood like the sole of the Lancashire clog of our own days. A nobleman will have his shoes embroidered with silks or coloured yarns, and the like decoration for the hem and collar of his tunic. Poor men wear little but the tunic, often going barelegged, although the hinds in the well-known pictures of the twelve months have shoes, and the shepherd as he watches his flock covers himself with a cloak. In every graveyard of the old English we find the brooches, armlets, rings and pins of a people loving jewelry. Women wore a long gown covering the feet, the loose sleeves sometimes hanging over the hands to the knee. Over this there is often a shorter tunic with short sleeves. Their mantles were short or long, the hood or FIG. 25. - Old English Dress. From the Benedictional of St ZEthelwold ( c. 963-984).
FIG. 21. - GRAVE-STATUE.
FIG. 22.-THE ORATOR (R. ARCH. Mus., FLORENCE).
Si A Photo, Anderson. Photo, Moscioni. FIG. 23. - Bust Of Philip The Arabian (Vatican). Fig. 24.-Titus (Vatican). Vii. 236.
Gloves are common in this age; " scraps of the cloth or the skin," says a poet, " do not want for a use: of them gloves are made." head rail wrapped round the chin (fig. 26). In broidery and ornament the women's dress matched that of the men. The Danes, warriors of the sea, soon took the English habit, becoming notable for their many changes of gay clothing.
The Norman Conquest is marked by no great change in English clothing, the conquerors inclining towards the island fashions, as we may see by the fact that they gave up their curious habit of shaving the back of the head. But with the reign of the second William came the taste for the luxury of clothing and that taste for flowing hair and shoes with sharp points which is lamented by William of Malmesbury. In this reign we have the story of the Red King refusing to put on boots that cost but three shillings - the price of an ox - and wearing the same gladly when his chamberlain told him that they were a new pair worth a mark. Even more than the fashion of long cloaks and trailing gowns whose sleeves hang far below the hands, the fantastic boot and shoe toes bring the curses of the clergy and the moralizings of chroniclers. Fulk Rechin of Anjou is said by Orderic to have invented such gear to hide the monstrous bunions upon his toes, but a worthless Robert, a hanger-on of the court of William II., distinguishes himself and gains the surname of Cornard by stuffing his shoe tips with tow and twisting them like the horns of the ram.
There are many illuminations which give us in plenty the details of all costumes of the 12th century. Thus the devil in a well-known MS. wears the gown of a lady of rank, the bodice tightly laced, the hanging sleeve knotted to k ee it out of the mud. A MS. at Corpus Christi keep P College, Oxford, shows in a picture of the vision of Henry I. that the men who reap and dig are simply clad in loose skirted tunics with close sleeves, that they have hats with brims, and cloaks caught by a brooch at the shoulder. Hats and caps are common in all classes and take many shapes - the Phrygian cap, the flat bonnet, the brimmed hat and the skull-cap. With the coming of the house of Anjou English dress clears itself of the more fantastic features of an earlier generation. Henry II. brought in the short Angevin mantle and from it had his name of Curtmantle, but it was not a mastering fashion and the long cloak holds its own. Rich stuffs, cloth of gold or silk woven with gold, webs of damask wrought with stripes or rays and figured with patterns are brought in from the ports. Rare furs are eagerly sought. But the simplicity of line is remarkable. The drawings made for Matthew Paris's lives of the two Offas show people of all ranks clad without a trace of the tailor's fantasy. Kings and lords, churchmen and men of substance go in long gowns to the feet, the great folk having an orphrey or band of embroidery at the somewhat lowcut neck (fig. 27). Some of the sleeves have wide ends cut off at the mid-forearm, showing the tight sleeve of a shirt or smock below. / Fashion, however, tends to lengthen sleeves to a tight wrist, the upper halves being cut wide and loose with the large armholes characteristic of most ancient tailoring. Over this gown is worn an ample cloak fastened at the neck with a brooch or clasp, and sometimes fitted with a hood. The dress of the common folk and of men of rank when actively employed is a tunic which is but the gown shortened to the knee, a short cloak to the knee being worn with it (fig. 28). Belts and girdles are narrow and plain, the thongs without enrichment, showing no beginnings of the rich buckles and heavy bosses of a later fashion. Shoes and low-cut boots are slightly pointed, and hats, caps, hoods and coifs of many types cover the head. The women are like to the men in their long gown, but the head is wrapped in a coverchef hanging over the shoulder and bound with a fillet round the brow.
FIG. 28. - Labourers (temp. Hen. III.). (From Cotton MS. Nero, D. i.) At the court of Edward II., son of a king who went simply clad, Piers Gaveston and his like began to set the fashions for a century which to the curious antiquary is a garden of delights. For the history of the 14th-century clothing illuminations are supplemented by a number of effigies upon which the carver has wrought out the last details, by monumental brasses, and by contemporary literature and records (fig. 29). Garments take many shapes; sleeves, skirts and head-dresses run through many fashions; while personal ornaments are rich and beautiful to a degree never yet surpassed. With the beginning of the century there is seen a tendency to shorten the long gown, which had been the best wear of a man of good estate, to a more convenient length, although the knees are still well covered. Loose sleeves falling below the elbow leave to view the sleeve of an under-garment, buttoned tightly to the arm. In winter time a man's gown will have long sleeves that cover the hands when the arms are at length. The full cloak, although still found, is somewhat rare among a people that has, perhaps, learned FIG. 29. - A Group of Clerks (early to wear more clothes and 14th century). (From Royal MS. warmer upon the body. 19 B. xv.) Hoods are worn in many fashions, to be cast back upon the shoulders like a monk's cowl, the part at the back of the head being drawn out into a " liripipe " long enough at times, when FIG. 30. - English Ploughmen of the 14th century.
the hood is drawn up, to be knotted round the brow turbanfashion (fig. 30). Long hose are drawn up the legs to join the FIG. 27. - A Lady and a King(temp. Hen. III.). (From Cotton MS. Nero, D. i.) short breech, and the toes of the ankle-shoes are pointed so long that holy men see visions of little devils using them as chariots. The women love trailing gowns. They have under-skirts and loose over-garments, sometimes sleeveless. Their hair at least would not shock those earlier prelates who cursed the long plaits, for it is caught up in a caul or braided at the sides of the head. In the second half of the century men of rank borrow from Germany the fashion of the cote-hardie. In its plainest form this short tunic, covering the fork of the leg, is cut closely to the body and arms (fig. 31). Sometimes the sleeve ends at the elbow and then another streamer is added to the one which falls from the hood, a strip of stuff continuing the elbow-sleeve as low as the coat edge. This strip and the hem of the skirt are FIG. 31. - Sons and Daughters of Edward III. (From his tomb in Westminster Abbey.) often " slittered " with fanciful jags, a fashion which soon draws down the satirist's anger. Parti-coloured garments were an added offence; a gentleman would have his coat parted down the middle in red and white, with hose of white and red to match. Men and women of rank wear a twisted garland of rich stuff, crown-wise on the head, set with pearls and precious stones, a fashion which is followed on the great helm of the knights, being the " wreath " or " torce " of heraldry. The dames of such as wear the cote-hardie imitate its tightness in the sleeves and bodices of their long gown. A curious fashion which now begins is the sleeveless upper gown whose sides are cut away in curved sweeps from the shoulder to below the waist, the edges of the opening being deeply furred. The strange head-dress with a steeple-horn draped with lawn kerchiefs makes its appearance to shock the moralists. Although it was probably a rare sight in this century, the horn could easily fulfil its mission of drawing notice to all its wearers.
Of the cote-hardie it might at least be said that it was the symbol of a knightly age in arms, the garment of a man who must have hand and limbs free, and, save for its sleeves, it faithfully copied the coat-armour of the armed knight. The softer days of Richard II. are remarkable for a dress which has also its significance, men of high rank taking to themselves gowns of such fulness that the satirists may be justified who declare that men so clad may be hardly known from women. The close collar of these gowns rises high as the neckcloth of a French incroyable, the upper edge turned slightly over and jagged. The full skirts sweep on the ground, which is touched by the last jags of the vast sleeves, whose openings, wide as a woman's skirts, are dagged like the edges of vine or oak leaves. " And but if the slevis," says the satirist, " slide on the erthe, thei wolle be wroth as the wynde." Sometimes this gown is slit at the sides that the gallant may the better show his coloured hose and tips of shoes that pike out two feet from heel to toe. When not wearing the gown such a lord would have a high-necked coat, shorter even than the cote-hardie, but looser in the skirt, the sleeves ending full and loose with dagged edges turned over at the cuff. Hats are more commonly worn in this century, and in its latter half take many shapes, a notable one being that of a shortened sugar-loaf or thimble with a brim turned up, either all round, or, more frequently, behind or before. The long shoes, as their name of crachowes or poleynes implies, were a fashion which, by repute, came from Poland, a land ruled by the grandfather of Richard's first queen. When medieval fashions were past, they were remembered as a type of the old time, and a certain French conteur begins a tale of old days, not with jadis, but with " In the time when they wore poleynes." Even parish priests, whose preaching should " dryve out the daggis and alle the Duche cotis," went, in this age of fine apparel, gaily clad in gowns of scarlet and green, " shape of the newe," in " Gutted clothes " with " long pikes on her shone." More than this, they made scandal by ruffling with weapons- " bucklers brode and sweardes long, bandrike with baselardes kene." The skill of goldsmiths and craftsmen decorates all the appurtenances of the dress of this 14th century. Buttons, which appear in the first Edward's time as a scandalous ornament on men of low degree, have now become common, and, cunningly wrought, are used as much for queintise as for service. A close row of them will run from wrist to elbow of tight sleeve. A row of buttons goes from the neck of a woman's gown, and the cote-hardie may be fastened down the front with a dozen and a half of rich buttons. A purse or gipciere hung by a ring to the girdle gives more room for ornament in the silver or brass bar on which the bag depends. Above all the girdle, which - in harness or in silk - rich men wear broad and bossed with jewels across the thigh below the waist, makes work for the jeweller's craftsman. Such a girdle is for great folk alone; but lesser men, wearing a strap about their waists, will yet have a handsome buckle and a fanciful pendant of metal guarding the loose end of the strap.
However fantastic the fashions of this or any other ages, folk of the middling sort will avoid the extremes. From the Knight to the Reve, no man of Chaucer's company calls to us by the fantasy of his clothing. The Knight himself rides in his fustian gipoun, the grime of his habergeon upon it, although his son's short gown, the gayest garment at the Tabard, had long and wide sleeves and is embroidered with flowers like any mead. A coat and hood of green mark the Yeoman, who has a silver Christopher brooch for ornament. The Merchant is in motley stuff, his beaver hat from Flanders and his clasped boots taking Chaucer's eye, as do the anlas and silken gipser which hang at the rich Franklin's belt. As for the London burgesses, their knife-chapes, girdles and pouches are in clean silver. The Shipman wears his knife in a lanyard about his neck, as his fellows do to this day, and his coat is of coarse falding to the knee. The Wife of Bath has the wimple below her broad hat and rides in a foot mantle about her hips. Poorer men's dress is on the Reve and the Ploughman, the one in a long surcote of sky-blue and the other in the tabard which we may recognize as that smock-frock which goes down the ages with little change.
In the r5th century the middle ages run out. Fashions in this period become, if not more fantastic, more various. Its earlier years see men of rank still inclined to the rich modes of the last age: Harry of Monmouth, drawn about 1410 by an artist who shows him as Occleve's patron, wears a blue gown which might have passed muster at the 1 FIG. 32. - Henry, Prince of Wales, and Occleve the Poet (c. 1410). (From Arundel MS. 38.) 15th century. court of Richard II. for its trailing skirts and its long sleeves, their slittered edges turned back (fig. 32). A strange fancy at this time was the hanging of silver bells on the dress. One William Staunton, in 1409, seeing in a vision at St Patrick's Purgatory the fate of earth's proud ones, is exact to note that in the place of torment the jags in men's clothes turn to adders, that women's trailing skirts are burnt over their heads, and that those men whose garments are overset with silver gingles and bells have burning nails of fire driven through each gingle. As for the chaplets of gold, of pearls and precious stones, they turn into nails of iron on which the fiends hammer.
The common habit of a well-clad man in the first half of this century is a loose tunic, lined with fur, or edged with fur at neck, FIG. 33. - The Squire. (From FIG. 34. - An English Squire the Ellesmere MS. of the Canter- and his Wife. (From a brass bury Tales. ) of 1409.) wrist and skirt. At first the sleeves are long and bag-like, like to the Richard II. sleeve but drawn in to the wrist, where early examples are fastened with a button. A shorter tunic is worn below, whose tight sleeves are seen beyond the furred edge of the upper garment, mittens being sometimes attached to them. Over the shoulders the hood is thrown, or, in foul weather, a hood and cloak. The gown is girdled at the waist with a girdle from which hangs the anelace or baselard (fig. 34). Shoes are pointed. Hats and caps are seen in many shapes, but the most remarkable is the developed form of that head-dress which the 14th-century man seems to have achieved by putting his pate into the facehole of his hood and twisting its liripipe round his brows. In the 15th century the effect is produced with a thick, turban-like roll -of stuff from the top of which hung down on one side folds of cloth coming nigh to the shoulder, and on the other the liripipe broadened and lengthened to 4 or 5 ft. of a narrower folded cloth. As the century advances the bagpipe sleeves shrink in size and the tunic skirts are shortened (fig. 35). The old habit of going armed with anelace or baselard dies away in spite of troublous times. In the middle of the century the tunic is often no longer than a modern frock-coat, its sleeves little wider than those of a modern overcoat. Dress, indeed, becomes at this time convenient and attractive to our modern eyes. The last quarter of the century sees a new and important change. The tunic or gown, which was the garment of ceremony answering at once to our dress coats and frock coats, runs down to the feet. An act of 1463 ordered that coats should at least cover the buttocks, but fashion achieved suddenly what law failed to enforce. Men who had polled their hair short allowed it to grow and hang over the shoulders. The belt carries the purse or gipciere more commonly, although weapons are rarely seen, and it is notable that, as the Reformation approaches, the fashion of wearing a large " pair of beads " in the belt becomes a very common one. Last of all, the shoes change their shape. The reign of Edward IV. had seen the pointed toes as iniquitously long as ever the 14th century saw them. Even the long riding boot has the curving point, although otherwise much resembling the jack-boot of the 18th century. But after Bosworth Field the soles broaden, the point shrinks back and then disappears, and the footprint becomes shovel-shaped.
Women's dress in the i 5th century often follows the man's fashion of the furred gown, the skirts being lengthened for all difference. But the close-bodied and close-sleeved gown, with skirts broadening into many folds below the hips, is often seen with the long and plain cloak drawn with a cord at the breast, widows wearing this dress with the barbe, a crimped cloth of linen drawn up under the chin and ears and covering the collar-bone. With the barbe went the kerchief, draping head and shoulders. The bossed cauls of the earlier head-dress, drawn high on either side of the head until face and head-dress took the shape of a heart are characteristic of the age (fig. 36). In some cases the cauls are drawn out at the sides to the form of a pair of bulls' horns or of a mitre set sideways. In the time of Edward IV. we have a popular head-dress to which has been given the name of the butterfly. The hair in its caul is pulled backward, and wires set in it allow the ends of a cambric veil to float behind like the wings of a butterfly settled on a flower.
The new England of the 16th century breaks with the past in most of its fashions. Never again does an Englishman return to the piked shoes. High fashion under Henry VIII. is all for broad toes, so broad that the sumptuary laws, from P Y ?
banning long toes, swing about to condemn excess in the new guise. Under Henry VII. the medieval influence is still strong in the body-clothing. A bravely dressed man will go in long hose, cut close to the body, and a short vest under which the skirt is seen at waist and wrist. Over this he will wear the open gown, lined with fur, and cut short as a jacket but having the sleeves hanging below the knee. Such sleeves are commonly slashed open at the sides to allow the forearm to pass through. Shorter false sleeves of this pattern had become popular in the age of Edward IV. Graver men will wear, in place of this short gown, a long one dropping to the broad shoetoes, the sleeves wide-mouthed (fig. 37). Sometimes it hangs loosely; sometimes it has the girdle with purse and beads. Notaries and scriveners add to the girdle a penner, or pen-case, and a stoppered inkbottle. Wide hats are found, crowned with huge plumes of feathers, but the characteristic headgear is that made familiar by FIG. 35. - English Dress, c. 1433. (From Harl. MS. 2278.) FIG. 36. - A Gentleman and his Wife. (From a brass of 1435.) FIG. 37. - A Gentleman and his Wife. (From a brass of 1508.) portraits of Henry VII., a low-crowned cap whose upturned brim is nicked at one side. A few sober men wear coats differing little from the short gown of forty years before. Among ladies the butterfly head-dress and the steeple cap passed out of fashion, and a grave headgear comes in which has been compared with a dog-kennel, a hood-cap thrown over head and shoulders, the front being edged with a broad band which was often enriched with needlework, the ends falling in lappets to the breast. This band is stiffened until the face looks out as from the open gable-end of a house. The gown is simple in form, close-fitting to the body, the cuffs turned up with fur and the skirts long. A girdle is worn loosely drawn below the waist, its long strap letting the metal pendant fall nearly to the feet. Long cloaks, plainly cut, are gathered at the neck with a pair of long cords, like tasselled bell-pulls. While Henry VIII. is spending his father's hoards we have a splendid court, gallantly dressed in new fashions. His own broad figure, in cloth of gold, velvet and damask, plaits, puffs and slashes, stiff with jewels, is well known through scores of portraits, and may stand for the high-water mark of the modes of his age. The Hampton Court picture of the earl of Surrey is characteristic of a great lord's dress of a somewhat soberer style (see fig. 38). The king, proud of his own broad shoulders, set the fashion to accent this breadth, and it will be seen that the earl's figure, leaving out the head and hose, all but fills a perfect square. Such men have the air of playing-card knaves. Surrey's cap is flat, with a rich brooch and a small side - feather. His short doublet of the new style is open in front to show a white shirt covered with black embroidery whose ruffles cover his wrists. His over-garment or jerkin has vast sleeves, rounded, puffed and slashed. Under the doublet are seen wide trunkbreeches. He goes all in scarlet, even to the shoes, which are of moderate size. The girdle carries a sword with the new guard and a dagger of the Renascence art, graced with a vast tassel. All is in the new fashion, nothing recalling the earlier century save the hose and the immodest braguette which, seen in the latter half of the fourteen-hundreds, is defiantly displayed in the dress and armour of this age of Henry VIII. Even the hair follows the new French mode and is cropped close. Other fashionable suits of the time give us the tight doublets, loose upper sleeves and trunk hose as a mass of small slashes and puffs, a fashion which came in from the Germans and Switzers whom Henry saw in the imperial service. Such clothing goes with the shoes whose broad toes are slashed with silk, and the wide and flat caps with slashed edges, bushed with feathers, which headgear was often allowed to hang upon the shoulders by a pair of knotted bonnet-strings, while a skull-cap covered the head. With all this fantasy the dress of simpler folk has little concern, and a man in a plain, short-skirted doublet, with a flat cap, trunk breeches, long hose and plain shoes, has nothing grotesque or unserviceable in his attire. The new sumptuary laws, which were not allowed to become a dead letter, had their influence in restraining middle-class extravagance. No man under a knight's degree was to wear a neck-chain of gold or gilded, or a " garded or pinched shirte." Brooches of goldsmith's work were for none below a gentleman. Women whose husbands could not afford to maintain a light horse for the king's service had no business with gowns or petticoats of silk,chains of gold, French hoods, or bonnets of velvet. This French hood is the small bonnet, two of whose many forms may be seen in the best-known portraits of Mary of England and Mary, queen of Scots - a cap stiffened with wires.
With its introduction the fashionable skirt began to lose its graceful folds and to spread stiffly outward in straight lines from the tight-laced waist, the front being open to show a petticoat as stiff and enriched as the skirt. The neck of the gown, cut low and square, showed the partlet of fine linen pleated to the neck. In the days of Edward VI. and Queen Mary the dress of most men and women loses the fantastic detail of the earlier Tudor age. In the dress of both sexes the joining of the sleeve to the shoulder has, as a rule, that large puff which stage dressmakers bestow so lavishly upon all old English costumes, but otherwise the woman's gown and hood and the man's doublet, jerkin and trunk hose are plain enough, even the shoes losing all the fanciful width. Mary, indeed, added to the statute book more stringent laws against display of rich apparel, laws that would fine even a gentleman of under f' 20 a year if silk were found in his cap or shoe. Small ruffs, however, begin to appear at the neck, and most wrists are ruffled. The ruff, which began simply enough in the first half of this century as a little cambric collar with a goffered edge, is for all of us the distinguishing note of Elizabethan dress. It grew wide and flapping, therefore it was stiffened upon wires and spread from a concealed frame, row on row of ruffs being added one above the other until the wearer, man or woman, seemed to carry the head in a cambric charger. Starch, cursed as a devilish liquor by the new Puritan, gave it help, and English dress acquired a deformity which can only be compared with the great farthingale or with the last follies of the wig. The skirt of a woman of fashion, which had already begun to jut from the waist, was drawn out before the end of Elizabeth's reign at right angles from the waist until the dame had that air of standing within a great drum which Sir Roger de Coverley remarked in the portrait of an ancestress. Elizabeth herself, long-waisted and of meagre body, set the fashions of her court, other women pinching their waists into the long and straight stomacher ending in a peak before. She herself followed her father's taste in ornament, and on great days was set about like the Madonna of a popular shrine with decorations of all kinds, patterns in pearl, quiltings, slashings, puffings and broidery, tassels and rich buttons. Among men the important change is the disappearance of the last of the long hose, all men taking to trunk-hose and nether-stocks or stockings, while their doublets tend to follow the same long-waisted fashion as the bodices of the women, whose doublets and jerkins, buttoned up the breast, bring the Puritan satirists against them. Of these satirists Philip Stubbes is the best-known, his Anatomie of Abuses, published in 1583, being a very wardrobe of Elizabethan fashions, although false or dyed hair, the ruff and its starch, and the ear-rings worn by some women and many men draw his hottest anger. William Harrison sings on a like note about the same time, declaiming especially against the mutability of fashion, declaring that the imported Spanish, French and German guises made it easier to inveigh against such enormities than to describe the English attire with any certainty. For him women were become men, and men transformed into monsters. " Neither was it ever merrier with England than when an Englishman was known abroad by his own cloth and contented himself at home with his fine carsey hosen and a mean slop; his coat, gown and cloak of brown, blue or puke, with some pretty furniture of velvet or fur and a doublet of sad tawny or black velvet or other comely silk, without such cuts and garish colours as are worn in these days, and never brought in but by the consent of the French, who think themselves the gayest men when they have most diversities of jags and change of colours about them." He adds that " certes of all estates our merchants do least alter their attire. .. for albeit that which they wear be very fine and costly, yet in form and colour it representeth a great piece of the ancient gravity appertaining to citizens and burgesses." But as for the " younger sort " of citizens' wives, Harrison finds in their attire "all kind of curiosity ... in far greater measure than in women of a higher calling." The coming of King James is not marked by any sudden change of attire, most of the Elizabethan fashions running on into his reign. The tight doublet has stiff wings at the shoulders, close sleeves and short skirt. The many fashions of breeches are still Drawn from a photo by Mansell.
FIG. 38. - The Earl of Surrey (late in reign of Henry VIII.).
popular, most of them padded or stuffed. There are trunk hose that have the air of petticoats rolled inward half way up the thigh. There is the " great round abominable breech," pegtop shaped from below the knee to waist, as it appears in the well-known print of James himself with hawk on fist. Among women of fashion obtained a remarkable mode of exposing the breast, when the ruff and bodice were cut away; and the wheel fardingale was still worn, an order against FIG. 40. - An English Lady of rank in 1643. After Hollar.
it in 1613 rather increasing than diminishing its size. But simpler fashions were setting in, and with the reign of Charles I. the extravagances of padding and slashing disappear. The ruff gives place at last to the falling band, a wide collar of lace or plain linen. The belt or girdle ceases to be common wear, save for those who hang a sword from it. Parties in the state come to be known by their dress, and we have the Puritan, his crop head covered by a wide-brimmed, high-crowned felt, without hatband or feather, and his plain falling band over a staidly-cut coat. Beside him we set the cavalier, lace at his band edge, wrist and wide boot tops. His hat is feathered, his doublet lets the fine cambric of the shirt be seen at the waist, his short breeches are fringed with points or tags. His long hair has one lock brought over the left shoulder to be marked as a lovelock by a ribbon at the end. But the clothing of this age has been illustrated by Van Dyck and by a hundred other portrait painters, who as illustrators of costume take the place of the monumental sculptors, then less commonly called on for an effigy in the habit of life. And the time of the Commonwealth passes without notable change. Those who were in power favoured a sober habit, although we find General Harrison in scarlet and clinquant matching with Colonel Hutchinson in courtly apparel, and before the Restoration the tract-writers find matter of condemnation, especially in the items of patches, hair-powder and face paints.
So far as the court was concerned, King Charles II. brought in the extravagant fashions of the courtiers of Louis XIV. The short-waisted doublets with loose sleeves slashed open at the sides, the short and wide petticoat breeches, their lining lower than the petticoat edge and tied below the knee, and the hose whose tops bagged over the garter, were in England before King Charles returned. He added to the breeches the rows of looped ribbons, gave falling ruffles to the knees of the hose and many feathers to the hat. The long, narrow-bladed rapier hung in a broad, embroidered belt, passed over the right shoulder, and the high-heeled shoes and knots of ribbons. Lely painted the women of this court in a studied negligence, but many pictures show us the loose sleeves turned up to the elbow with bows of ribbon, the close bodice ending in a loose gown worn over a full skirted petticoat, a wide collar covering the shoulders.
Pepys is our chief authority for the remarkable resolution of Charles to change the fashion of his dress to one which he would never alter, a decision which the king communicated to his council in October 1666. On the 15th of that month the diarist noted that " this day the king begins to put on his vest, and I did see several persons of the House of Lords and Commons too, great courtiers, who are in it; being a long cassocke close to the body, of black cloth and pinked with white silk under it, and a coat over it, and the legs ruffled with black riband like a pigeon's leg. .. a very fine and handsome garment." Rugge's diary records the same change to " a close coat of cloth pinkt, with a white taffety under the cutts. This in length reached the calf of the leg, and upon that a sercoatt cutt at the breast, which hung loose and shorter than the vest six inches. The breeches the Spanish cut, and buskins, some of cloth, some of leather, but of the same colour as the vest or garment." Says Evelyn, " a comely and manly habit, too good to hold." Later in the same month Pepys saw the court " all full of vests, only my Lord St Albans not pinked, but plain black; and they say the king says the pinking upon whites makes them look too much like magpies, and therefore hath bespoke one of plain velvet." The change,although the court was fickle,isof the first importance in the history of costume, for we have here the coat and waistcoat in a form from which our own coats and waistcoats derive without a break. Another important change affects dress for a century and a half. Just as costume begins to take the modern path we have the wig or peruke, strangest of all the fantasies of fashion, introduced as the wear for all men of standing. Pepys, the son of a tailor and a man with a shy affection for fine clothing, may again here be quoted. On a Sunday in February 1661 he " began to go forth in my coat and sword, as the manner now among gentlemen is." In November 1663 he takes another step with fashion, going to the periwig-maker to have his hair cut off and to put on his first periwig, for which he paid 3 1, another to be made up of the hair with which he had parted. The next day he wore the periwig to his office, and " no great matter was made of it." Two days later my Lord Sandwich " wondered at first to see me in my peruque," but even in church Pepys found that he drew little attention in the new guise. The same month the duke of York announced that he would wear the periwig, " and they say the king also will." Thus began this costly and inconvenient mode. At home and at their ease men commonly replaced the wig with a soft silk or velvet " night-cap," and the coat with a " morning gown " like our modern dressing gown.
FIG. 39. - An English Lady. From a brass of 1605.
FIG. 41. - The English Countrywoman of 1643. After Hollar.
FIG. 42. - A Squire of a Knight of the Bath at the Crowning of Charles II.
Powder, which had been dusted about the hair by a few courtiers and fashionable folk since the reign of Elizabeth, was used by most wearers of the wig. Hair " dressed with a powder " was often seen in London under the Commonwealth, and now the great periwig brought powder into frequent use.
Before the end of the 17th century the periwig reached its greatest height and breadth, the curls of a fine gentleman towering in a mass above the brow and flowing far down over the shoulders or nigh to the waist. Guardsmen wore them tossing over their corsiets, although a smaller variety, the campaign wig, had been introduced for war or travel. Many portraits of this age showitslocks contrastingstrangely with the soldier's steel breastplate and pauldrons, but it must be remembered that martial gentlemen would often choose to be painted in armour although such harness was disappearing from actual use.
Under James II. the coat adopted in the late reign was firmly established as the principal garment of a welldressed man. Gowns remained but to make a ceremonial dress for the great officers of state, for the judges and the London liverymen, for such, indeed, as those who wear them in our own days. As for " the comely cloak, altogether used in the beginning of my time," Randle Holme notes that it was " now scarce used but by old and grave persons." The coat was sometimes buttoned down the front but was more often thrown open to display the waistcoat, a lesser coat with skirts. The great turned over cuffs were now below the elbow, although there was good space for the display of the ruffle, and at the neck was the large cravat with laced ends. After the battle of Steinkirk, in 1692, to which the young French nobles hastened with disarranged neckcloths, the cravat was sometimes worn twisted, the ends passed through a ring, although the word Steinkirk was in later years often carelessly given to the neckcloth worn in any style. For riding, the big jack-boot of earlier days, with spurs and broad spur-leathers, remained in fashion, although the bell-shaped tops were turned up and not down. Boots, however, were FIG. 44. - The Herbwoman and her Maids at the Crowning of James II.
riding-gear. Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador to James I., had laughed over the citizens of London " all booted and ready to go out of town," but this custom died away, and a man in boots showed that he was for the road. William III.'s grave court was not one in which new fashions flourished, but it is remarkable that feminine modes take curious variety before the century end. Long-waisted and straitly cut stays were worn, the gown sleeve is short as the coat-sleeve of a Charles II. courtier. The gown itself has the skirts gathered to show the petticoat, and small aprons fringed with lace are often seen. The simple head-dresses of the Restoration are changed for caps with long lace lappets, or for a cap whose top-knot or commode stood up stiff and fan-shaped like a section cut out of an old ruff. When no commode was worn, a loose hood, thrown gracefully over the head and gathered at the shoulders, sometimes took its place. As a riding or walking dress, ladies of quality often wore coats, waistcoats, hats and cravats, not to be distinguished from those of their lords.
For a distinguishing note of the 18th century, we may take the three-cornered cocked hat. Even in the Elizabethan age we have the gallant cocking up one side of his broadbrimmed, high-crowned felt or beaver and securing it with a jewel. Brims were as wide at the end of the 17th century, but the crown was lower. From the French court came the fashion of cocking up three sides, one at least being fastened with a loop of ribbon from which developed the cockade. A black cockade became the sign of a military man in England before 1750, and the same ornament, highly conventionalized, is now at the side of the tall hats worn by the grooms and coachmen of military and naval officers. Following varying fashions, the 18th-century cocked hat was laced with gold and silver or edged with feathers. It was cocked in a hundred forms, from that which has three sides slightly curled upward to the great Khevenhueller cock, wherewith a very wide-brimmed hat was flapped up at the front and rear, a military or martial hat. Wigs, worn by all the upperand middle-class men, were generally powdered, but the lesser or Ramillie wig soon drove out the huge and costly full-bottomed periwig, even for ceremonial occasions. Of Lord Bolingbroke it is told that he once attended Queen Anne in haste with a tie or Ramillie wig on his head. Her Majesty showed her displeasure by remarking that his lordship would next come to court in a night-cap. Nevertheless, the tie-wig soon became court wear, secured at the back with a huge bow of ribbon below which hung the plaited pigtail, worn waist-long about 1740. But by that time young bloods were leaving campaign-wigs for the bob-wig which sat yet more closely to the head, the curls leaving the neck uncovered. Bag-wigs, found early in the century, covered the looped up pigtail in a black silk bag. Clergymen and grave physicians affected the full-bottomed wig after it became old fashioned. Subject to slight changes, eagerly followed by the beaux and mocked by the satirists, the habit of well-dressed men shows no great variety - the large-cuffed, collarless coats whose full skirts are now shortened, now lengthened, the long waistcoat to match, the closely fitting breeches, the stockings, the shoes and jack-boots. The coat tends to be thrown open to show the waistcoat, upon which brocade and embroideries were lavished. Stockings, until the middle of the century, were commonly drawn over the ends of the breeches and gartered below the knee. By 1740 the long cravat with hanging ends grows old fashioned. Young men take to the solitaire, a black cravat which became a mere loop of ribbon passed loosely round the neck and secured to the black tie of the wig.
George III.'s long reign begins with men's fashions little changed from those of his great-grandfather's time, although his sixty years carry us to the beginning of all the modern modes. The small wig long holds its own. The coat begins to show the broad skirts cut away diagonally from the waist to the skirt edge, and stockings are no longer rolled over the knee. Perhaps the most remarkable fashion was that which distinguished the Macaronis, travelled exquisites with whom the wig or long hair was dragged high above the forehead in a tall FIG. 43. - A Gentleman of the Privy Chamber at the Crowning of James II.
FIG. 45. - An English Gentleman (c. 1730).
toupee " with two large rows of curls at the side. This headdress, clubbed into a heavy knot behind, was surmounted by a very little hat. The coat with small cuffs was much cut away before, the skimped skirts reaching midway down the thigh. Waistcoat flaps were but little below the waist. Breeches, striped or spotted like those of a Dresden china shepherd, were fastened at the knee with a bunch of ribbon ends; a watch-guard hung from each fob. The shirt-front was frilled and a white cravat was tied in a great bow at the chin. Macaronis wore a little curved hanger, or replaced the sword with a long, heavily tasselled cane, which served to lift the little hat off the topmost peak of the toupee. The woman-Macaroni wore no hoop but in full dress. Her gown was a loose wrapper, the sleeves short and wide with many ruffles, the skirt pulled aside to show a petticoat laced and embroidered with flowers. But her distinguishing mark was her head-dress, which exaggerated the male fashion, towering upward until the flowers and feathers at the top threatened the candelabra of the assembly room. The Macaronis appear about 1772 and stay but a short while, for the revolutionary fashions tread upon their heels.
Women's dress in this 18th century is dominated by the hooppetticoat which Sir Roger de Coverley recognizes in 1711 as a new fashion and an old one revived. A stiff bodice laced in front, a gown, with short and wide - ended sleeves, gathered up in folds above the petticoat, a laced apron and a lace cap with hanging lappets, is the dress of the century's beginning. So the women of fashion are compared with children in gocarts, their tight-laced waists rising from vast bells of petticoats over which the gown is looped up like a drawn curtain. By 1750 the hoop-petticoat ringed with whalebone is so vast that architects begin to allow for its passage up London stairways by curving the balusters outward. Great variety of women's dress appears under George II., but those in the height of the mode affected a shepherdess simplicity in their walking clothes, wearing the flat-crowned or high-crowned hats and long aprons of the dairymaid. At this time a new fashion comes in, the sacque, a gown, sometimes sleeveless, open to the waist, hanging loosely from the shoulders to near the edge of the hoop-petticoat. George III.'s reign saw women's head-dressings reach an extravagance of folly passing all that had come before it. Hair kneaded with pomatum and flour was drawn up over a cushion or pad of wool, and twisted into curls and knots and decorated with artificial flowers and bows of ribbon. As this could not be achieved without the aid of a skilled barber, the " head " sometimes remained unopened for several weeks. At the end of that time sublimate powder was needed to kill off the tenantry which had multiplied within. At the beginning of the last quarter of the century the feathers grew larger, chains of beads looped about the curls, while ships in full sail, coaches and horses, and butterflies in blown glass, rocked upon the upper heights. Loose mob-caps or close " Joans " were worn in undress, often as simple as the full dress was fantastic. Varieties of the gown and sacque remained in fashion, the petticoat being still much in evidence, flounced or quilted, or festooned with ribbons. Before the 'eighties of this century were over, a new taste, encouraged by the painters of the school of Reynolds, began to sweep away many follies, and the revolutionary fashions of France, breaking with all that spoke of the old regime, expelled many more. The age of powder and gold lace, of peach-bloom brocade coats with muff-shaped cuffs, of bag-wigs and three-cornered hats drew suddenly to an end. Mr Pitt killed hair-powder by his tax of 1 795, but before that time fashionable men, who since the beginning of George III's. reign had been somewhat inconstant to the wig, were wearing their own hair unpowdered and tied in a club at the back of the coat collar. Before the century end the roughly cropped " Brutus " head was seen. The wig remained here and there on some old-fashioned pates. Bishops wore it until far into the Victorian age, and it may still be seen in the Houses of Parliament and in the courts of law. Even breeches were passing, tight pantaloons showing themselves in the streets. The coat, cut away over the hips, began to take a high collar and the beginnings of the lappel. Its cuffs were of the modern shape, showing a narrow ruffle. The waistcoat ended at the waist. Loose neck-cloths were worn above a frilled shirt-front. Great jack-boots were given to postillions, and men of fashion walked the streets in short top-boots of soft black leather. Most remarkable of the revolutionary changes, the round hat came back, sometimes in a form which recalled the earlier 17th century, and at last took shape as the predecessor of our modern silk hat. Court dresses kept something of their magnificence, but men at home or in the streets were giving up in this time of change their ancient right to wear rich and figured stuffs. Laces and embroideries were henceforward but for military and civil uniforms.
Before 1790 women had begun to dismantle their high headgear, returning to nature by way of a frizzled bush, like a bishop's wig, with a few curls hanging over the shoulders. Over such heads would be seen towering mob-caps tied with ribbon and edged deeply with lace. Skirts took a moderate size and even court hoops were but panniers hung on either side of the hips. Short jackets with close half-sleeves were worn with the neck and breast covered with a cambric buff ant that borrowed a mode from the pouter pigeon. A riding habit follows as far as the short waist the new fashions for men's coats, the wide-brimmed hat being to match. Short waists came in soon after 1790, the bodice ending under the arm pits, " a petticoat tied round the neck: the arms put through the pocket-holes." With these French gowns came small coal-scuttle-shaped bonnets of straw, hung with many ribbons and decorated with feathers. At last the woman of fashion, dressed by a Parisian modiste after the orders of David the painter, gathered her hair in a fillet and clothed herself in little more than a diaphanous tunic gown over a light shift and close, flesh-coloured drawers. Her shoes became sandals: her jewels followed the patterns of old Rome. Yet the same woman, shivering half-clad in something that wrapped her less than a modern bathing-dress, appeared at court in the ancient hoop-skirt, tasselled, ribboned and garlanded, hung with heavy swags of coloured silk, and this until. George IV. at last broke the antique order by a special command.
The 9th century soon made an end of 18th century fashions already discredited by the revolutionary spirit. The threecornered hat had gone, the heavy coat cuff and the cravat with hanging ends. Civilians had given up the ancient custom of going armed with a sword. The wig and even the pigtail tied with black shalloon were abandoned by all but a few old folk. Soldiers cut off their pigtails in 1808. But judges and lawyers wear their wigs in court in the 10th century, state coachmen wear them on the box, and physicians and the higher clergy wore them even in the street long after laymen had given them up. George IV. refused to receive a bishop of London who appeared at court without a wig, and Sumner, archbishop of Canterbury, wore one until his death in 1862. A few powdered heads were seen as late as the 'forties. M. de Ste Aulaire, the ambassador, made, as Lord Palmerston writes, a very deep and general impression in London society of 1841, not because he wore hair-powder but because he used so much of it. It is now used only by a few lacqueys. In the early Victorian period the cropped " Brutus " head was out of fashion, many men wearing their hair rather long and so freely oiled that the " anti-macassar " came in to protect drawing-
FIG. 46. - An English Lady (c. 1730).
With powdered hair and the pigtail passed away the 18th century cloth breeches. Here again some old-fashioned people made a stand against the change, the opposition of the clergy being commemorated in the black breeches still worn by bishops and other dignitaries of the church. But in the regent's time pantaloons of closely fitting and elastic cloth were worn with low shoes or Hessians, and pantaloons and Hessians did not utterly disappear from the streets until the end of the 'fifties. Squires and sportsmen put on buckskins of an amazing tightness and walked the street in top-boots. But the loose Cossack trousers soon made their appearance. The regent's influence made the blue coat with a very high velvet collar, a high-waisted Marcella waistcoat and white duck trousers strapped under the instep, a mode in which men even ventured to appear at evening receptions, although, in the year before Waterloo, the duke of Wellington was refused admittance to Almack's when thus clad. Long skirted overcoats, fur-collared and tight in the waist, completed this costume. Coats were blue, claret, buff and brown. " Pea-green Hayne " was known among clubmen by a brighter coloured garment. Civilians, like Jos Sedley, would sometimes affect a frock frogged and braided in semi-military fashion. The shirt collar turned upward, the points showing above vast cravats whose careful arrangement was maintained by one or two scarfpins. Brummel the master dandy of his age, may be called the first dandy of the modern school. Dressing, as a rule, in black, he distinguished himself, not as the bucks of an earlier age by bright colours, rich materials or jewellery, but by his extravagant neatness and by the superb fit of garments which set the fashion for lesser men. To him, according to Grantley Berkeley, we owe the modern dress-coat. An idle phrase in Bulwer-Lytton's Pelham (1828), that " people must be very distinguished in appearance " to look well in black, made black henceforward the colour of evening coats and frock coats. With the perfection of the silk hat in the 'thirties, English costume enters on its last phase. The coat cut away squarely in front was then out of the mode; it remains but in the evening-dress coat now always worn unbuttoned, and in the dress of the hunting field. The rest is a record of such slight changes as tailors may cautiously introduce among customers, no one of whom will dare to lead a new fashion boldly. For many decades the fashionably dressed man has been eager to conform to the last authorized vogue and to lose himself among others as shyly obedient. The tubular lines of loth-century clothing advantage the tailor by the tendency of new clothing to crease at the elbow and bag at the knee. In preserving the necessary straight lines of his garments, in following the season's fashions in details which only an expert eye would mark, and in providing himself with clothes specialized for every hour of the day, for a score of sports and for the gradations of social ceremonial - in these things only can the modern dandy rival his magnificent predecessors. For ornament, other than plain shirt studs, a plain seal ring, a simple watch guard and a rarely-worn scarf pin, is denied him.
Women at the beginning of the 19th century were clad in those fashions which revolutionary France borrowed from the antique. The simplicity of this style gave it a certain grace; it was at the other pole from the absurdity of the court dress which, until George IV. ordered otherwise, perpetuated the bunched draperies, the flounces and furbelows and even the hoop of the worst period of the 18th century. The gown, lightly girdled near the arm-pits with a tasselled cord, fell in straight clinging folds. Soft muslin was the favourite material, and in muslin fashionable women faced the winter winds, protected only by the long pelisses which in summer were replaced by short spencers. Turbans, varying from a light headscarf of lace or muslin to a velvet confection like that of a Turk on a signboard, were the favourite headgear, although bonnets, hats and caps are found in a hundred shapes. Muslin handkerchiefs or small ruffs were worn about the neck in the morning dress. About the Waterloo period the elegance of the classical gown disappeared. The waist was still high at first but the gown was shorter and wider at the skirt. For evening dress these skirts were stiffened with buckram and trimmed with much tasteless trumpery. Large bonnets were common, and the hair was dragged stiffly to the back of the head, to be secured by a large comb. From 1830 begins a period of singular ugliness. Tight stays came back again, the skirt swept the pavements, a generation of over-clad matrons seemed to have followed a generation of nymphs. The 'fifties showed even more barbarous devices, and about 1854 came in from France the crinoline, that strange revival of the ancient hoop. Plaids, checks and bars, bright blues, crude violets and hideous crimsons, were seen in French merinos, Irish poplins and English alpacas. Women in short jackets, hooped skirts, hideous bonnets and shawls seemed to have banished their youth. The empress Eugenie, a leader of European fashion, decreed that white muslin should be the evening mode, and at balls, where the steels and whalebones of the crinoline were impossible, the women swelled their skirts by wearing a dozen or fourteen muslin petticoats at once. Towards the end of the 'sixties the crinolines disappeared as suddenly as they came, and by 1875 skirts were so tight at the knees that walking upstairs in them was an affair of deliberation. Before 1880 dress-reformers and aesthetes had attacked on two sides the fashions which had halted at the " Princesse " robe, draped and kilted. Both movements failed, but left marked effects. From that time fashion has been less blindly followed, and women have enjoyed some limited individual freedom in designing their costumes. Of 20th-century fashions it is most notable that they change year by year with mechanical regularity. The clothes of smart women can no longer be said to express any tendency of an age. Year by year the modes are deliberately altered by a conclave of the great modistes whose desire is less to produce rich or beautiful garments than to make that radical alteration from loose sleeve to tight sleeve, from draped skirt to plain skirt, which will force every women to cast aside the last season's garments and buy those of the newer device. But of modern dress it may at least be said that cheaper materials, the sewing machine and the popular fashion papers allow women of the humbler classes to dress more decently and tastefully. Their d
Saturday, February 4th, 2023
the Fourth Week after Epiphany