One look at men’s Renaissance costumes and it becomes obvious that they were starkly different from the style of the Middle Ages. In fact, the idea of fashion truly blossomed, if not originated, during this period. In Europe, men and women began to wear several layers of clothing as a symbol of wealth and power and England, Germany, France, and Italy had their own distinctive looks. In this post, we will look at men’s clothing in Renaissance England, which was heavily influenced by the Tudor dynasty.
The Tudor lord of the early 16th century wore a low-necked linen shirt that was adjusted by a drawstring. During the later Elizabethan period, the necklines became higher. Also, men wore corsets under the shirts as a means of looking thinner.
Then there was the doublet, a snug-fitting jacket that was initially a stitched and quilted lining worn under the armor to prevent bruising. By the Renaissance period, the doublet was considered good enough to be seen as an outerwear. Also, there was the jerkin, a short leather or velvet jacket that was often sleeveless and resembled the modern waistcoat. The jerkin was cut low to reveal the doublet. During the course of the Tudor period, the doublet and the jerkin changed. Collars became higher and tighter and shoulders were sloped and featured less padding. Doublet sleeves became fuller and less arm-hugging and jerkins showed less of the neck and were shorter and flared.
There were no trousers back then and men wore hoses. The upper hose covered the portion from the waist to the thigh. The nether hose covered the lower legs and typically ended above the knee and was secured by garters.
Shoes were square-toed, lacked heels and made from silk, leather, and velvet. Some featured an extra piece of leather attached to the soles or the toes. The soles were usually made of cork and the color could be different from the top portion of the shoe.
As for headwear, hats in the Tudor period were flat and wide. The elite class wore hats that resembled the modern top hat but with a tapering crown. These were usually made of velvet and felt.
Henry the VIII – A Trendsetter
One particular Tudor monarch influenced men’s Renaissance costumes more than others. Henry the VIII was responsible for a lot of the changes in a fashion of that time. For instance, the pointy shoes gave way to the squared toe worn by the Tudor monarch. Other influences included the flat hat, the hat with the broad rim and the crown, and the sleeveless jacket.
Explore our high-quality Renaissance costumes for men and other products of that period.