Saturday, July 7, 2018

Elizabethan Etiquette and Gallants

Clothing as Status Symbols – Clothing quality and decorations could easily show a man’s social class. Cloth made of certain colors, with gold or silver, made of satin, or including furs indicated a person could afford such apparel. The upper class was the only one with access to velvets, satin, furs, cottons, taffeta, lace, and other ‘rare’ fabrics. Rich and bright colors often cost a considerable amount for dyeing and importation. In 1574, Queen Elizabeth issued proclamations about clothing allowed according to social rank. The rules were comprehensive and very specific. Some examples of information released in the queen’s proclamations include: The eldest son of a knight was allowed to wear velvet doublets and hose, younger brothers could not. No one below the rank of knight could wear silk long stockings or velvet undergarments. Gold was only allowed to be worn by barons and others of higher ranking. Violation of these laws carried penalties like fines, loss of property, or even loss of title. Source,

An English Gallant...
He Was Very Gorgeous in the Elizabethan Days 

Glancing across the surface of everyday life in the Elizabethan days of robust manhood, it is interesting to notice the lively, childlike simplicity of manners, the love of showy, brilliant colors worn by both sexes, and to compare these charming characteristics with the sober habiliments and reserved manners of the present day, says the Nineteenth Century. Here is an example of the man of fashion, the beau-ideal of the metropolis, as he sallies forth into the city to parade himself in the favorite mart of fashionable loungers, St. Paul's churchyard. His beard, if he have one, is on the wane, but his mustaches are cultivated and curled at the points, and himself redolent with choicest perfumes. 

Costly jewels decorate his ears; a gold brooch of rarest workmanship fastens his bright scarlet cloak, which is thrown carelessly upon his left shoulder, for he is most anxious to exhibit to the utmost advantage, the rich hatchings of his silver-hilted rapier and dagger, the exquisite cut of his doublets (shorn of its skirts) and trunk hose. His hair, cropped close from the top of the head down the back, hangs in long love-looks on the sides. His hat, which was then really new in the country, having supplanted the woolen cap or hood is thrown jauntily on one side; it is high and tapering toward the crown and has a band around it, richly adorned with precious stones, or by goldsmith's work, and this gives support to one of the finest of plumes. – Los Angeles Herald, 1897

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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