Clothing in the Elizabethan era also saw an influence of geometric shapes. Here, it was not about maintaining or showcasing the natural body structure. In fact, women in that era, often emulated the fashion styles of men. Methods such as padding and quilting were used to stiffen the fabric and emphasize the shoulder and waist. The main motive behind this kind of concept in clothing was to give an impression of a small waist. Again, it was not only women who desired to have small waists, men also made use of certain types of clothing such as girdles, to give a really slimming look to the body.
Elizabethan clothes provided information about the status of the person wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. Only Royalty were permitted to wear clothes trimmed with ermine. Lesser Nobles were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with fox and otter and so on and so forth! Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what colors and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear, an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege. The materials and even the colors of Elizabethan clothing were therefore very important and sections have been dedicated to these subjects in relation to dyes, fabrics and the type of clothes that men were allowed to wear and the type of clothing that Elizabethan women were allowed to wear! As you read through the restrictions placed on Elizabethan clothing the subject becomes more and more fascinating. The importance and significance of costumes used in the Elizabethan theatres also becomes very clear!
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