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Performing Selfhood

When I think about Renaissance period it always make me remind of heavy materials, burgundy velvet, voluminous amount, dark colors, large sleeves and many layers of fabric.

During that period clothes wore such an “important treasure, where the upper class would spend all their earnings on what they wore. ” (Renaissance Clothing, 34).

At that time rich people wore fabrics like velvet, satin and cotton, whereas the poor wore flannel and other cheaply available fabrics at the time. Clothes were also made with stiff materials and long sleeves limiting movements.

Women would be seen wearing shoes, an over under skirt, a shirt, a bodice, and a hat and also they used to decorated their dresses. Their hair was usually braided and curls were a mark of beauty and elegancy.

Men would be seen wearing boots, pants, a shirt, a vest and also a hat.

The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, it’s also known as the golden age.

“Elizabethan women and men were not allowed to wear whatever color of clothes that they liked. It did not matter how wealthy they were – the color, fabric and material of their clothes were dictated by their rank, status or position and this was enforced by English Law. These laws about the color of clothes that men and women were allowed to wear in the Elizabethan era were called Sumptuary Laws. They were designed to limit the expenditure of people on clothes – and of course to maintain the social structure of the Elizabethan Class system.”

“The meaning of colors worn during the Elizabethan era provided instant information about the person wearing them. A man or women who were purple clothes would be immediately recognized as a member of royalty. Gold, silver, crimson or scarlet, deep indigo blue, violet colors and even deep black and pure white colors were only worn by the highest nobility in the land. The colors of Elizabethan clothes provided information about the status of the man or woman wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing.”

Imagine if today we had to follow the Sumptuary Laws?  There will be no freedom of choosing colors and materials.

Today, the Renaissance clothing in completely outdated but people still have fun wearing as costumes for fancy dress balls, parties and at stage.


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