Keeping Up With the Fashion Field “Clothing and fashion during the Elizabethan Era was complex, complicated, and too dramatic” (Bloom). The Elizabethan Era, was a time period from 1558-1603 when Queen Elizabeth I reigned, and was a period when people expressed who they were through creativity and originality (Black and Garland 16). Some may say that the Era was important, as it was the Golden Age in English history. Fashion during the Elizabethan Era was very extravagant and “over the top”. Fashion and style were competitive, varied by gender, and also depended on one’s social class.
Keep up” is a phrase to describe the attitudes toward fashion during the Elizabethan Era. There was always pressure to be up to date. People’s attempts to stay in fashion cost them a lot of money (Lace). Land owners felt obligated to entertain the rulers such as the king and queen when they traveled, so they would arrange big parties, and they and their families wore the most expensive clothes. Even the royal court wanted to show off and out-dress everyone. When the royal court traveled, they often made the nobles go broke trying to keep up with their standard of display (Lace).
All types of people from land owners to the royal court felt the pressure to keep up. Fashion and style were different for men and women who were not rich. It varied by gender. Women and men both had fashion rules to follow. Men had to wear cheap materials which included sheepskin and wool (Elizabethan Era). They had to wear dull colors such as brown, dull blue and beige. Men wore low, flat hats. They also wore cheap breeches made out of rough materials. Women wore material from sheepskin and wool like men. They also had to wear dull colors. Women wore aprons and bodices. The bodice fronts were often laced up.
They did not wear Jewelry or any other accessory. Men and women of working class both had restrictions on clothes, however, the clothes varied by gender. No matter how rich a man or woman was, no one could wear what they pleased. Clothing during the Elizabethan Era was controlled by sumptuous laws. These laws were put in place to keep the class structure strict (Renaissance Clothing for Kids). Clothes defined who a person was and what class they belonged to. Upper classes wore bright colors. Their clothes were made from expensive materials such as velvet, satin, silk, taffeta and lace.
They also wore costly Jewelry such as pearls. The upper class women would wear clothes that included several different layers of material, while others women wore thin materials. Typical people such as the working class wore simple clothes as described above. During the Elizabethan Era clothing was associated with rank. There were a variety of colors and choices one could pick from if they were in a high class or had a high rank (Sixteenth- Century Clothing). No one could wear whatever they chose because people’s clothing was controlled by laws.
In conclusion, the Elizabethan Era as a time period when Queen Elizabeth I reigned, between 1558 and 1603. During the Era, many fields such as poetry and literature grew and flourished. An area that flowered included style and fashion. Some may say that the era was a time when people had the opportunity to express themselves. Others feel that fashion and style during this time was restricted. In today’s world, fashion is not as restricted as it was during the Elizabethan Era and both men and women are free to wear whatever they want. Works Cited Black, Anderson J. , and Mange, Garland.