The clothing worn by men of upper class was a bit different than men in lower class. The same goes for women and children as well. For men of upper class, they had plenty to work with when it comes to getting dressed.
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It states in the article, ‘Hanson’, ” a man’s outfit would start with a shirt similar to today’s but without the collar and cuffs we are used to, instead they would use lace for collars and cuffs. Over the shirt would fit a doublet then a jerkin which is a close fitting jacket. Instead of trousers we are used to today men would wear often poofy leg hose trousers with nether hose or stockings on lower legs. A codpiece, pocket, was often also used for higher class men and was usually made of animal skin on trousers. men of the working class had to dress for utility and may wear the shirt alone.”. Now upper class people had to have servants to help them get dressed because of all the difficult clothing they had to wear, does not seem very comfortable does it.
Upper class women had similar problems. Their outfits usually composed of a large dress with a french cut neckline, under skirt or petticoat, outer skirt and dress, and a french hood. clothing of the upper class was heavy and cumbersome, and restricted movement for the wearer, women of lower classes had to wear more less restrictive clothes both for freedom of movement and because they did not have servants to help them dress ( Hanson). For a lower class women, her dress may consist of a loos or no corset, and bum rolls or farthingales for comfort (Hanson) which is one step ahead in comfortability than higher class. Children had it no different than adults, in fact they were considered small adults there for dressed like one. They dressed similar to their parents if not identical in order to represent them. Even boys who were not seven yet had to wear dresses as if they were a little girl until they reached the age of 7 then they would start wearing breeches, at this age they could help their fathers therefor did not need to wear a dress and so they were ” breached “(Hanson).Besides the basic clothing many people, exspecially high class, wore asseccories along with their outfits, not only that but the difference in the fabrics between upper and lower class clothes is major. Fabrics available for upper class included silk, satin, velvet, and brocade (The Renaissance Outfit, by Paige L. Hanson).
Clothes of the wealthy had much more variety and many more designs for individuality, they could use different fabrics and colors. As for the lower class the options were much shorter,”many fabrics and colors were symbols of wealth such as fur, satin, silk, velvet, and brocade. Even different colors had symbols for the classes, purple silk and sable fur was to be worn by the king and queen and their family members only, Gold, silver, and pearl embroidery reserved for dukes, marquesses , earls, viscounts, barons, and knights of the garter, Lynx and civet cat fur restricted to the above ranks, Enameled buttons and chains restricted to above nobility, Silk, satan, and damask only to be used by the above, including knights daughters” as stated in the article ‘The Renaissance Outfit’ by Paige L. Hanson. Many laws were passed to keep it to wear peoples class’s could only wear things suitable towards it. fur was often used to line the garments of the wealthy meaning clothes with extra accessories like fur and jewels were more than likely highly expensive and against the law for lower class to even wear, even knights had restrictions and couldn’t wear rings ( The Middle Ages — More About Clothing, by Annenberg Learner states).
One of the harmfullest things to wear for women was corsets. Corsets were made to give women a more proper shape with a small waist and body, but some corsets would be so tight that women would have to use fans to help keep their breath. In Johanna Goldberg’s article, ‘Did Corsets Harm Women’s Health?’, he explains how corsets changed over the years and also how harmful they could really be, in his article he states ” A tightly laced corset could reduce lung capacity, irritate skin, and weaken back and chest muscles used for support.”. That doesn’t sound very healthy now does it, but lower class get’s the advantage here as well for women in lower class didn’t have to wear such tight corsets if not one at all. This is because higher class women had help from servants to tighten their corsets while lower class women did not.So there you see, although upper class may have had all the fancier and high dollar clothes that up their status, the lower class didn’t have to go through the uncomfortability of higher class clothes. They also didn’t have to worry about not being able to move or have help to get dressed and to move around. Lower class had its own advantages when it came to clothes and comfortability.
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