Bit of a broad scope here with three hundred years of fashion, but I was doing some research and ran into an old friend; also known as Sumptuary Laws, these pesky little laws were meant to impede the extravagance of dress so as to restrict lavishness and to make clear the distinctions between levels of society (sumptuary laws weren’t just about clothing either, they included such things as food and furniture but we won’t get into that here). Sumptuary laws are very popular throughout history and date back to ancient Rome, for some reason the ones from the 1300s through the 1500s are my favorites to read about.  For more about Elizabethan sumptuary laws involving clothing (as well as horses and swords), including links to the statutes with updated language and punctuation, you can check out this page at Although sumptuary laws are actually really fun to read about, I’d definitely rebel if anyone tried to pass them into law now. Anyway, I got so lost in sumptuary laws that I ended up getting a bit far away from my original topic of 1400s and 1500s by going too far into the 1300s so I just decided to throw the 1300s in here too, mostly because I fully plan to expand on these eras in future posts so I’m using this post as a bit of a starting point.

Getting Dressed: Not an easy thing when you have so much to put on. Here are we have a couple of ladies showing us just how fun this can be (well depending on your definition of “fun” I think I’d probably enjoy it, until I had to do it every single day). On the left we have a Renaissance dress and on the right we have a Tudor dress. And just below are illustrations of both men’s and women’s dress in early Tudor costume and late Tudor costume.


Early Tudor Costume

Early Tudor

Late Tudor Costume

Late Tudor

Because this post was getting pretty picture heavy, I’m splitting it into a total of three parts. For more see:

Part Two Here


Part Three Here