Not logged in - Login / Register

Men's Clothing 16th Century

Upper Hose

A man's suit consisted of a doublet, jerkin, and hose. Man was not truly dressed without a cloak and hat, either. Underneath it, he wore a long shirt and sometimes drawers. There was a wide variety of styles. The heavily padded, peascod doublet reached its peak of excess in the 80s, and doublets have started to become somewhat more natural looking in the later 90s. They still have a pointy waist and a skirt of tabs most of the time, but there were other styles. Level waists were sometimes worn throughout the period by practical people, and especially the lower classes. A doublet with a natural waist, comfortable sleeves, and deep skirt (to mid-thigh, like the "Beefeaters") would be appropriate working-class wear.

Doublets with a very narrow (almost vestigial) skirt were also worn, especially with Venetians. Sleeves were usually fitted, with buttons up the back of the arm near the cuff. There was usually a wing or roll at the shoulder junction of the sleeve and body. Big, puffy leg-o-mutton-like sleeves were also worn, often with the narrow-skirted-Venetian breeches look. The jerkin was sleeveless and cut to fit over the doublet. It was often left open. Collars were very high in the 70s (up around one's ears), but have been becoming more reasonable since then.

Hose were quite varied in style, and there were two parts: the upper hose and the nether hose (which look like stockings or tights to us). The basic upper hose styles were knee-breeches (Venetians or galligaskins), paned trunk hose, and short trunk hose (paned or plain) with canions.

Knee-breeches came in several styles: very full throughout, very tight throughout, and very gathered and the top and narrow at the knee (like an inverted pear or turkey-leg). They might button or hook at the knee (either on the outside or inside of the knee), or might even be left open. They would be worn with over-the-knee length stockings, either tucked inside or pulled over the breeches that were held up by garters. The garters might be quite ostentatious, or they might be simple bands with a buckle, with the stocking tops rolled down over to hide them (like 1920s flappers). Sailors and laborers often wore breeches that were very lose all the way down and left open at the bottom, falling to about mid-calf. Codpieces were not worn with any of these styles.

Paned trunk hose (puffy shorts made of strips of material laid over a lining cloth that showed through the panes) were worn for a good part of the century. At this time, the fashionable line has them coming to mid-thigh and padded to a bell-like shape (as opposed to the onion or pumpkin shape popular previously). They were worn with nether-hose (long stockings, like tights). Codpieces may still be found with them, but they are going out of style.

Very, very short trunk hose (sometimes little more than a padded roll around the hips) might be attached worn with canions

Both ruffs and falling bands (what people commonly think of as "musketeer" or "puritan" style collars) were being worn, sometimes both together. At the wrist might be ruffs or cuffs, with cuffs becoming more popular. Lace is started to be used more with collars and cuffs.

The basic shirt underneath this all was a simple one

A gentleman would wear a cloak and a hat. There were a number of cloak styles: short Dutch cloaks, Spanish cloaks (short, with a large decorative hood that hung down the back), and French cloaks (à la reitre, very long and often with a shoulder-length mantle over it). Cloaks were commonly worn over one shoulder (leaving the sword arm free). Cloak ties and clasps are rarely seen, and draping the cloak rakishly and keeping it from falling off must have been an important social skill. Cloaks sometimes had hanging sleeves attached, which makes it hard to tell the different between them and a coat or cassock. The cassock was a loose-fitting (no waist), hip-length garment with sleeves, sometimes open sides, that was usually put on over the head (did not button all the way down). A loose coat of this kind was popular with sailors.

The flat, beret-like cap that was worn most of this century is going out of style, and the tall-crowned, flat-top hat (the forerunner of the "pilgrim" hat) is now the height of fashion. It is often worn with a feather or decorative hatband.

Boots were worn for riding, but shoes were considered appropriate for indoors. Heels are just coming into fashion. The trendy shoe is cut with a tongue and has side-lachets fastened over the instep with a bow. Slashed slipper-like shoes are going out of fashion.

Men wore beards almost universally, cut in different styles

Remember that a working man has looked a lot the same for a hundred years. Peasants could still be found wearing "joined hose" (i.e. tights) with a codpiece, or straight, loose trousers falling to mid-calf, with a loose coat over their shirt hanging to mid-thigh, and belted with a bit of cord. The effect is very medieval-looking.


How it works

WikiCostumes has been created for the community to collaboratively organize this wonerfull world of costumes. Anyone who can access this site can edit most of its articles and create new ones.

Only registered users may create a new article. Some particularly controversial, sensitive and/or vandalism-prone pages are protected to some degree from public alteration. A particularly contentious article may be locked so that only administrators are able to make changes.

In certain cases, all editors are allowed to submit modifications, but review is required for some editors, depending on certain conditions.