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What were the differences in dress between rich and poor people during Tudor times?

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Introduction

HISTORY ESSAY What were the differences in dress between rich and poor people during Tudor times? The Tudor period commenced with the ascension of Henry VII to the throne in 1485 and ceased with the death of his granddaughter Elizabeth I in 1603, who left no children. During these times the population of Britain nearly doubled, leading to food shortages, unemployment and price rises. For many families life changed dramatically, for better or for worse, within their lifetimes. Portraits of the gentry from Tudor times show the types of outer clothing worn by wealthy Tudors. The basic clothes of the rich and poor however, did not vary greatly. Men wore a shirt and doublet (a close fitting garment like a jacket) and hose, which were very much like thick tights. The hose were sometimes padded, with horsehair, cotton or wool rags. Some people even padded their hose with bran, which was not a good idea, as it tended to spill out if the hose was torn. All women wore long sleeved dresses with skirts down to the ground. ...read more.

Middle

On top of this would be a bodice with separate sleeves that were tied on to the bodice at the waist. Next came the waist petticoats - the top one would show at the front of the gown and a stiffened piece of material, known as a stomacher, was laced securely in front of the bodice. From portrait evidence, we know that the gown was cut open at the front and reached to the ground. Sometimes gowns were made in two pieces, with the bodice part becoming known as the body and the skirt part as the kirtle. Fashionable ladies took to wearing enormous hoops around their waists towards the end of the sixteenth century. These were known as French farthingales, over which the kirtle was stretched. Women who could not afford farthingales wore a 'bum roll', which consisted of a padded tube tied around the waist in order to give the kirtle the desired effect. The ruff around the neck would be stiffened with wire or starch, which was known as 'the devil's liquor', and must have been extremely uncomfortable to wear. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both men and women's shoes were made of leather, satin or velvet and had low heels. The fashionable g=had slashes in their shoes in order to show through the coloured lining. Children of very poor people often had to go without expensive items like shoes. Hat styles varied also, although again many were slashed and sometimes tall and rounded with a brim, or alternatively much flatter with a long feather. Wealthy people could afford to have separate nightshirts; whilst the less wealthy slept either in their day clothes or else naked, although most of them will have worn a nightcap. There is evidence that Anne Boleyn possessed a nightshirt of black satin, which was lined with, taffeta and edged with velvet. At birth, infants were wrapped in swaddling bands, which were believed to assist with the limbs growing straight and the prevention of different parts of the body from drifting apart. Both sexes were dressed in petticoats and frocks, which sometimes make it difficult to establish young children in some portraits as either male or female. However, by the ages of about six or seven boys began to wear breeches, probably when they were reliably toilet trained. ...read more.

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