Outline of the historical costume of the 16th century
Great changes now developed. The costumes for men and women from this time on are no longer alike. The desire now seemed to be to alter in various ways the normal shape of the figure.
The women first wore a boneless corset, which they called a basquine, and a crinoline which gave the appearance of a hooped skirt, which they called the Farthingale (vertugale).
The waistline was normal and slightly pointed in front. A piece of material was sewed on the Farthingale to take the place of the Cotte. The under-sleeves were made of the same material, and sometimes slashed to show the chemise; sometimes the same material was used as a panel in the front of the waist. The neckline was square but curved upward at the centre. The skirt was round length.
Large mantles, usually with hoods, were used for out of doors. The shoes were no longer pointed. Red was the popular color for shoes and stockings. Jewels were used in profusion to elaborate the costumes; collars set with gems were favored.
The men wore very short, often slashed, trousers, long stockings, a doublet with a square neck, slashed, round – pointed shoes, and a mantle.
The first change came in the latter part of the century, when many women wore a waist which buttoned to the throat. The large over-sleeves were discarded for smaller ones with a padded – roll at the arm-eye. The ruff now became popular.
More width was given to the hips by a barrel-shaped hoop which made a definite change in the silhouette. The waist became smaller in size. Both round length and long skirts were worn. Trains were worn on horseback, one of which was seventy feet long. The widely open bodice became popular, to which immense ruffs were added. The balloon-shaped sleeves, too, had grown enormous. It was at this time that ribbon came in.
Men’s figures diminished in size as women’s figures increased. They also wore both corset and ruffs.
Timeline Sixteenth Century. Renaissance.
1509-1547 Henry VIII, King of England m. 1st, Catherine of Aragon; m. 2nd Anne Boleyn; m. 3d, Jane Seymour; m. 4th, Anne of Cleves; m. 5th Catharine Howard; m. 6th, Catharine Parr.
1547-1553 Edward VI.
1553-1558 Mary Tudor, Queen of England, m. Philip II, King of Spain.
1558-1603 Elizabeth, Queen of England.
1515-1547 Francis I, King of France, m. 1st, Claude, d. of Louis XII; m. 2nd, Eleanor, d. of Philip.
1547-1559 Henry II, King of France, m. 1st, Catherine de Medicis; m. 2nd, morga., Diana, Duchess of Valentinois (Diane de Poitiers).
1559-1560 Francis II, King of France, m. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.
1560-1574 Charles IX, King of France, m. 1st, Elizabeth, d. of Emp. Maximilian; m. 2nd, morga., Marie Touchet (Dame de Belleville).
1574-1589 Henry III, King of France, m. Louise of Lorraine.
1589-1610 Henry IV (Bourbon), King of France, m. 1st, Marguerite of Valois; m. 2d, Marie de Medicis.
Source: Costume design and illustration by Ethel Traphagen. New York, London: John Wiley & sons, inc. 1918.
Detailed descriptions of the fashions of the 16th century can be found in: