Posts Tagged ‘clothing’


Sumptuary Laws and the Elizabethan Fashion Police

May 1st, 2011 10:00 am


We’ve all bought that item of clothing that we couldn’t quite afford or was a bit of a stretch for the image of ourselves that we usually present. It is our prerogative as women to take fashion risks and to treat ourselves to the latest looks.

But imagine a time when stepping out of the house in the wrong garment for your station in life could –quite literally –bring down the fashion police.

In Elizabethan England, extensive Sumptuary Laws were put in place banning “excess of apparel and the superfluity of unnecessary foreign wares.”  Such “great abuses” of fashion threatened to “so manifest a decay of the wealth of the realm and to the ruin of a multitude of serviceable young men and gentlemen and of many good families.”

The laws purported to protect family fortunes and to curb extravagant spending of money that could be put to better use within the country, such as acquiring horses. But the laws also served to keep commoners from attempting to look like nobility and to keep everyone easily identifiable. The idea was that if you couldn’t tell a farmer from a count at a glance, the very fabric of society was weakened.

Clauses within the Sumptuary Laws (outlined here circa 1574) go into great detail as to what men and women of different social strata could and couldn’t wear.

For example, no one below the degree of vicountess or baroness or similar rank could wear “cloth of gold, silver, tinseled satin, silk, or cloth mixed or embroidered with gold or silver or pearl, saving silk mixed with gold or silver in linings of cowls, partlets, and sleeves.” But the laws expanded to include “wives of barons and knights of the order” for the wearing of “velvet, tufted taffeta, satin, or gold or silver in any cloak or safeguard.”

For both men and women, the laws also stipulated which servants could wear which items of clothing as would be appropriate for their stations in relation to nobility. As a result, “caps, hats, hatbands, capbands, garters, or boothose trimmed with gold or silver or pearl; silk netherstocks; enameled chains, buttons, aglets” were allowable by nobility as well as “the gentlemen attending upon the Queen’s person in her highness’s Privy chamber or in the office of cupbearer, carver, sewer [server], esquire for the body, gentlemen ushers, or esquires of the stable.”

There was one small note of mercy in all this though, as the laws allowed, “that her majesty’s meaning is not, by this order, to forbid in any person the wearing of silk buttons, the facing of coats, cloaks, hats and caps, for comeliness only, with taffeta, velvet, or other silk, as is commonly used.”

So, the next time you go out on a limb with your outfit, think of what those poor Elizabethan women would have given to walk in your Manolos.




Lovely Looks from Navabi

April 27th, 2011 10:00 am


The German website, Navabi, has done a knock-out job of styling Anna’s current collection on their site.

We always like to see how our stockists envision the collections, and the varied ways they present the pieces. We thought you’d enjoy seeing different women modeling the collection too…oh, and maybe doing a little shopping!




Something for the Art Lovers

April 23rd, 2011 10:00 am


I am amazed and inspired by this website, True American Dog. These art creations are witty, modern and surreal– all at the same time!

It looks like anyone can just send in a photo (preferably of dogs, tigers, bears, scorpions, horses or bald eagles) and a special, crazy newspaper headline scenario might be created from your submission.

Here are a few of my favourites.

–Winnie

Mermaid Horse Redefines Pizza Party

Kooly The Bear Teaches Class How To Respond To A Dude Alert

Dog and Eagle Visit Soda Spa

Dog Babysits While Eagle Gets Breakfast For Her Babies





Tweets



© Anne Kroul, 2013.