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The head-dresses


Numerous head-dresses existed at that epoch, here are some examples :


The Balzo was an italian cap looking like to a turban because it was constituted of a cushion covered with a gold hairnet. The armature of this cap was made of a metal leaf or leather covered with a silk material. It was the usual head-dress at the beginning of sixteenth century.

The head-dress Tudor

The head-dress Tudor

Ladies still wore the "touret", veil made of silk or embroidered velvet or decorated with jewels. It was fixed with a circle ornamented with precious stones and, later, will become a veil falling from the hood, named "of heart". This head-dress already existed in the previous centuries.


In England, the most importante characteristic of women's costume, which was similar at that one of France's court, was the head-dress Tudor. This one had a gold cloth the "escoffion" which framed the face. A cornet often black, was fixed above, hanging or raised. The "escoffion" was a hairnet with pearls made for wrapping hair with various ways. The bonnet hood was also often worn. It's a light head-dress maintained by one or two circles decorated with pearls or precious stones. It was covered on the back by a cornet of hood put flat or fixed on a rigid armature which made it possible to take the head out of pawn. The flaps fell on the shoulders. Diane de Poitiers is often represented with this head-dress ont her portraits. The women (and the men too) wore hair "in racket" or in "ratepenade", that is to say raised around the face.


In England, the head-dress in lace, named Shadow because it covered the forehead, is going to be supplanted by some hairdresses decorated with precious stones. In Germany, women wore large hats made of felt of velvet ornamented with ostrich feathers and jewels. They were put on the hair which was covered with a hairnet.

Shoe with two heels

Shoe with two heels





The shoes


During the sixteenth century, the desire to make dispear the inequality between size of men and women pushed the Spanish to create some shoes with tall soles, made of wood or cork, for the ladies. This kind of shoes liked particularly in the ecclesistical spheres because, in their opinion, those shoes constituted an effective arm against all kind of pleasures like dancing. The people who wore them had some indulgences more easily.


That fashion of tall "chapines" had some success in all of countries in Europe.


The height of soles was such important that the women walked swinging their skirts lightly. They seemed carried on small wheels.


The slippers, arrived in France as far back as the fifteenth century, were reserved for the use of women during the sixteenth century. They were made of silk or in a very fine leather. The court shoe or "escafignon" was a very light shoe, without heel at that epoch and that had some slashes above. The "pianella" is the name given at a kind of italian slipper in the sixteenth century. It was worn by french Shoe with two heelswomen who used it to go out, equiped with clogs in order to protect them.


At that epoch began the use of knitted stockings, principally in Spain. They were decorated with high color embroideries. In 1589, William Lee, an english ecclesiastic, made the first loom for stockings. That made it possible to put in place of the realization by hand. For the ladies, the skirt had a very large pleat above the hem. Like that, they could sit without discovering their feet, what would have been a very great indecency, principally in Spain where the customs were stricter than somewhere else.

The beret was another kind of cap, supple and flat, round or square, with various sizes. It was often made of velvet and decorated with embroideries and feathers. It was worn by men et women.


The head-dress became pyramidal. The cap emphasized this effect and was taller and taller. That one was trimed with an aigrette and even could have a hood in shape of heart which the triangular fell on the forehead. The sides bent on the bouffant hair-do. The name of "attifet" was given it but, before the birth of this head-dress, this word designated every head-dress since the end of fifteenth century.


The caps went out of fashion at the end of reign of Henri III. Ladies will wear no more hats for two centuries, except for special circumstances (hunting for instance). The hair, raised because of the ruff, was maintained thanks to an armature and covered with an "attifet". The straw hat appeared towards the middle of sixteenth century.

 Duchess of Savoye's detail of the head-dress
Marguerite de Valois's detail of the head-dress
History of women’s costume during the Renaissance


Also see into this site :


The ruff

The head-dresses and shoes

The farthingale

The materials



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