Garments and accessories are prominent in almost all of William Shakespeare's plays, from Hamlet and Othello to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night. The statement 'the apparel oft proclaims the man' was one that would have resonated with their audiences: the rise of England's merchant class had made issues of rank central to Elizabethan debate, and a rigid table of sumptuary laws carefully regulated the sorts of fabric and garment worn by the different classes. From the etiquette of courtly dress to the evolution of the Elizabethan ruff, in this vibrant introduction Sarah Jane Downing explores the sartorial world of the late sixteenth century, why people wore the clothes they did, and how the dizzying eclectic range of fashions (including ruffs, rebatos and French farthingales) transformed over time.
Fashion in the Time of William Shakespeare
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC