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Edward VI Costume - 1547-1553

Edward VI Costume - 1547-1553
English History by Dion Clayton Calthrop

By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

King Edward VI Costume - 1547-1553
English History by Dion Clayton Calthrop

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Edward VI -1547-1553  - FashionThis Tudor costume history information consists of Pages 274-282 of the chapter on the mid 16th century dress in the 6 YEAR REIGN era of boy-king Edward The Sixth 1547-1553 and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830.

This page is about Tudor dress in the reign of King Edward The Sixth 1547-1553.

For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.

My comments are in italics.

King Edward The Sixth
Reigned six years: 1547-1553. Born, 1537

THE MEN AND WOMEN

A MAN -  TIME OF EDWARD VI - 1547-1553Here we have a reign which, from its very shortness, can hardly be expected to yield us much in the way of change, yet it shows, by very slight movements, that form of growth which preludes the great changes to come.

Tunic to Doublet

I think I may call a halt here, and proceed to tell you why this volume is commenced with Henry VII, called the Tudor and Stuart volume, and ends with the Cromwells. It is because, between these reigns, the tunic achieves maturity, becomes a doublet, and dies, practically just in the middle of the reign of Charles II of pungent memory.

The peculiar garment, or rather, this garment peculiar to a certain time, runs through its various degrees of cut. It is, at first, a loose body garment with skirts; the skirts become arranged in precise folds, the folds on the skirt are shortened, the shorter they become the tighter becomes the coat; then we run through with this coat in its periods of puffings, slashings, this, that, and the other sleeve, all coats retaining the small piece of skirt or basque, and so to the straight, severe Cromwellian jerkin with the piece of skirt cut into tabs, until the volume ends, and hey presto! there marches into history a Persian business - a frock coat, straight, trim, quite a near cousin to our own garment of afternoon ceremony.

For a sign of the times it may be mentioned that a boy threw his cap at the Host just at the time of the Elevation.

To Queen Elizabeth has been given the palm for the wearing of the first silk stockings in England, but it is known that Sir Thomas Gresham gave a pair of silk stockings to Edward VI.

Beefeater Fashion Style!

The Tudor Flat Cap

We now see a more general appearance in the streets of the flat cap upon the heads of citizens. The hood, that eminently practical head-gear, took long to die, and, when at last it went out of fashion, except among the labouring classes, there came in the cap that now remains to us in the cap of the Beefeaters at the Tower of London.Beefeater Fashion - Male Coats, Doublets & Caps - EDWARD VI - 1547-1553

It is the time of jerkin or jacket, doublet or coat, and hose - generally worn with trunks, which were puffed, short knickerbockers.

The flat cap, afterwards the statute cap as ordered by Elizabeth, became, as I say, the ordinary head-wear, though some, no doubt, kept hoods upon their heavy travelling cloaks. This cap, which some of the Bluecoat Boys still wear, was enforced upon the people by Elizabeth for the encouragement of the English trade of cappers. 'One cap of wool, knit, thicked, and dressed in England,' was to be worn by all over six years of age, except such persons as had 'twenty marks by year in lands, and their heirs, and such as have borne office of worship.'

Edward, according to the portraits, always wore a flat cap, the base of the crown ornamented with bands of jewels.

Blueboy Coats

The Bluecoat Boys, and long may they have the sense to keep to their dress, show us exactly the ordinary dress of the citizen, except that the modern knickerbocker has taken the place of the trunks.

Also, the long skirts of these blue coats were, in Edward's time, the mark of the grave man, others wore these same skirts cut to the knee.

That peculiar fashion of the previous reign - the enormously broad-shouldered appearance - still held in this reign to some extent, though the collars of the jerkins, or, as one may more easily know them, overcoats or jackets, open garments, were not so wide, and allowed more of the puffed shoulder of the sleeve to show.

Indeed, the collar became quite small, as in the Windsor Holbein painting of Edward, and the puff in the shoulders not so rotund.

The Doublet & The Partlet The Doublet & The Partlet 1550

The doublet of this reign shows no change, but the collar of the shirt begins to show signs of the ruff of later years. It is no larger, but is generally left untied with the ornamental strings hanging.

Antiquarian research has, as it often does, muddled us as to the meaning of the word 'partlet.' Fairholt, who is very good in many ways, puts down in his glossary, 'Partlet: A gorget for women.'

Then he goes on to say that a partlet may be goodness knows what else. Minshein says they are 'part of a man's attire, as the loose collar of a doublet, to be set on or taken off by itself, without the bodies, as the picadillies now a daies, or as mens' bands, or womens' neckerchiefs, which are in some, or at least have been within memorie, called partlets.'.

Sir F. Madden says: 'The partlet evidently appears to have been the corset or habit-shirt worn at that period, and which so commonly occurs in the portraits of the time, generally made of velvet and ornamented with precious stones.'

A MAN AND WOMAN OF THE TIME OF EDWARD VI - 1547-1553A MAN AND WOMAN OF THE TIME OF EDWARD VI - 1547-1553

The change from the dress of the previous reign should be easily noticed, especially in the case of the woman. This dress is, of course, of the plainest in this time.

Hall, the author of 'Satires,' 1598, speaks of a man, an effeminate dandy, as wearing a partlet strip. It appears to me, who am unwillingly forced into judging between so many learned persons, that, from all I have been able to gather from contemporary records and papers, the partlet is indeed, as Minshein says, 'the loose collar of a doublet,' in reality the same thing as a shirt band.

Ruff Forerunner

Henry VIII wore a band about his neck, the forerunner of the ruff. Some of his bands were of silver cloth with ruffs to them, others, as I have shown, were wonderfully embroidered.

In this case, then, the partlet is head of the family tree to our own collar, 'to be set on or taken off by itself,' and so by way of ruff, valued at threescore pound price apiece, to plain bands, to falling bands, laced neckcloth, stock - to the nine pennyworth of misery we bolt around our necks.

Plainer Dress

Dress, on the whole, is much plainer, sleeves are not so full of cuts and slashes, and they fit more closely to the arm. The materials are rich, but the ornament is not so lavish; the portrait of Edward by Gwillim Stretes is a good example of ornament, rich but simple. Shoes are not cut about at the toe quite with the same splendour, but are still broad in the toe.

Elaborate Headdress Simplified 1550

Elaborate Headdress Simplified 1550For the women, it may be said that the change towards simplicity is even more marked. The very elaborate head-dress, the folded, diamond-shaped French hood has disappeared almost entirely, and, for the rich, the half hoop, set back from the forehead with a piece of velvet or silk to hang down the back, will best describe the head-gear. From that to the centre-pointed hoop shows the trend of the shape.

This latest form of woman's head apparel was born, I think, out of the folds of the linen cap worn in the house, and this, being repeated in the velvet night-caps, became the extreme of fashion. The drawing will show how the square end of the linen cap, falling in the centre of the circular cap-shape, cut the semicircle and overlapped it, thus giving the appearance later to become exaggerated into a form cut especially to that shape. (I try to be as lucid as I can manage, but the difficulties of describing such evolutions in any but tangled language I leave the reader to imagine.)

The women are also wearing cloth hoods, rather baggy cap-like hoods, with a hanging-piece behind.Gown Collars of 1550

Gown Collars

The most notable change is the collar of the gown, which suddenly springs into existence. It is a high collar and very open in front, showing a piece of the under-dress. On this collar is sewn - what I shall call - the woman's partlet, as the embroidery is often detachable and answers the same purpose as the man's partlet; this later became a separate article, and was under-propped with wires to hold it out stiffly.

The same stiff-bodied appearance holds good, but in more simple dresses the skirts were not quite as voluminous as heretofore.

With overcoats in general the hanging sleeve is being worn, the arm of the wearer coming out just below the puffed shoulder-piece.

With these remarks we may safely go on to the reign of Mary; another reign which does not yield us much in the way of clothes.

EDWARD THE SIXTH
Reigned six years: 1547-1553. Born, 1537

Edward VI -1547-1553  - FashionThis costume history information consists of Pages 274-282 of the chapter on the mid 16th century dress in the 6 YEAR REIGN era of boy-king Edward The Sixth 1547-1553 and taken from English Costume by Dion Clayton Calthrop.

The 36 page section consists of a text copy of the book ENGLISH COSTUME PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY DION CLAYTON CALTHROP.  Visuals, drawings and painted fashion plates in the book have a charm of their own and are shown amid the text. The book covers both male and female dress history of over 700 years spanning the era 1066-1830.

This page is about Tudor dress in the reign of King Edward The Sixth 1547-1553.

For the Introduction to this book see this introduction written by Dion Clayton Calthrop.  I have adjusted the images so they can be used for colouring worksheets where pupils add some costume/society facts.

My comments are in italics.

You have been reading English Costume History at www.fashion-era.com © from the chapter Edward The Sixth 1547-1553, from Dion Clayton Calthrop's book English Costume.

Page Added 15 August 2010. Ref:-P804.

NEXT - MARY 1553-1558

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