Fashion in Flux

1603-1625     1625-1642     1642-1659     1660-1679     1680-1699

When 17th century fashion is mentioned, you may conjure up images of huge millstone ruffs, shirts dripping with lace, and miles and miles of metallic thread embroidery.

Or you may think of “pilgrims”, Puritans, and Parliamentarians — people whose religious beliefs bade them wear austere and unadorned black garments with plain starched white collars and cuffs.

The 17th century was certainly a period of extremes.   The century began with the height of Elizabethan gaudiness and ended with the decadent costumes of the Sun King’s Court.   And in between there were clothing reforms, “simplified dress” edicts, and sumptuary laws.   In 1649 England beheaded her King and almost in response, garments became severe and plain.   In the 1660s the Restoration of the Monarchy spurred a return to decadence and glamour.   The 17th century has indeed left us with a multitude of delightful extant garments for our study . some of the most beautiful and most overdone clothing the world has seen since.

In these pages, you will read about my attempts to replicate some of these garments to wear at 30 Years War and English Civil War living history events.   I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed making and wearing the clothes.

Buy authentic patterns for 17th century historical clothing here.

Join the 17th century Discussion List here.

This site is dedicated to the memory of Marta Roop, our favourite Swede, who left us on 22 February, 2003.   Må hon vila i frid.


© 2003 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

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