During the renaissance period, both Germanic and Italian designer had their strong influence on the clothing of Europeans. The popular fashion styles ranged from square and barrel-shaped to wide fashions. Clothing was taken as a status symbol. Fashion was for the wealthy and they spent most of their money on the clothing and they used to wear their wealth. The darker colors of the fabrics became so popular among the wealthy people who showed off the jewels and the embroidery. The more elaborate the craftsmanship and tailoring methods, the more the expensive the clothing was and they helped to establish the reputation of the wealth of the owner. The richer an individual was, the more expensive the fabrics used in the clothing, such as cotton, velvet, silk and brocade (Carole 27).During the European renaissance, the clothing for the women went from three pieces comprising of bodice, robe and underskirt to a one piece and then back to five or more pieces that comprised of hoop, collar, skirt, overbodice or vest and an underskirt. These helped to maintain Renaissance social structures of the rich and the poor because they did not wear in the same manner. The women's hair coverings moved from the pointed cone style without any hair to show to the more fashionable light-weight veil type that was trimmed with laces or flowers. Most of the women had very long hair that they kept braided the older women preferred to wear coverings or caps but the young women preferred to remain uncovered except when the weather dictated otherwise. The wedding dresses during the renaissance were made out of rich jewel-toned velvets and the people wore the finest clothing to weddings (Raphael 76).Beret was invented during these the renaissance period and they had a string to allow it to fit every head size. The lower classes also invented 'slashing' because they could not afford to buy the fashion that was worn by the ruling class. They put two layers of the fabric together and then slashed the outer layer in order to allow the inner layer's contrasting color to show through. This was to show their disagreement with the law that had been passed that the lower classes should wear only one color. They started out as the small geometric shape in the skirts and the sleeves but with time they then changed to vertical slits with the inner fabrics pulled out or even the outer fabric sewn back towards the sides for the skirts (Alastair 34).The clothing for the men during the renaissance period were overhauled in order to keep up with the trends in fashion. The initial focus was on the richer fabrics which gave way to more square fashion and finally to a barrel look. The coat or vest was widened at the shoulders and they even padded. The legs were covered with padded hosiery and breeches, the shoes were square toed and they wore widened brimmed hats to complete their style. Afterwards, the barrel look became the new style; the tailors only took into consideration only two parts of the human, the hips and the shoulders. The necessary modifications were made to make the heavy pad was put at the middle of the vet. Horsehair was also used widely for padding and the embroiders were used to charge by the count of thread that they used (Logan, 1).
The men and the women added the stand-up ruffs or collar to their necklines. Others added metal stays that are called "attices" to their collars. Padded buttons were also widely used during the renaissance period. The clothing for both of them kept in pace with each other.The styling of the typical outfit of the early Renaissance woman always consisted of a gown and a kirtle with the cone shaped skirt a long train. The bodices had square necklines and were decorated with edgings of fine jewels and laces. Sleeves were wide often edged in fur and the waistlines were dipped slightly and the overskirts were split to prove the decorative kirtle that was underneath. Kirtle is a simple frock with a tight fitting sleeves and bodice and full skirt that were similar to the petticoat. The noblewoman's gown was usually made from finely woven linen or wool. The wealthy class wore garments made of velvet and silk (Renaissance Fashion 1).The Renaissance period was a very interesting period that had some really elegantly designed clothing for both men and women. The fashion in regard to clothing in Renaissance period was leaning towards the luxurious designs as well as the unsophisticated forms. This was also the period that found the lavish use of furs and silks.
The Italians had an enormous influence over all the designs from this Renaissance period. Clothing especially during the Renaissance period was much about displaying the social status that one held. The rich were allowed to wear clothes in the expensive fabrics. Other materials like silk and brocade were worn for garments during the Renaissance period. The fashion of the women saw the evolution during this era of renaissance. The style was the one of the prime factors. The original costumes worn during the Renaissance period restricted the freedom to shift around. The women wore almost 5 layers of clothing. These included the vest, skirt, collar, bodice, and the underskirt. The wedding dresses during the renaissance period were chiefly beautiful in their form and were completed of brocades. The exquisite jewelry was sewn onto the patterns. Many layers formed the clothing and hence formed a significant factor in the Renaissance clothing for the women. This was perhaps considered as the best way to keep their body warm throughout the cold weather (Carole 32).The clothing of women also consisted of the kirtle that was worn together with a gown. The name kirtle meant frock. The frock consisted of a tightly en suite bodice and the flowing skirt. The sleeves were made to be wide and the wealthy loved to line the sleeves with fur. The gowns had very long trains of cloth that lagged behind. This was also done on similar lines as the clothing found in the Medieval era. The women also used to seize a long time to getting prepared because of the number of layers that were implicated in the clothing. However, during the Renaissance period, it was predominantly noted that the Queens wore the gowns that were made of a purple color (Logan, 1).Fashion accessories had chief part to play during the renaissance period. The renaissance clothing was measured to be unfinished without headgear or hoods. During the earliest period, the women wore decorated hats that were pointed over their hair. At this time, the berets arrived on the scenario. The berets were designed to match the people of all ages. The stylish caps were embroidered with jewels and they often had strings attached to their backs.Renaissance clothing for the men started with the wealthy and luxurious look. This was very evident especially during the European Renaissance. Then the extravagant and the rich, the tendency moved on to generating a wider look for the men. Men wore some coats and other outfits that gave a silhouette square look. This was achieved with the help of the shoulder pads that were used to broaden the shoulders for men (Raphael 81).In Spain, the fashion for the women was somehow on the tedious side. The materials that were used included wires and were used to create clothing. The farthingale of Spain was in fact a stiffened skirt. It was made from the whalebone and a rope. The French farthingale on the other hand was crescent in shape. It was however also stiffened by whalebone. In such skirts of this kind, hoops were well displayed on the external side. The skirts were made to be broad over the hips such that the cloth would fall loosely below. This was also perhaps one of the reasons, why the women took a very long time to get prepared during the Renaissance period. Thus we perceive how the Renaissance clothing had been defined as per the social status as well as the diverse regions. Fashion has come a very long way from the very olden days till to date (History of Renaissance 1). The fashion is a very general term and can be used for style and the customs that were prevalent in the renaissance period and these may include their lifestyles, their habits, their eating pattern and all these may sum up to fashion when combined with the clothing that they wore. The thriving Renaissance economy was largely based on the textile and the banking industries of the Florence in Italy. The fine Renaissance clothing accessories and materials were the major building blocks for the new era. The church however played a very significant role in the Renaissance clothing because it condemned them that focused too much on the fashion trends as being guilty of the sin for vanity (Logan, 1).The renaissance fashion was such that the previous month's fashion could become the next month's embarrassment. The color green was known to represent love, gray to show sorrow, yellow to show hostility, red to show nobility, blue to show fidelity, black and gray to how lower status of the people. The renaissance fashion was always changing and it was really important because it helped to distinguish the social classes.