Contrary to common misconception, most Puritans and Calvinists did not routinely dress in all black. Black dye was so expensive and scarce that it was typically reserved for special occasions or in commissioned portraits of dignitaries or the elderly.
Dress among the Puritans was often dark in color and restrained in the cut. Smocks with high necklines and wide collars were worn to cover plunging necklines on dresses. Married women were required to wear a tall black cap on top of a linen hat. Bright colors, flashy fabrics, and gaudy embellishments were all avoided.
Silk versions, often with designs, were popular among the wealthy Puritans, who wore them just like their Dutch Calvinist contemporaries did. The majority of them were tawny, tan, brown, or one of several colors of gray. Puritan women with higher social rank wore modest amounts of lace and embroidery because they thought that social hierarchies were preordained by God.
In this article, we will be discussing puritan clothes and how they are generated.
Puritans Clothing and Rules
While there was some overlap between the two sides of the English Civil War in terms of whether people wanted flashy or understated garb, the Roundheads’ moniker stuck because some Puritans considered long, curly hair to be effeminate and supported a shorter look.
The Puritan legislature in Massachusetts actively worked to curb the state’s expanding wealth. In 1634, the General Court of Plymouth prohibited wearing precious metals and fine fabrics and accessories, including girdles, hatbands, and lace. Cutting apart someone else’s clothes was not tolerated unless it was done in secret (with merely one slash per sleeve and perhaps one slash at the back).
Crafts involving needle and thread were also forbidden. Those who couldn’t muster enough humility to get fired were fired. The majority of modesty recommendations concentrated on how females should dress. A single rule established standards for both the length and width of women’s sleeves. In addition, she couldn’t show her legs if her skirts didn’t reach the floor. Don your shoes and socks.
The Puritan government eventually relaxed its stance on the public display of gold and silver, focusing instead on the larger danger posed by the poor trying to pass themselves off as well-heeled. As a group, the Puritans were very rigid in their beliefs and practices.
Golden lace, buttons, and knee points were considered prestige symbols and so off limits to the lower classes. The wealthy might choose from a wider variety of clothing options. The wealthy wore hoods, scarves, lace, and buttons fashioned from silk. Those of lower status who were found in possession of such objects were severely punished.
The shift, the corset, and the long petticoats were the standard attire for women in the 17th century. She dressed in a gown or a waistcoat and skirt to keep warm. Long, pointed bodices and long, voluminous skirts were the norms in this era.
Women of riches dressed with costly fabrics like silk, satin, and velvet, while those of more modest means wore plain gowns and skirts. Women hid their hair under white linen coifs. Even though it was chilly, several women nevertheless chose to wear cloaks without sleeves. Women wore socks and shoes that were intended for men.
The majority of the labor force wore leather and rough textiles. It was common for farmers to wear frocks to shield their clothing from the elements and cover up stains. Upon entering their homes, they disrobed there. Men and fishermen favored the knitted Monmouth cap for its comfort and style.
A closer look at the uniforms worn by workers:
Captain hats were worn by the Flemish countryside’s men and women in 1608. The English countryside watching The Morris dancers and the hobby horse all sport wide-brimmed hats. This lady is decked out in a jacket bodice and a petticoat of clashing hues. Men wore doublets and complete breeches about the year 1620.
Army uniform was worn by Gustav II Adolf in August 1627: buff coat of moose hide and wadmal breeches with linen linings. The pikeman on the right is dressed in a full-skirted buff coat in this 1635 portrait of a musketeer and a pikeman. Before the year 1635, Spain. Floppy hats, wrinkled stockings, long, high-waisted jerkins (sometimes with sleeves), and blunt-toed shoes are typical garb for men in a bar.
A man on hunt wears a red doublet over a grey buttoned jerkin with short sleeves and grey pants. Germany around 1643; he has on a fur-lined cap and grey gloves.
Long shirts, stockings, garters, a doublet, breeches, points (a knot used to unite the doublet and hose), a waistcoat, a neckcloth, a coat that reached the knee, and shoes were all part of a man’s uniform. Wide-brimmed hats were very fashionable in 1670. A hat with a 6-inch brim usually has a flap sewn to the crown. When a second and then a third flap was added to the originally flat top hat, it took on a cocked appearance. Those in the upper class wore luxurious materials like silk, velvet, and brocade.
The wealthier Puritans desired the same comforts and conveniences as we do. As time progressed, the Fashion Police of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were unable to make as many arrests of residents for their clothing choices. Keep in mind that the Salem witch trials were not the top priority for most people in 1692.
In Puritan society, anyone who deviated from the norm received harsh reprimands. The impoverished were not allowed to wear laces, buttons, or knee points made of costly metals. The wealthy might choose from a wider variety of dress styles.
Silk hoods, scarves, lace, and buttons manufactured from precious metals are acceptable accessories for the wealthy. Puritanism existed on a continuum. Some supporters of Puritan ideals also enjoyed donning feminine attire, such as lace. What do you think?
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