Children's fashions in the renaissance time period

Written by anne cagle
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Children's fashions in the renaissance time period
Renaissance clothing for children was similar to adult garments. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Renaissance lasted from the late 1400s to the early 17th century. There are many variations in adult fashions but not separate identities for childhood fashion because childhood as a concept did not exist. Society expected children to act and dress like miniature adults when children were no longer babies and toddlers.

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Clothes For Infants

Babies in the Renaissance era did not have freedom of movement. Adults wrapped infants in constricting swaddling clothes. Parents or nursemaids tied the infant to a cradleboard or onto a carrycot to keep the babies warm or to help limbs to grow straight. Babies also wore corsets called "stays." Young children wore a pudding cap with padding around the forehead to act as safety cushion for the infant's head. Children also wore snug fabric biggins caps. Girl and boy toddlers wore gowns with long sleeves. Toddler's garments often had leading strings attached to the shoulders so adults could guide the children as they learnt to walk.

The 1400s

Boys and men wore a shirt, doublet, hose and overgowns. Boys wore gowns over their doublets such as houppelandes. They wore tabards or short coats and cloaks. Males wore hats such as cowls or turbans called chaperons. The bowl haircut with shaved hair at the back of the neck was a popular hairstyle. Shoulder-length hair was fashionable at century end.

Girls in the 15th century wore long gowns with sleeves and a low V-neck that showed the kirtle, or gown, worn beneath. They wore cotehardies or houppelandes over their gowns. Girls wore hairnets called crespines. Women and girls also wore their hair pulled back from the forehead. They shaved their eyebrows and foreheads. Females in the 15th century wore chaperons, coifs or caps, veils and wimples.

The 1500s

Girls wore gowns with wide shoulders, narrow sleeves and high-necked or low necklines covered with linen partlets. Females also wore chemises underneath their gowns to fill in skimpy necklines. Girls wore linen shifts, corsets and petticoats to give shape to bodies and gowns. Hoop skirts called farthingales gave additional line to gowns. Renaissance females wore cloaks and overskirts for travel and bad weather.

Men wore linen shirts with a ruff and a doublet with long sleeves. Men wore hose and flat shoes with rounded toes. Males, like women, wore cloaks during inclement weather. Men had short hair and wore caps over their heads.

The 1600s

Boys about 4 years old began to wear doublets with skirts. At the age of 6 or 7, children wore adult clothes with wool doublets attached to their breeches to make a suit. Boys and girls wore linen underwear. Boys wore shirts of knee length, open at the hem sides so wearers could tuck garments into their breeches.

Girls wore a smock that fell to the calf and was wide at the bottom to accommodate petticoats. Girls also wore corsets and gowns with stiffened petticoats. Boys and girls wore stockings on their feet, aprons to keep their clothes clean, and cloaks for winter.

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