Wednesday, April 7, 2010
15th century Ladies' Gowns
During the 15th century, ladies’ gowns were in transition, from the looser fit of earlier centuries, with an eye toward that coming age of elaborate fashion, the Renaissance.
Typical gowns were still long and full, worn over a kirtle or undergown. A chemise, made of linen or a soft fabric, was worn next to the skin.
Waists became higher, leaving behind the long-waisted look of earlier centuries. A high waist, like our “empire” waist, became popular, with fullness over the stomach.
The outermost gown usually had a V-shaped neck, cut low, the better to show the kirtle beneath. The outer gown could be trimmed with fur or velvet. Sleeves took on more importance and could be highly decorated, with embroidery or jewels. Toward the end of the century, sleeves with slits became popular. The slits enabled the full sleeve of the chemise beneath to be pulled out through the slits, making puffs along the arm, and displaying a contrasting color or fabric. Some sleeves were so elaborate they were transferred from dress to dress. Ladies must have liked the fashion, as elaborate sleeves stayed in fashion for the following two centuries.