Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Elizabeth's Neck Ruffs

Fashion in Elizabethan times are famous by the huge neck ruffs that adorn most of the portraits of Elizabeth I herself.

Elizabeth I wearing a ruff
The ruffs began as a high collar but developed into the more feminine version were open at the front which exposed the neck and the top of a woman's breasts. To make the ruff stand up, the wings were made of gauze and the ruff was placed at the back of the head. The ruff even dictated the hairstyles of the Elizabethan hairstyles!
The ruffs were pinned to the dress using an endless number of small pins. As decoration, lace was very popular among the nobility and the Queen herself. Besides for the neck, ruffs could be used as decorations for sleeves.

If you wanted to make your ruff match your gown it was possible to have the ruff coloured. This was often done by starching and dyes made from vegetables produced yellow, pink or mauve. Though it was possible to obtain a pale blue colour, Queen Elizabeth was against it which can be seen through a Royal Prerogative that she issued: "Her Majesty's pleasure is that no blue starch shall be used or worn by any of her Majesty's subjects, since blue was the colour of the flag of Scotland."
The ruff peaked in fashion during Elizabeth's reign were it was more than a foot wide and needed the so-called "underpropper" that were essential for the ruff not to fall down.

Elizabeth I wearing an open ruff

No comments:

Post a Comment