Black horse

BBC Takes on Elizabethan Costuming!

Click on the video to the right on the page above. There is a LOT wrong with the way they are dressing her but it does give a basic idea of how to dress your typical Elizabethan.

Things Wrong:
  • Pair of Bodies too big - okay, I'm more than willing to give this one a pass as I doubt the outfit was made for the reporter
  • Velvet bumroll - err... the link to why bumrolls are most likely worn by the lower classes is part of the wayback machine's archives
  • Farthingale - ...who screwed up their panniers and declared it a farthingale instead? I've never, ever seen one shorter than mid calf.
  • The forepart - modern synthetic brocade anyone? The Armada gown has gems all over a lovely cream silk for the forepart and sleeves.
  • The gown - why are the sleeves attached? Okay, so maybe they have them laced to the gown when putting it on her but it doesn't look like it.

Now, none of these things would detract from it being a very awesome faire gown or from being a pretty gown to wear to the SCA but this is not what Queen Elizabeth I would have really been wearing. It is, except for the synthetic part and the farthingale being way too short, how the average upper class Elizabethan would have dressed though. And I do love that they put that bit in there about how the pair of bodies are nothing like the Victorian corsets. Woohoo!

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I love her reaction to how the dress makes her feel. Because she's so right...when we put on these garments, we do feel transformed, and that is part of the wonderful experience of costuming!
The pair of bodies was laced both in the front and the back, in cross lacing! No spiral lacing at all. Also the original was in fustian and not covered in a fine silk, although her records do have them covered in silk.

And half-farthingales are mentioned in the tailors accounts, but no specific description of them. So this I gave a pass as plausible. </p>

As to the bumroll, well, my friend wears one similar to it, but flatter, that she puts her regular hoops over, and it does work for the late 1580s into early 1590s look, before the tops of them get definitely flatter. I think even Robin Netherton has this as the more likely French farthingale style, although I've not read her article on it, just from what she discussed with me a couple of years ago at Costume College when she was a guest teacher.

Okay, cool! Do you know which tailor accounts? I'd love to read more on them.

I didn't even notice the lacing. Thanks! I think I was sort of trying to get over the velvet bumroll from heck. I've certainly seen the bumroll with the farthingale - I've just believed this was a middle calss/lower noble thing and not something the Queen would do. Probably time to break out the book again and see if there is any mention of a bumroll in QEI's invetories...