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What They Are WearingClothing often defined the social class a person was in. During the time periods in which most madrigals are set, it was easy to tell a noble person from a peasant. The color of the fabric and the type of fabric could easily give away a personís class. Certain colors of dye were more difficult to produce. Purple became a color of nobility because it's made by crushing thousands of sea snails. Other dyes were expensive because they were imported and were taxed. Cotton, before the cotton gin, was very difficult to prepare, so the wealthy people would be seen wearing great amounts of cotton. Fabrics that were processed or weaved were also worn be nobility, like velvet, corduroy, and satins. The common people wore flax and wool. These fabrics were inexpensive because they could be spun at home.
The common dress for men was boots, pants (called breeches), a shirt, a vest (also know as a jerkin), and a hat. Women would often wear shoes, an over and under skirt, a bodice, a shirt, and a hat, scarf, or snood. Women wore their hair long and would wear it braided. Children over three would dress in the same fashion as adults. Children under three were dressed as infants in bonnets and shifts.
For additional information:The Renaissance Tailor
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