Renaissance Fashion

What did people wear during the Renaissance? In Renaissance Europe, everyone from peasants to kings wore heavy, warm clothing. For much of the year, this was a necessity since Europe was often a chilly place. Fireplaces provided the only heat in the king's castle as well as in the peasant's hut. So everyone wore long, warm clothing just as they had during the Middle Ages.

In the country, most people still made their own clothes. In the city, clothes were sold and resold. Clothing was expensive, and it was not unusual for working people to buy second- or third-hand items. Mending a tear and patching a few bare spots made a dress or cape serviceable for another year or more. Combining mismatched and patched pieces often made for out-of-date but colorful outfits.

For members of the upper classes, fashion changed constantly. Especially in Italy, with its seaport trading centers, new materials were always arriving. Rich fabrics like silk and brocade became popular along with expensive ornaments. They were used to create a wide variety of elegant clothing styles.

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