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Wench or Lady: The Dress Says It All

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In the days of the Renaissance, the way a woman dressed said a lot. It almost said it all to those that were fashionable and savvy enough to know their fashion. Women had very distinct lots in life and they made their places known by the way they dressed. Women of the peer and royalty dressed differently than lower ranks and peasants. Those that were interested in knowing if they were approaching a lady or a wench only had to look at their dress.

A woman’s dress in Renaissance was full, the dresses round with great attention paid to a small waist. Not only was it important for a woman to follow the fashions of the time, it was important for her to wear the appropriate clothing at all times. The appropriate clothing announced a great deal of things about the woman and the family she belonged to.

To Order or Acknowledge

One of the first things people notice today about a woman is the way she is dressed. It was the same in the days passed as well. When a woman approached, she was looked over from head to toe in an instant. That was very important as one didn’t know what kind of woman they were dealing with if she wasn’t dressed properly.

A noble woman during the Renaissance was a well-dressed woman. She was a woman that wore the latest fashions and had her clothing made of luxurious materials, silks and satins. A woman of lower rankings weren’t as well dressed. Peasant women wore dresses as well but the material of their dresses weren’t as luxurious and much cheaper. Their clothing wasn’t as colorful nor was it as restrictive as the clothing worn by the nobility. Peasant women had to wear clothing that was functional as they had to work for their living.

When women were present, they were there as decoration or servants. The ladies that were better dressed were given many more privileges and respect than those that wore peasant clothing. It was thought that women born into the higher classes of society had delicate constitutions and shouldn’t be exposed to harsh words, commands and other parts of life. Peasant women were born for their lots in life so they weren’t as protected. The way a woman was treated was instantly determined by her dress.

Lively and Free or Dressed Decoratively

History has shown how Renaissance women had specific jobs to do. Many women were only thought of as property and created for the building of dynasties through marriage. Noble women had chores to learn, such as running a household and other wifely duties but their lifestyle was often very restricted. Their clothing was almost a representation of their lives, luxurious but restrictive and layered.

The life of a lesser ranked woman and peasants was much less restrictive. While there were certain gender roles that had to be observed, they had a sense of freedom. These ladies were exposed to a different part of life, the coarser parts of life. A woman seen in coarser clothing was not given a lot of protection in life.

The measure of a Renaissance woman was told by the style of her dress. Those that were well dressed were protected. Those of lesser ilk were treated with less respect. Although women didn’t have many rights and were restricted in a lot of ways, their dress was an instant indicator their life, luxurious or coarse.

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