Renaissance Costumes: A Basic Guide
By Jeremy David Clos
Historical Director, The North Carolina Renaissance Faire
Renaissance Costumes: An Introduction | Renaissance Costumes: Building Blocks | Undergarments
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Elizabethan England was a chilly place, so there were a wide variety of outer garments that were used for providing additional warmth. Some, like the "Dutch Coat" or "Schuabe" could be essential for a fashionable look amongst the wealthy.
Among fashionable women, a style called the "Spanish Surcoate" was popular, being a long, loose gown which flowed to the floor, and might be adorned with shoulder wings and false sleeves. These gowns would be constructed of expensive fabrics such as silks (velvets, damasks, etc), and would have been worn by only those who could afford such luxury.
Among fashionable men, a "Dutch Coat" or "Schuabe", essentially a circular cape with false sleeves was especially favored. It might be longer, but typically reached to the waist and could be highly decorated. This style, while not practical for warmth, typically was worn slung over one shoulder, and under the other, being tied across the chest.