Renaissance Costume Glossary:
Women's Clothing Terms
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    Renaissance Costume Glossary - Page 2

    Men's Renaissance Clothing Terms | Women's Renaissance Clothing Terms
    Renaissance Hats & Headwear Terms

    Women's Clothing Terms

    The following terms will aid you with the many layers of Women's Renaissance Costumes.
    • Bodice (bod-is):   a tight-fitting, sleeveless garment covering the torso. The bodice is most often stiffened with boning and cross-laced, worn over a blouse or chemise. Commonly front-laced in peasant dress and side-laced or back-laced for the upper classes.

    • Bum Roll (buhm rohl):   a padded roll tied around the waist underneath a lady's skirts to provide support and to take the weight of the fabric off the lower back.

    • Busk (buhsk):   The center bone in an upper-class lady's corset. Often made of wood, ivory, or bone and elaborately carved. It would be slipped into a special pocket in the corset and secured in place with ribbons.

    • Chemise (shuh-meez):   the basic foundation garment of all women's renaissance clothing; a large, full-sleeved blouse with either a high or low neckline.

    • Corset (kawr-sit):   a close-fitting undergarment meant to enclose the torso and provide shape and support to the body. Stiffened with stays made of bone or steel and worn laced up, most often in the back.

    • Doublet (duhb-lit):   for women, a high-necked, front-closing bodice which mimicked the men's close fitting jacket of the same name.

    • Farthingale (fahr-th-ing-geyl):   a five to seven bone conical hoop-skirt of Spanish invention, originally with hoops made of cane or whalebone. The French farthingale of the late English Renaissance was characterized by a barrel shape.

    • Forepart (fohr-pahrt):   an underskirt which shows beneath the opening in the overskirt. In upper class garments, it is often made of a sumptuous fabric and highly trimmed and jeweled.

    • Gown (goun):   a long, fashionable overgarment which could provide extra warmth. Various styles, including the Spanish Surcote, were possible and could range from close-fitting to loose. The garment could be sleeveless, have cap sleeves, or could feature decorative hanging sleeves, even floor-length ones.

    • Guard (gahrd):   a wide band of less expensive fabric which could be added to over and underskirts to take the wear of weather, dirt, and dragging on the ground. These could be removed and replaced when soiled or worn out, preserving the more expensive skirts.

    • Kirtle (kur-tl):   a woman's loose gown, popularized in the middle ages. Though unfashionable, it was often worn in the Elizabethan period beneath a Spanish Surcote for a lady's comfort while at home or in her own chambers. Kirtle can also be an interchangeable term for a skirt.

    • Night Rail (nahyt reyl):   a loose garment, similiar to a chemise, which was worn as a nightgown.

    • Overskirt (oh-ver-skurt):   a skirt worn over another, or over the skirt of a dress and either split in the front, or draped and tucked, to reveal the skirts beneath.

    • Partlet (pahrt-lit):   a blouse covering the neck and shoulders with a standing collar and full long sleeves. The collar and cuffs often featured sewn-in ruffs.

    • Peplum (pepluhm):   a short skirting or tabs extending from the bottom of the bodice at the waistline. Several variations of style are possible.

    • Petticoat (pet-ee-koht):   any skirt may be called a petticoat when discussing renaissance costumes. Most often, this term is given to an underskirt.

    • Ruff (ruhf):   a seperate garment consisting of a circular collar made from linen to which a series of figure-eight pleats are sewn, often edged in fancy lace. Early in the Elizabethan period, ruffs were modest in width, but by the late period they could measure close to 2 feet in diameter.

    • Sack (sak):   an unfashionable, loose fitting dress common amongst country peasants and the city poor.

    • Spanish Surcote (span-ish sur-koht):   a long, loose fitting yoked gown which may be sleeveless, feature cap-sleeves, or decorative hanging sleeves. Most often worn over a kirtle or other gown.

    • Shift (shift):   see chemise, above.

    • Skirt (skurt):   a garment which extends in a circular fashion from a waistband. See also overskirt, petticoat, and underskirt.

    • Tippet (tip-it):   A short, cape-like garment which covers the neck and shoulders, quite possibly lined with fur.

    • Underskirt (uhn-der-skurt):   a skirt worn as the bottom skirt in a combination of skirts. Or, a skirt worn under an overskirt, presumably as a forepart, with a noble woman's gown.

    Women's Renaissance

    Renaissance Bodices

    Women's Shirts
    & Chemises

    Women's Skirts

    Women's Underpinnings

    & Overdresses

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