The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Nine – Historical Tidbit

If you were to represent The Prince and the Pauper using a pie chart based on the topics discussed by Mark Twain, descriptions of clothing would take up a large portion of that chart. If you did the same thing for Chapter 9, it would take up the large majority. Mark Twain looooves describing what people are wearing. So for that reason, our Historical Tidbit for today is, of course….

TUDOR FASHION

Words like doublet, stockings, mantle, cloth-of-gold, and so many more clothing-related terms come up frequently throughout the story. So let’s explore these fashions a little further. Keep reading or watch the video below to get a look at Tudor fashions.

As stated earlier, Chapter 9 shows multiple moments where clothing is described. Below is one specific example of what Tom is wearing:

“He [Tom] was ‘magnificently habited in a doublet of white satin, with a front-piece of purple cloth-of-tissue, powdered with diamonds, and edged with ermine. Over this he wore a mantle of white cloth-of-gold, pounced with the triple-feathered crest, lined with blue satin, set with pearls and precious stones, and fastened with a clasp of brilliants. About his neck hung the order of the Garter, and several princely foreign orders;’ and wherever light fell upon him jewels responded with a blinding flash..”(p. 44)

What was the formal style for men?

What was the formal style for women?

Other notable clothing items

Men

  • Caps decorated with badges, ribbons, and feathers
  • Slashed sleeves (revealing another fabric underneath)
  • Codpiece

Women

  • Petticoats
  • Parlet (worn over corset)
  • Kirtle (underskirt)
  • Bumroll (padding around hips)
  • Leather shoes/boots
  • Silk/velvet slip-on shoes for indoor use

Tudor Sumptuary Laws

On the subject of royal fashions, it is also important to bring up the sumptuary laws. The word ‘sumptuary’ derives from the Latin ‘expenditure’. These laws were originally put into place during the reign of Edward the III (The Prince and the Pauper features Edward VI), and they applied to food, drink, furniture, jewelry, clothes, etc. These laws specific which nobles were allowed to wear certain clothing, fabric, and colors. These laws included, among other things, rules that only royals could wear purple, cloth of gold, and ermine. The penalty for breaking these lawas could be fines, or loss of property, title, or even life.


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References

https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/tudor-fashion#:~:text=Rich%20men%20wore%20white%20silk,were%20fashionable%20throughout%20the%20period.

https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Tudor-Guide-To-Getting-Dressed/

https://www.periodcorsets.com/skirt-supports/drum-farthingale

https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Tudor-Stuart-Fashion/

http://www.sixwives.info/tudor-sumptuary-laws.htm#:~:text=The%20Tudor%20Sumptuary%20Laws%20became,to%20identify%20rank%20and%20privilege.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/tudor-fashion#:~:text=Sumptuary%20laws%20restricted%20the%20colours,red%2C%20gold%2C%20and%20black.

https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Tudor-Guide-To-Getting-Dressed/

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