Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nothing Up My Sleeve

Yes, they could afford sleeves.  Nevertheless, around 1520, the sleeveless, fur-trimmed gown of sable, ermine, or miniver, worn with a gold chain, was de rigueur.

Why? Because during the Renaissance, sleeves themselves became an important fashion focus, too glamorous to be kept under wraps.  Men and women both wore gowns with plain sleeves that they covered with detachable, elaborate dress sleeves - pleated, sewn like wings to shoulders, adorned with slashes and/or studded with jewels.

 Portrait of a young girl, 1540's - Venice, Italy

 Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon

Favorite styles were the finistrella, two or three panels attached at intervals, to let puffs of the underchemise show through. 

The wicked virago, a full, bloused sleeve reined in at various points with bands. 

Or the lavish puff of every conceivable size and design. 

Eleonora Gonzaga, 1538

One dress and a dozen sleeves could make any number of different outfits.

Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger


  1. lovely post! i really like the sleeves in the second picture.

    1. Carrie - I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. Great post, Jen! I love looking at all of the pictures =)