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Children's Fashion in the Renaissance

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What Did Children of the Renaissance Wear?

The childrens'clothing of the Renaissance time period might be different than you think. A common idea people have about childrens' clothing in the Renaissance is that the children wore replicas of their parents clothing only in much smaller sizes. The fact of the matter is that, that common idea is true to a certain extent. Childrens' clothing did look similar to the adult clothing, although, much like the childrens' clothing of today the clothes were much simplier and made of stronger material. The thought behind making the childrens' clothing stronger and simplier is this: children don't stay the same size forever. So why not make the clothes simplier and save some money,especially if in a year or two they would just have to buy new clothes anyway. Also children from the Renaissance weren't much different from today, they loved to run around and get their clothes worn out and dirty. The parents of the generation must have figured out the kids' secret and started making the clothes out of a stronger material to prevent the wearing out of material in such short amounts of time.

What Did The Clothes Mean?

You may ask yourself, What is the biggest difference between the clothing the children wore during the Renaissance and the clothing in which children wear today? The answer is simple: the meaning. During the Renaissance it was very important that your children dressed correctly. If a child was dressed well the child's family was considered dignified and was well-respected among others. However, if a child dressed inappropriately, the child and the family was thought to be poverty-stricken and poor. No pressure kids! An average outfit of a girl from the lower-class consisted of a long-sleeved kirtle worn with ample skirts and a rectangular apron and a headdress. The headdresses varied from linen coifs and veils to flatcaps. An upper-class girl might wear a gown with a deep "V" that extends down to the base of her abdomen. It might be laced across the front over a stomacher or kirtle of black. Her headdress might only cover the top of her head, allowing her hair to fall freely down her back.

Girls vs. Boys

The girls of the renaissance were always heavily dressed. They wore a long, white garment resembling a nightdress (a chemise), stockings, a leather corset, waist-petticoats, a bodice, and a gown over it. Girls and women would always cover their hair, usually with a scarf or a hat. The boys usually tried to dress to resemble their father. They would wear shirts and a fitted jacked called a "doublet". They wore close fitting hoses (similar to tights), which were tied by lace, and breeches over all of their other layers. Girls and boys would wear cloaks when it was cold. It is often said that when parents weren't looking children would take off some layers of their clothes, making it easier for them to play and move around.Children for the most part however, wore all of their layers on a regular basis.