From an impressive and glowing past of the United Kingdom, it is very hard to cover all of the clothing aspects of this great nation. However, we’ll make our utmost efforts in this article to bring before you the charming features of traditional dress of England. We’ll talk in some other articles about traditional outfits from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
It is believed that England was inhabited by the humans hundreds of thousands years ago, however when it comes to the settlement of modern humans, they started living in this region almost 6,000 years ago.
First prominent cultural beginning in England was started in the period of Anglo-Saxons and then there is unlimited series of heritage development in different eras of history that ultimately lead England to become the strongest cultural bearer of the lovely planet. The English heritage is fully diverse in nature having awesome colors and distinctiveness. The country has tremendous standards in every form of arts, literature, theatre, music, architecture, folklore and knowledge. English government strongly supervises the administration of the country’s heritage and culture.
Present day’s England is a country of having the population of more than 50 million people. England is a favorite place for the settlers coming from all around the globe, especially from the Indian sub-continent, the Caribbean and the Chinese territories.
England is a multi-ethnic country and English clothing is a collection of plentiful influences from different cultures and civilizations. Modern English people mostly wear similar clothes as the other western people use like jeans, T-shirts and formal suiting. You’ll also find typical ethnic clothing markets for people having different origins.
Traditional dress of England is an outcome of the local and north European clothing repercussions. The dress represents the ancient living style when English people normally used to live in forests, hills and near sea.
The most common material used was wool ranging in texture and quality based on the type of sheep it came from. Linen and hemp were also the other fabrics used and were utilized often in the lower class and as undergarments and head coverings. Silk was also popular material used by the wealthy and was mostly imported from Asia. Leather was used to produce items such as shoes, belts, gloves and armor.
You’ll see the prominence of red and white colors in the traditional outfits of England and the dresses were normally made with the woolen fabrics. Male traditional dress of England was accompanied with conventional weapons like swords and knives as the expression of freedom and chivalry.
There was a fashion for English men to wear longer stockings sometimes having mid thigh length and the stockings and girdle were tied together at a point in the top front of the stocking by which to keep it in place. Men continued to wear both short and long tunics with a girdle for a long period. All classes of men used to wear shoes or boots. Shorter boots, with pointed toes, were also worn and those ended just above the ankle. Gloves continued to be worn by the nobility and could be long, stretching to the elbow, or short, wrist length with decorations.
Traditional dress for English women was a deep and normally red over costume normally made with woolen fabric. This dress which also dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period was usually adorned with embroidery works and knife and was mainly consisted of long swifts. The embroidery was practiced with heavy woolen threads. No particular type of footwear was in use of the then English women; however safety, comfort and easiness were the important parameters for shoe-makers.
Trousers were normally made with blue-linen and light designs. The basic garments for women consisted of the smock, hose, kirtle, gown, surcoat, girdle, cape, hood, and bonnet. Other common features included lighter-fittings, lower necklines with more curvaceous silhouettes; “tight lacing was used on women’s clothes to create a form fitting shape which, girdled at the hips, created a long-waist appearance.
Bonnets or headgears played pivotal role in the traditional clothing of England. In the mid-17th and 18th century “house bonnets” worn by women and girls were generally brimless head coverings which were secured by tying under the chin, and which covered no part of the forehead. Bonnets remained one of the most common types of headgear worn by women throughout most of the 19th century. For a widow, a bonnet was de rigueur. Silk bonnets, elaborately pleated and ruched, were worn outdoors, or in public places like shops, galleries, churches, and during visits to acquaintances.
Coifs date from the 13th century, but fell out of popularity with men in the 14th century. Coifs were worn by all classes in England from the Middle Ages to the early seventeenth century. Coif was actually a close fitting cap covering the top, back, and sides of the head.
During the sixteenth century a tall-crowned, narrow-brimmed, slightly conical hat known as a capotain or capatain became very popular in England. It was usually in black color. The capotain is especially associated with Puritan costume in England in the years leading up to the English Civil War and during the years of the Commonwealth.
Traditional dress of England is a part of royal or folk festivities these days. Morris dancers wear their traditional costumes normally consisting of white shirt, white trousers (pants), black shoes, a boater-type hat and usually coloured sashes like those worn in beauty contests. The hat is usually bedecked with flowers and the ankles with bells that jingle as the dancer moves.
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