The 17th century saw a multitude of fashions and this post and the next one, will try to find a few key ones. Fashion in the previous centuries had been clearly confined to geographical regions. 16th century Venetian, English and german fashion, for example, were quite different, even if they were all fashionable at the same time. The invention oft he printing press, however, didn't just enable literaure to spread wider and faster, but also fashion prints. Regional fashion was still evident in the 17th century, the Spansih fashion probably the most well-known, but fashion trends travelled much faster through Europe. Trends still hung around for decades, though and different fashions could be worn at the same time, especially in the first half of the century.
The late 16th century fashion with a long bodice, wheel farthingales and over the top decorations still held strong in the early 17th century. It changed slightly, the deep necklines became oval instead of square and the farthingale tipped forward in the front. Though it became obsolete as everyday fashion, it was still in use as court wear, especially in England, where queen Anne insisted on it until her death in 1619.
|Elizabeth of England by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, 1612|
With such a cumbersome formal attire, a more wearable combination of a waaitcoat and petticoat, with or without a loose gown, were wron at home or less formal occasion. In England it seems to have been hugely popular with embroidered linen clothes, but as far as I know that was a specific Brittish fashion, as was the trend of being painted in such informal wear.. All over Europe knitted waistcoats were worn, though.
|Detail of a painting of Dorothy Carr by William larkin, 1614-1618|
|Margherita Gonzaga, Duchess of Lorraine by Frans Pourbus the Younger, 1604-1605|
|Unknown lady by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, 1618|
|Lady Anne Ruhout by Marcus Gheeraerts the younger, 1631|
This kind of gown had it's heyday in the 1630's, but the one Henrietta Maria of England worn on a multitude of portraits kept it's popularity throughout the 1640's as well. It had a bodice that looked more like a jacket, worn open in front over a stomacher. Large ruffs and collars were worn well into the 1640's, but falling bands and plain collars became more and more popular in the 1630's and was always worn with this type of gown.
|Hnerietta Maria, Queen of England by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1632-1635|
|Unknown woman by Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen the Elder, 1648|
The Spanish, as usual, were doing their own thing.
|Maria of Austria, Queen of Hungary by Frans Luyucks, 1635|