Essential Renaissance clothing for men was fashionable and it represented a new age in human history. The word Renaissance came from the word “renascrere,” which means to be reborn. The period began in 1450 CE in Italy and ended in approximately 1600 CE, but its style can still be seen in the fashion industry today.
- Camicia. The camicia or shirt was worn as an undergarment made of silk or soft linens. This was essential to renaissance clothing and was hardly ever worn alone. The camicia was typically plain until after the 16th century where it took on a more decorative style with Spanish embroidery.
- Doublet. The doublet was worn over the camicia and it was a tight fitting jacket that was worn with or without sleeves. Later, a more elegant look emerged for the doublet and it was worn away from the neck and less fitting for a more stylish look.
- Jacket. The jacket started out being worn by the common man, which was worn over the shoulders and chest and was belted at the waist. Some jackets had puffy shoulders and attached sleeves that were mainly for decoration.
- Robe. The robe served as an extra layer of clothing worn by political officials and lawyers and this was an essential piece of Renaissance clothing for men at the time. It served as a ceremonial robe and was not intended to keep the cold out. Therefore, fur jackets were worn over the robe to stave off cold weather.
- Footwear. Footwear was an essential piece of Renaissance clothing for men at the time and shoes were pointed, long and typically used only indoors. Clogs made of leather with wooden soles were used for combating outdoor weather and towards the end of the period, these shoes became more comfortable and resembled slippers.
- Hats. Hats were essential to Renaissance clothing and completed a man’s outfit. Eventually, hats turned into berets with brims and were made from cloth, beaver, felt or velvet.
- Hose. Hose were originally worn by laborers, but quickly spread to other classes of the Renaissance period. They were tied to the doublet and sewed together at the crotch and very tight fitting. These proved not to be the most comfortable piece of Renaissance men’s clothing, as they were almost to the point of cutting off circulation.
- Kilts. The Scottish kilt was also an essential piece of men’s Renaissance clothing. It was short, pleated and came in many styles of plaid and colors. They were tied around the waist and made of wool or other durable fabric.
- Vest. The sleeveless vest is traditional in Renaissance men’s clothing and the look was even sported by some shipboard ladies. They were worn with a variety of period shirts and came in long or short versions. The vest could be worn with a kilt or pants and was very fashionable at the time.
- Accessories. Belts, small purses and daggers were also an essential piece of clothing worn by men during this period. Belts and small purses were made of leather and served a purpose during this era. They also wore rings on their first and second fingers and carried walking sticks.
Essential Renaissance clothing for men can be found online at vintage clothing sites and costume stores. There are many pieces to choose from and they mimic the time and styles of the Renaissance period. Looking at men’s fashion today, it’s easy to see how men’s clothing has evolved to a more relaxed and comfortable fitting style.