Men's Renaissance Clothing in the 1500s


In the 16th century during the European Renaissance, men of all classes often wore multiple layers of clothing made of natural materials that were hand-sewn and usually fastened with tied strings or chains rather than buttons. The exact style of the clothing depended on the class of the person. Tunics, leggings and cloaks were among the most common articles.

Peasant Clothing

  • The first layer was primarily a long-sleeved, form-fitting undershirt. This was covered by a doublet -- a lightweight vest-like shirt that tied together in the front. The pants or leggings were made up of two individual legs tied together at the waist and then tied to the doublet to keep them up. The opening in the front was covered by tying a codpiece across the opening. The shoes were also made of cloth and tied up at the top over the cuffs of the leggings. A jerkin jacket, which was usually knee-length and had "mutton sleeves" that were crimped at the cuffs. was frequently worn over everything else.


  • The clothing of noblemen was often baggier than that of peasants. The undershirt, while often still white, was much looser, especially in the sleeves, which were pleated at the cuffs if they didn't include buttons. The outer tunic had a sleeveless vest-like look to it with the front end tied or buttoned in many more spots to give it a more enclosed look. This tunic could also extend over the shoulders and be trimmed in a secondary color like gold. The leggings were also looser, with both legs completely tied together at the front without the need of a codpiece. These leggings were tucked into stockings that were worn underneath leather boots or shoes.


  • Royalty often had several layers of clothing. The layers were often similar in pieces to others, including doublets, jerkins and leggings, but these clothing articles were often made of wool and decorated with jewels or other more expensive accessories. A cloak was often included, with the top corners linked with a chain. The shoes, usually made of leather, were often designed with extra accessories, such as squared toes. If the king was not wearing a crown, he would instead often wear a large beret with large feathers coming out the top.


  • Full armor was rarely worn in battle because its weight severely impeded mobility. Combat armor primarily consisted of a chain mail vest and a helmet that would have guarded the crown of the head and nose but still allowed for full vision at all times. Full plate armor with a fully enclosed helmet was only used for ceremonial purposes as well as decoration.

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