Women’s fashion from 1550

Analysis of the clothes women used to wear in the Emperor’s time

How did women dress in the last days of Emperor Charles V’s life? Marian Riñones, president of the Association El Palenque, in Laredo, tells us some details of his clothing.

The first thing we must take into account are some general considerations that Marian Riñones, president of the Association El Palenque, of Laredo, association whose presence is common in many of the historical recreations that are held along this network of routes:

«Women’s fashion underwent a change in the mid-sixteenth century. At that time the neckline stopped being worn and the high neck with lechuguilla appeared. In addition, the narrowness of the waist is marked and the natural shape of the body is lost, using the cardboard chest. To all this we must add that the use of the verdugado is also imposed and, on top of this, the saya or body and skirt ensemble is worn. In short, the most characteristic features that were imitated by other European courts.»


It must be said that these clothes were totally hidden. «The high nobility woven them with rich fabrics such as silks and brocades, while the less privileged were content with linen or cotton,» says Marian Riñones.
Among those garments we mention the following:

– Shirt: with a low neck that, later, will have to put a cap to cover the neckline.

– V-shaped bra on the front.

– Verdugado: skirt with conical shape and rigid hoops. «It gave rigidity and flared shape to the lack, which goes under the saya.»

Semi-interior garments

These are presses that could be hidden or see your forehead. This is the case of the silk basquiña, «a flared skirt worn over the head of the headless man,» explains the president of El Palenque.


Necklines and necks

The neck lettuce was a probe similar to the leaves of a curly lettuce. «It was so tall that it forced the head to be held upright. This garment was made of canvas or fabric from Holland,» Marian Riñones continues.
As for the gorguera, it continued to be called the ensemble made up of gorguera and neck of lettuce. «In the last years of the emperor’s life, those were even taller and more rigid», she confesses.


As for the sleeves, they were very tight and stitched with shorter ones on top; and the cuffs of the dress were finished off in a jagged shape. However, other sleeves were double: «One, which was open, where the arm was pulled out, leaving the sleeve hanging from the shoulder; and another, the so-called ‘sleeve’, which covered the arm,» continued the president of El Palenque.

Garment on top

As for this garment, it is the warm clothes that were worn over the saya or the other dresses that the women wore when they went to body. «It was a garment that had to be worn when going out on the street,» explains Marian Riñones.

Meanwhile, the clothing was the most widespread item of clothing. «It was on the front, from top to bottom, with sleeves and separated from the body,» she continues.

In future deliveries, headdresses, hairstyle and shoes. Don’t miss out!

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