A blog about styling, patterning and making stays and corsets for modern, historical and fantasy looks.

Renaissance Faire outfit inspiration from an unpleasant source

If you are constructing an outfit for a Renaissance Faire or other 16th-century event such as an SCA Event and want to have some inspiration based on what people were actually doing in the 1580’s one fantastic source is Philip Stubbs book “The Anatomie of Abuses

Philip Stubbs (c. 1555 – c. 1610) was a preacher and writer in Elizabethan England. He was a Puritan because he seemed to be desperately worried that someone might have been having a good time somewhere. There is no known picture of Stubbs but if you picture him as a 1970s tv evangelist, perhaps in more boring clothing you might be at least close to the spirit of the thing.

Thankfully for us who like to make historical costumes, he took all the things he did not approve of and wrote them down in a book which you can still read for free at the internet archive. While I would not have wanted Stubbs at my house or camp his book is very useful, as one can assume that the things that he is complaining about are things that the people around him were really doing.
I should also mention that he tends to use a lot of derogatory terms for women, and assumes that all women who don't meet his standards are harlots or the like. It should go without saying that no one meets his standards.

It should also be noted that his language is a bit hard to read at first as it was written in about 1580.

While his descriptions go on for many pages about both men's and women's clothing here is an example where he talks about women wearing a man's style doublet from page 75.

Elizabethan England was also a time when women often wore a great deal of makeup. It should shock no one that he does not approve and goes on for several pages about it. In fact, he rants about women wearing makeup for several pages interspersed with appeals to heaven to say how awful it is. He also disapproves of most hairstyles and earrings.

Stubbs also talks about menswear, for example, he seems to be very upset about a trend of wearing hats without hatbands, and other sins in the category of hats for both Men and Women.

I fully expect that Stubbs would have fully disapproved of both the SCA and Renaissance Faires, and I for one am ok with that! I invite you to join me in doing all the things that he would have fully disapproved of!