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the renaissance


After the devastating Black Plague in the 15th century, European life attained normalcy through the Renaissance revitalization. The previously sagging economy drew new breath as industry, market values and labor surged with new innovations. Renaissance fashion was founded on the burgeoning textile industries of Italy, which continuously produced fine cloths and accessories. The wealthy purchased clothing made of velvet, satin and cotton, while the poor could only afford flax and wool.

The Renaissance

influence of the church

One of the most powerful determinants for Renaissance clothing and fashion was the church. Worried about the sin of vanity, the church condemned individuals who focused too much on obtaining the newest fashion trends. Societal positions became obscure, as long as an individual wore rich clothing, he easily became accepted into the upper echelons of society. Ideologists soon developed laws to prevent an individual from wearing garments above her social class. These laws dictated firm regulations on clothing style, cut and material for each individual, based on socioeconomic status.

Influence of the Church

Renaissance clothing styles differed among the sexes, respectively. Fashion for men progressed from square-like clothing to barrel-shaped styles. Padding modifications to the shoulders or chest were applied to achieve each fashion design. Generally, men wore boots, pants, a shirt, a vest and a hat. The materials and design for each component varied widely, according to the amount of wealth available. On the other hand, women\'s fashion changed every year. Styles ranged from three-piece garments to single-piece robes and then to five-piece clothing arrangements. Women preferred to braid long hair, and curls became a symbol for beauty.


Color bore great meaning in terms of fashion and material. Various colors throughout the Renaissance became attributed with different emotions and status. Green represented the color of love, which became readily adopted by courtiers and lovers. Gray became the color of sorrow, as seen during mourning and funerals. Yellow represented hostility, while blue showed fidelity. Finally, certain colors depicted one\'s social standing within society. Red colors identified members of the nobility; black and gray denoted individuals with low social status.

advances in medicine

The main advance made in medicine during the Renaissance (c. 1350–c. 1600; a European revival of classical Greek and Roman culture) was greater understanding of human anatomy (parts of the body). Because dissecting (cutting apart piece by piece to study) cadavers (dead bodies used for scientific study) was illegal during the Middle Ages (c. 450–c. 1500), the human body essentially remained a mystery until the Renaissance, when the laws against dissection were relaxed. At that time, medical researchers, such as the multitalented Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), used dissection to study the body. On the basis of his findings, Leonardo made more than 750 anatomical drawings. Another famous researcher of the period was Belgian doctor and professor Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564), who published the important textbook On the Structure ofthe Human Body (1543), which replaced the works of the Greek doctor Galen (129–c. 199).

Advances in Medicine

Read more: Interesting Facts on Renaissance Clothing | eHow.com