Guide to Renaissance Swag, Men’s Edition:

Rebirth of the Puffy Shirt

What a gentleman thou art – draped in the finest silk that one might wish

Your camicia divine, sleeves puffed heartily like a noble blowfish!

At the incoming of the 15th century, Fashion rose from the ashes of the Middle Ages, taking flight like a Phoenix at the birth of the Renaissance Age. Things immediately got fancy and not just for the ladies… So men, you’ll have to step it up like a rock star if you’re going to win the delicate favors from the hands of those noble women at the Ren Faire.

For you fellas whose daily wardrobe amounts to boxer shorts, if we’re lucky, Renaissance dress will take a little getting used to. Noblemen’s outfits consisted of several essential pieces – for now, we’ll just tackle the first:

The Camicia

Basically, a high-falutin’ Renaissance word for the shirt. This garment was made to be loose, with an open neck. Upper class men donned camicias made of silk or fine linens. In the 15th century, camicias were usually plain, but by the 16th century, they were getting jazzed up with cuffs, Spanish-style embroidery, and even ruffles.

Nobles Renaissance Shirt

The Nobles Renaissance Shirt – Go Ruffles!

Half Cape Medieval Shirt

The Half Cape Medieval Shirt – Ruffled Design

Another shirt-related trend was called “slashing and puffing.” This consisted of cutting slits into a garment so that the fabric of the garment underneath was visible, creating a contrasting color scheme. This technique was often used by the lower classes who were forbidden by law to wear garments that consisted of more than one color! The camicia was usually the article that puffed through the slits to produce that two-toned effect.

Cavalier Shirt

Cavalier Shirt

Remember also that using bold colors was a sign of high social status, so men of this time wouldn’t shy away from a vibrant hue or two!

A simple shirt was ne’er enough for the Renaissance nobles

Return soon to uncover the next lay’r of regal clothing!

Visit Historical Clothing Realm for more Renaissance Clothing!

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