Trivia time for all you fashion extraordinaires! What do you call a tight fitting men’s jacket, shaped and fitted to the body, which was worn in Western Europe from the Middle Ages to the mid-17th century. Still thinking? Here are a few more hints. This hip length or waist length article of clothing was often worn over a shirt or drawers and was sometimes worn under another layer of clothing, such as an overtunic or mantle, until the end of the 15th century. The name of this garment may also be associated with being a formal jacket of highland dress. If you have figured out the answer, congratulations! For those of you that may still be in quandary, the apparel in question here is none other than the doublet, which has survived many a century.
Men’s 15th Century Doublet:
Originally designed with a more quilted and stitched lining, the doublet was sported under a curass or hauberk to avoid chafing and bruising. It was opened in a deep V at the waistline while the edges remained free or laced across the shirt front. By the 1520s, the style changed with the edges of the doublet meeting at the center front. Over the centuries, the clothing’s form took on many variations, but its purpose remained consistent in giving shape, padding, and warmth to the body.
The doublet emerged from the padded garments worn under armor, such as the gambeson and aketon, and began as hip length or shorter garments in the 14th and 15th centuries. They were worn over the shirt and hose accompanied by an overgown of sorts. 14th century styles were fitted to give the appearance of an egg shape or pigeon-breasted silhouette, but in due time, the form became more of a flat and natural fit. Moving into the 16th century, close fitting doublets stayed in fashion during the Tudor period, but began to feature long skirts and decorative elements such as applied braid and embroidery.
The Elizabethan period brought about doublets that were padded over the belly and sleeve attachments at the shoulders disguised by decorative wings, tabs, and piccadills covering the waist of the hose or breeches. In time, padding dropped as a trend and doublets became closer fitting with a deep V at the waistline.
Royal Court Doublet:
The 17th century ushered in short waisted doublets with full and slashed sleeves to reveal the shirt beneath. From this style came a full and slashed style just below the elbow. To secure the breeches in place, fancy ribbon was inserted and tied into a bow at the waistline. This was basically the last appearance of the doublet as fashionable attire because Louis XIV of France and Charles II of England created a court costume for men in the mid-17th century.
While the doublet has not necessarily made a comeback in mainstream society, they continue to serve as excellent costume pieces that bring us back to the days of yore. For a full glance at our collection of doublets, hop on over to: http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/