Skip main navigation

Clothes in context: The early Stuarts

In many ways the early Stuarts continued patterns set by their Tudor predecessors: using clothing to demonstrate power and wealth.
7.6
SALLY (VOICEOVER): In many ways, the Stuarts continued patterns set by their Tudor predecessors, using clothing to demonstrate power and wealth, and even continuing some of the Tudor styles into the 17th century. But the early Stuarts also used fashion in a slightly different way, one that was perhaps more understated when compared with the Tudors, but arguably just as confident. The masque costumes emphasised royal power and privilege, and exploring Charles I’s clothing choices has shown us a more serious side to royal fashion. In the following steps, we will see how fashion became a tool to help the monarchy reestablish itself after regicide and in an era of Commonwealth.

In many ways the early Stuarts continued patterns set by their Tudor predecessors: using clothing to demonstrate power and wealth, and even continuing some of the Tudor styles into the 17th century.

But the early Stuarts also used fashion in a slightly different way; one that was perhaps more understated when compared with the Tudors, but arguably just as confident.

This video shows what fashionable outfits of the 1640s might have looked like when worn in Banqueting House, the site of early Stuart entertainments and the site of Charles I’s execution.

This article is from the free online

A History of Royal Fashion

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education