The Tudor Ruff
The Tudor Ruff
The dynasty of the Tudors include Kings and Queens such as King Henry VIII and his daughters who are immediately recognised for their fabulous clothes including the fashion of the Tudor Ruffs. The fashion of frilled collars became extremely elaborate developing into the famous ruff, which was worn by both men and women.
Definition and Description of the Tudor Ruff
Description and Definition of the Tudor ruffs: The Tudor ruff was a circular collar in the form of a starched and crimped or pleated frill which covered the neck chin, breast and shoulders of women and covered the neck and shoulders of men. Ruffs were pinned up to the ears or lay over the shoulder.
Materials used to make the Tudor Ruff
The materials used to make the most expensive ruff was the finest lace but different kinds of linen were also used to create ruffs:
- Holland - Expensive, very fine linen
- Lawne - Another type of expensive, fine linen
- Camerick - Expensive, very fine linen
The Tudor ruff which was worn by rich people were decorated with lace, gold and silver thread and fine silk. The ruffs belonging to rich women sparkled with decorations of the sun, moon and the stars.
Changing fashion and design of the Tudor Ruff
The ruffs changed in style and design and was a highly elaborate fashion accessory. The ruff first came into fashion in the 1560's when it measured about three inches wide and two inches deep. There were different names for this fashion accessory including the cartwheel ruff and the fan-shaped ruff. The style of ruff designed for men were generally higher in back than in front and followed the line of the jaw, framing the face. This style is illustrated in the picture of Sir Walter Raleigh:
Fashion of the Ruff
The Ruff started as a high frilled collar. Tudor Fashion then dictated a more feminine and seductive image for women which was achieved by opening the ruffle in front of the dress to expose the neck and the top of the breasts. The ruff became bigger and more exaggerated and was constructed on gauze wings which were raised at the back of the head as shown in the above picture of Queen Elizabeth I. The Ruff framed the face and dictated the hairstyles of the age which were generally short for men and a swept up look was created for women. Tudor Ruffs were pinned into place and often attached to partlets - a partlet was a high necked chemise designed to cover a low necked dress. The pleat or flute of the ruff was called a Purl and these were sometimes edged with fine lace. A Ruff was sometimes added to the cuffs of sleeves of clothes. Laces or strings, called Band Strings, were attached to the opening of the Tudor ruff which were tied together to secure the ruff or band around the neck.
Interesting Facts and Information about the Ruff
Maintaining the pristine appearance of the ruff was hard work. Starch was used to maintain the ruff and the fashion required the use of supports and underprops to keep the ruff in place especially when it became elaborate and higher. Hundreds of pins were used to create the elaborate design of the ruff. Pins were an essential part of Tudor fashion and were used in great quantities on ruffs which lead to a lucrative pin making industry.
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