Definition and Description of the Doublet
Description and Definition of the doublet: The doublet was a tight-fitting buttoned jacket that was worn during medieval and Tudor times. It was originally a quilted lining, a"doubling" stuffed with cotton, which was worn under a hauberk to prevent bruising (A hauberk was a knee-length shirt made of chainmail).
Types of Doublet
The style of the doublet was designed for the emphasis to be on the shoulders and hips. Doublets were fastened at the front. The sleeves were a separate item and were often worn in different colors, materials and patterns. Sleeve attachments at the shoulder were disguised by decorative wings. The length of the doublet changed with the fashion of the day from waist length to mid thigh length. The doublet had a wide variety of styles including the heavily padded, Peascod doublet. Short, skirt-like, additions were added, called the Peplum doublet which covered the waist of the hose or breeches. The trim on doublets were designed and positioned to enhance the geometric, triangular, shape of broad shoulders and a slim waist.
Tudor Geometric Doublet
The Upper Class fashions worn by the nobility during the Tudor era were influenced by geometric shapes rather than the natural shape of the body. To achieve these shapes padding (bombast) and quilting, together with the use of whalebone or buckram for stiffening purposes, were used to gain the geometric shape of the doublet. Men would sometimes wear girdles, the equivalent of the female corset, to obtain the wasp-waisted look. The Tudor doublet was extremely uncomfortable and hot to wear. Doublets were for formal occasions and courtly attire. More comfortable loose garments, similar to housecoats, were worn when the nobility were not on show.
The Doublet was also worn by women
Doublets were first worn by men and then this fashion was occasionally emulated by women, with a few minor alterations. The women's doublet was often designed to be left open from the bustline up. The style of the women's doublet were tight and emphasised the waist.
Materials and Fabrics used to make the Doublet
The materials and fabrics that were used to make the doublet for royalty and the nobility were very expensive and included silk, satin, velvet, taffeta, and sarcenet (Sarcenet was a delicate silk fabric). Many of these sumptuous materials and the dyes to produce their rich colors were imported from the continent which made them so expensive. The fabrics were further embellished with fine needlework and embroidery and decorated with jewels, spangles and pearls. Grograine ( A costly, fine ribbed material), Chamlet ( A costly, fine woollen cloth), Cloth of silver, silk, or cloth which was mixed or embroidered with gold were often worn. Tinselled satin was also used which was a fabric that had a metallic sheen but was less expensive than gold or silver.
The Tudor Fashion of the Slashed Doublet
The limitations of Tudor dress and clothing due to the strict Sumptuary Laws led to a new fashion being created in relation to the doublet. Both men and women began to slash, or cut, their clothes. The slash or cut was made on the outer surfaces of clothes exposing the contrasting color of the linings beneath. The linings would be pulled through the slash in the doublet and puffed out to further emphasize the contrast of colors, fabrics and materials. An alternative to the 'slashed' garment was to 'pink' the material. Pinking was cutting a specific shape, commonly a diamond shape, from the garment to allow the fabric beneath to be pulled through - a more delicate form of slashing a doublet.
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