Exploring the Elegance of Renaissance Period Clothing

November 02, 2023 4 min read

Woman in Renaissance dress

The Renaissance period is widely known as a vibrant epoch of artistic and cultural rebirth, spanning from the 14th to the 17th century. While this period inspired great French warriors and fantastic paintings, it also profoundly influenced other aspects of life, including fashion. After all, the Renaissance era was characterized by a remarkable transformation in clothing, reflecting the evolving societal values, beauty standards and aesthetics of the time. So what made Renaissance period clothing so stylish and influential? Let’s take a look.

What was Renaissance era fashion like?

Renaissance time period clothing was a distinct departure from the medieval styles that preceded it; the era brought about a greater emphasis on individuality and self-expression through attire, and women's fashion in particular saw the most significant changes. Renaissance dresses, for instance, were explicitly designed to accentuate the figure, with cinched waists and full skirts. This reflected the beauty standards of the period, which lauded feminine features and over-the-top opulence.

This period also marked the introduction of new fabrics and richer colors, thanks to the advancements in textile production and dyeing techniques. Silks, velvets, and brocades became highly sought after, often adorned with elaborate embroidery and jewels that would be worn to reflect the wearer's status and wealth.

What made Renaissance era clothing so elegant?

To sum it up neatly, the elegance of Renaissance era clothing stemmed from its intricate designs and attention to detail, much of which has carried over through centuries and into the modern era. When you look at a Renaissance painting or a portrait of Marie Antoinette, you do get the impression that each piece of clothing during this period was a work of art, and was considered as such by those who made it. The bodices were often tightly laced, highlighting the natural curvature of the body, while the skirts draped gracefully, adding a sense of majesty and grace to the wearer's movements.

The use of luxurious fabrics, combined with the vibrant colors and rich textures, also resulted in attire that was both visually stunning and symbolically rich. And above all, these pieces weren’t designed to be laidback or casual, they were designed to be displayed, admired, and put on show for all to see.

The Influence of Renaissance Fashion In the Modern Era

A woman in a Renaissance dress posing

Today, Renaissance style clothing continues to inspire modern fashion - and not just through beautiful Renaissance faire dresses! High-end fashion designers often borrow elements from historical Renaissance clothing, integrating them into contemporary designs to create unique and timelessly elegant pieces. The resurgence of corseted bodices, puffed sleeves, and A-line skirts in today's fashion scene can be traced back to Renaissance influences; recently, Dior’s 2023 Spring/Summer show highlighted the enduring appeal of Renaissance-style clothing, with a display of elaborate, intricately designed corsets and floral bodices taking center-stage on the runway.

Cosplaying the Renaissance

So, aside from splashing out on runway fashion, how else can you explore and experiment with the great creative spoils of the 14th century? The answer is obvious: a Renaissance fair! Ren faires and festivals have become an increasingly popular way to celebrate and relive the grandeur of this historical era, with thousands of events occurring yearly in the US. Throw on (or rather, squeeze into) an elegant Renaissance dress, pop on an ornate tiara and head out for a weekend of immersive, medieval living!

The Bottom Line

It’s simple: the continued fascination with Renaissance era clothing is more than just a historical curiosity; its continued influence is a powerful testament to the enduring allure of the elegance, craftsmanship, and opulence of the era. And at Holy Clothing, we believe that this timeless elegance doesn’t need to be confined to the pages of history books, nor the runways at fashion week. We believe Renaissance clothing should be accessible, sustainable, and inclusive, which is why we offer custom-made, eco-friendly, and size-inclusive Renaissance-style dresses for all body types and all styles.


What makes Holy Clothing's Renaissance dresses unique?

Our Renaissance dresses are custom crafted with a focus on sustainable practices, size inclusivity, and authentic design elements. We use eco-friendly materials and employ skilled artisans who bring the intricate details of Renaissance era clothing to life in each piece. Plus, as each piece is custom made, there’s no unnecessary overproduction or waste.

Can these dresses be worn outside of Renaissance festivals?

Absolutely! While our dresses are perfect for Renaissance fairs, their timeless elegance and comfort make them suitable for various occasions, whether it be themed weddings, costume parties, or even as a unique addition to your everyday wardrobe.

How do I choose the right size and fit?

Our dresses are designed to accommodate a wide range of body types, ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit for everyone. We offer a comprehensive sizing guide on our website, so all you need to do is take your body measurements and match them up to the size closest to those we offer. We’d recommend going a size up if you’re between sizes.