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All body parts were covered. This is the biggest different. The ruffs, doublets, and huge dresses that were put together in pieces meant there was no room for imagination when it came to looking at the opposite sex.
We value the thin in our culture. Men in Elizabethan England would actually wear a belly with some stuffing as to look fatter than they were. This was to prove that they ate well and it made them appear rich if they could feed themselves.
We also value a tan. The tan made the English of that era feel working class. So they valued a very white skin to prove they didn't work outdoors.
Colors and textures defined working class. The drab color and more course fabrics were for the lower class, whereas silks and vivacious colors were for the rich... particularly purple.
I like how we operate today. Jeans and a t-shirt can be work by any member of society and say absolutely nothing about social class, or they can say everything... it just depends on the person.
Elizabeth became the queen of England in 1559. So, we are talking about nearly 500 years ago. You can be sure that radical sartorial changes have taken place. Let me offer a few of these changes. In the time of Elizabeth, modesty, especially with women's dress was important. Remember the women's liberation movement was not present in those days, even if Elizabeth was a towering figure in English history. Second, women's dress in those days was more about form than function. Based on these two points, modern design is very different. Women today have less inhibitions from a fashion point of view, and modern design also considers greatly things like comfort. As for whether these moves are good or bad, it is hard to say. Each person will differ.
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