The Tudor dynasty fascinates me. I could spend hours reading about their history, their customs and their raunchy relationships. Even though the intimate dynamics of Henry VIII and his wives intrigues me deeply, I am possibly even more fascinated by their clothing. Medieval styling is so decadent, so luscious, with it’s heavy fabrics and rich colours. The sweeping skirts and tight corsets are perfect for dressing up on days when you need to inject a little fantasy into the humdrum of your everyday life. Winter is an excellent time for experimenting with Tudor-inspired outfits, because these looks typically call for thick fabrics and heavy layers.
Although it might not be practical to dress in full medieval regalia everyday, there are many small twists that you can make to your regular wardrobe to add a little Tudor flavor.
Stick to thick, heavy fabrics, such as velvet, damask or velour. Choose fabrics that feel luxurious to touch.
Try on a long, sweeping skirt. Choose one with a train or fishtail that swishes behind you as you walk. On top, add a corset, or a jacket with corset lacings or big buttons down the front. Select a top with a wide neckline that shows off your décolletage to dramatic effect. Keep a lookout for tops with elaborate sleeves. Scalloped edges, billows and pointed cuffs are perfect.
Cover up with a flowing cape that fastens over your shoulders. Alternatively, you could go for a heavy, decadent frock-coat to keep out the chills.
Shoes should be relatively flat (although it can be really fun to add a pair of spiky stiletto boots to one of these looks). Try a pair of flat slippers made from silk or velvet. Tall, heavy leather boots with metal detailing, corset lacings or buttons are also a great way to finish off a medieval-style outfit.
If you aren’t one to try flowing, feminine styles, why not try your hand at medieval cross-dressing? Pull on a pair of harem pants or knickerbockers and tuck them into a pair of tall boots. Wear a flouncy blouse with a waistcoat buttoned over the top. You’ll be looking like a lad in no time.
When dressing in Tudor style, you can go absolutely nuts with your jewellery. Select pieces with large, rough-cut stones and heavy settings. Rings, brooches and necklaces all add a medieval touch to a more modern outfit. Roses, fleur du lis, dragons, crests, horses, swords and wreathes are all good motifs for jewellery.
In Tudor times, women paid a great deal of attention to the way they wore their hair. The hair was naturally styled, usually in curls or waves. Hair was typically quite long, and was usually tied up in the front and left loose in the back. Sometimes, the hair was pinned up in elaborate styles for special occasions. The best way to achieve this look is to loosely style hair that is freshly washed and air-dried. Braids were often used in medieval hairstyles, so weave a couple of tiny braids through your hair or sweep your entire mane into one long plait down your back. Hair adornments are a must with this style. You could pin an elaborate ornament into your mane, or use a pearl necklace or a sweet pendant as a headband. Flowers (real or silk) and garlands also make wonderful hair accessories with this look.
When dressing in this style, it’s important to keep your makeup simple and elegant. A light base of tinted moisturizer, a lip and cheek stain and a little mascara is all that you are likely to need.