Basic Entry, Female, Full Entry

1550 CE English Female Henrician Gown 2

Title1550 CE English Female Henrician Gown 2
Entry #GGB2021.094
Alternate Names 
Time range1530-1575 CE
regionWestern Europe
MakerJayme Jones
ConfidenceImage Examples


Hourglass Shaped Gown with Large Sleeves & Detachable Under Sleeves


This style of dress is an evolutionary phase within the 16th century that is influenced by Spanish and German styles.  The silhouette has an hourglass shape: the bodice narrowed to a small waistline and the skirt gradually expanding into an inverted cone shape. Many of these dresses were floor length and without a train. 

To achieve the cone shaped appearance required a supportive layer called the Spanish farthingale which was worn over the chemise. A pair of bodies was worn with the farthingale and over the chemise.  The front of the overdress would have an inverted V opening and the neckline was square with highly decorative jewels or trim on the edging.  The sleeves were narrowed at the shoulder and expanded outward (normally a wide square cuff) that was turned back on itself.  This cuff could be made of fur or brocade.  A detachable, false sleeve was worn underneath and was decorated with panes and slashes through which the chemise could be seen or pulled through.

Inspiration Images

Common Materials

  • Fabrics:
    • Linen, Cotton, Wool, Silk, Brocade, Jacquard, Satin, and Taffeta*
    • *Some of the materials refer to weave structure and would have been made from natural fibers.
  • Additional:
    • Whalebone, cane, or steel for farthingale. Leather for shoes.

Effective Substitutions

  • Fabrics:
    • Some Polyester/cotton blended brocade, jacquard, satin, and taffeta.
    • linen blends and cottons for under layers
  • Ornamentation:
    • Plastic, zip ties, and metal for boning.

Ensemble Components

  • Chemise: undermost garment that is cut full and gathered into a round or square neckline; with full, gathered sleeves and ruffled cuff.
  • Spanish Farthingale: a skirt separate or sewn to petticoat with hoops that gradient in size from the waist to floor.  Constructed with whalebone, cane, or steel hoops.
  • Pair of Bodies: corset or under bodice that has stays (boning) laced together at the front, back, or both.
  • Petticoat: an underskirt that is made with elaborate fabric which can be seen in the front opening of overdress.
  • Overdress/Bodice: narrowed, stiff, and flat with an elongated V that dips at the natural waist.
  • Overdress/Skirt: combined with the bodice; very full and gathered made of similar fabric to overdress bodice.
  • Head wear: Coif, French Hood, Square Hood
  • Shoes:  Fabric or leather square-toe.


  • Needlepoint/bobbin lace
  • Embroidery/Blackwork
  • jewels/trim
  • jeweled belt
  • brooches
  • purses suspended from belt
  • squared or feather fans.


Tortora, P. (2010). Survey of Historic Costume. New York: Fairchild Books.

Source of Period Pic
ModelJayme Jones 020213-06
PhotographerVincent De Vere

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