Internet Shakespeare Editions


Court fashions

From the Roxburghe Ballads. University of Victoria Library.

"See'st thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? How giddily 'a turns about all the hotbloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?" (Borachio, in Much Ado About Nothing 3.3.130-32).

Court fashions, in dress, in manners, and even in language, were regular targets for satire, along with the corruption the system of bribery encouraged. Osric, in Hamlet, is a perfect example the courtier as "waterfly" --gaudy, gauzy, and insignificant-- at a loss once his rehearsed words and actions are "all . . . spent" (Horatio's words; see 5.2.133).

Click here for more on costumes.

The Elizabethan costuming page provides information and further links to sites on Elizabethan fashion.