Nicole Kipar
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The 1660s
Restoration Costume Comes to Life

Part 2, Page 3
Gentry and Aristocracy, Women: Bodice and Skirt Combinations

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Lower Class Women and Men Gentry and Aristocracy, Women Gentry and Aristocracy, Men The Whole Look: Accessories Costume Focus: Women's Headwear & Neckwear

All of the following images open in a new window for a detailed study. All of them are details taken from paintings.
Please note that though there wasn't a distinction made in the 17th century between the different layers of skirts (they were all called petticoat), I make a distinction for clarification between over-skirt or skirt and under-skirt or petticoat.

It is obvious that the bodice and skirt combination made of different colours and sometimes even different materials is far more informal than the dress with bodice and skirt matching and meant to be worn together. Most of these bodices have the longer 3/4 sleeves and are not meant to be worn with laced or frilled chemises, another indicator that this is not the 'Sunday best' or evening or visitor wear, but the every day clothing of the well-off.

The grey silk bodice has skirts as well and is worn with a brown silk skirt. The bodice is not adorned with lace and as the 3/4 sleeves with the wider cuffs. Note the slit in the skirt, which is probably the fastening as well, worn at the side so that a pocket can be reached, which is separate and suspended from strings tied around the waist.
White silk satin bodice with an interesting treatment of the sleeves. They reminisce of paned sleeves, with the white strips arranged over a fiery red under sleeve, and not stitched down. The skirt is of a fiery orange colour and adorned with broad silver lace. The chemise has full sleeves which are gathered into a frill. Note The pearl bracelet that she is wearing.
Golden yellow skirt with a pale silver grey silk bodice which is adorned with a row of many silk ribbons. She wears a jewel on her lace bertha which is decorated with pink silk ribbons. In The 1660s one could not have enough ribbons on The clothing, The men being even worse.
She is wearing an interesting lace on her skirt which might be a kind of parchment lace. The pink bodice shows a similar lace but there is more of a shimmer on it and it might be a metal lace.
This ensemble doesn't show any laces but black braids with which skirt and bodice are decorated. This doesn't occur very often but is an interesting variation. It seems that this is more The every day clothing of a well off citizen with The gold and silver laces kept for The evening or for visits. The skirt is a shimmering silk and The bodice might be made of a glazed fine wool. Only a very narrow gold braid adorns this red bodice. It is unclear if The orange brown skirt is decorated. The sleeve of The chemise shows underneath The bodice sleeve and it does not have ay frills.
Golden bodice with narrow skirts and 3/4 sleeves with deep pleats over a fiery red skirt which is decorated with gold lace. A neckerchief is worn loosely knotted around The neckline. Pink bodice with red skirt. The bodice is decorated with narrow braid, three rows along The curved seams. The skirt has three rows too, those though of a broader lace.
This red silk bodice shows very clearly how The sleeves are tied on with ribbons. The busk of this bodice is extremely long, which might be a matter of fashion or simply because this lady has a bit of a tummy and The low busk and boned tummy panel controls The figure beautifully. The neckline is cut very low.
The maid servant is tying off The laces of The blue bodice which is worn with an ivory silk skirt with one row of broad goldlace. It might well be that The fashion of applying The lace down The centre front stems from The split skirts of earlier decades and develops later into The split skirts of The 1670s.
This brown bodice either has very long skirts or The skirt is of a dark green and lined with yellow. Note The ribbons adorning The centre front of The bodice and her posture. It is impossible in these rigidly boned bodices to sit any other but very straight. This blue bodice with narrow skirts shows The lacing which is tied into large bows in The back. Curiously she has her bodice laced from The top down to The bottom, with a yellow lace. This is interesting, because The one where The maid servant laces The lady does The same, but we have tried this method with our reconstructed bodices and it did not work as well as from The bottom up.

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Nicole Kipar 1998