Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Elizabethan Coats & Jerkins

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Clothing and Fashion - Elizabethan Coats & Jerkins
During the Elizabethan era jerkins and coats were worn as outer garments. They came with buttons down the front, or down the side but some were worn open. They were also available in sleeveless designs. A common piece of clothing for the lower classes who often wore them made of leather so affording protection against inclement weather.

The Upper classes also wore them in heavy velvet with pleating down the back of the garment. A short loose outer coat was called a Mandilion.

Elizabethan Coats & Jerkins - a comment dating back to 1583.
During the Elizabethan era pamphlets were printed and distributed commenting on life in Elizabethan England. A writer of one such pamphlet was a well travelled Londoner called Philip Stubbes. He was believed to have been born c1555 and died c1610. He was well educated and attended both Oxford and Cambridge University. He was also a strict Elizabethan Puritan and held firm views on any social practices which, in his view were, unfitting  true Christians. He named his work " The Anatomie of Abuses " in which he strongly criticised many of the fashions and clothing worn during the Elizabethan era. It was entered in the Stationers' Register on 1 March 1583. This pamphlet includes his view and some valuable information about Elizabethan Coats & Jerkins.

"Their coates and Jerkins, as they be diverse in colors, so be they diverse in fashions; for some be made with colors, some without, some close to the bodie, some loose, covering the whole body downe to the theighe, like baggs or sacks that weare drawen over them, hidinge the dimensions and proportions of the body: some are buttened down the brest, some under the arm, and some downe the back; some with flappes over the brest, some without, some with great sleeves, some with small, and some with non at all; some pleated and crested behind, and curiously gathered; some not so; & how many days so many sortes of apparell some one man will have, and thinketh it good provision in faire weather to lay up against a storme."

Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Coats and Jerkins
Some interesting facts and confirmation of information about Elizabethan coats and jerkins can be obtained from the words of Philip Stubbes. A first hand impression of the fashions of the Elizabethan era are invaluable - but the Elizabethan style of writing can be hard going. The following information has therefore been taken from the points he made on Elizabethan coats and jerkins:

  • Coats and jerkins came in a variety of different colors
  • Coats and jerkins came in a variety of different styles - tight fitting, loose, long and short
  • Some buttoned down the front, others down the side
  • Some coats and jerkins had flaps across the breast
  • A variety of sleeves and some with no sleeves
  • Some gathered and others tight fitting.
Elizabethan Clothing
Elizabethan Era Index

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