I firmly believe that if you want to understanding the clothing people wore in a particular time and place, then you have to understand the cultural milieu in which that clothing was worn. For the past year or so I’ve been spending a lot of time reading up on the material culture of the Low Countries and Western Europe in general at the turn of the 16th century, I’ve also been delving into the politics and dynasticism of the rulers of the Low Countries at this time – the Hapsburgs.
Recently one of my favourite YouTube channels, Crash Course, released a 10 min video covering the reign of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, on the nature of his empire, his rule and some of the troubles he had in governing such a large territory. As with all Crash Course videos I highly recommend it.
Finally, a costuming related question: check out the painting at 5:46 and help me identify it, as I’m intrigued by the hairstyle of the woman in the foreground. Is it an actual painting from the time, or a Victorian romantic nostalgia piece?