What influence did Queen Elizabeth's fashion choices and use of symbolism (illustrated within Elizabethan portraiture) have on dress choice across the social classes?
(2017) What influence did Queen Elizabeth's fashion choices and use of symbolism (illustrated within Elizabethan portraiture) have on dress choice across the social classes?, no. 54.
Queen Elizabeth I is one of the most documented and iconic Queens recorded in British history. Historians claim her elaborate fashion choices shaped the dress styles of her people. Her sumptuous methods of attire and use of symbolism have been well recorded by portrait artists from across Europe; which makes them the main subject of this research. This dissertation will explore the influence of Elizabeth's use of symbolism on the fashion popular amongst general society with particular focus on women. It highlights the styles that became stereotypically 'Elizabethan' and questions whether other aspects of social context had a greater effect on this recognisable fashion in comparison with the Queen's influence. The main research sources will be written books, journals, articles and the portraits. It will further focus on the laws existing at that time such as the 'Statutes of Apparel' which Elizabeth used to physically influence people's choice of dress. Through offering an analytical understanding of some of the most famous portraits, by painters including Nicholas Hilliard, this work will establish what symbolism the Queen used and the exact motives behind it. The research will use this understanding of symbolism and garments recorded in paintings to later determine what influence the Queen might have had on fashion amongst the social classes drawing comparisons with other influential factors.