The Tudor times are hot, Hot, HOT! With Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing Henry VIII and Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors, we can’t seem to get enough of them. And then the movie The Other Boleyn Girl and novels being written about the time period, the Tudors are all up in our faces!
This is the time period that followed the War of the Roses in England. A time of great fashion, literature, and philosophy. For a themed wedding, the Tudor period would be great for winter or fall because at this time Europe was going through a mini ice age and it was much colder then it was now or even 200 years ago. The head wear and huge dresses will keep you warm while you party like it’s 1499!!!
In this post I want to talk about head wear. The Tudors wore a lot of different hats, so much so that to cover more in one post, well, it would be a very long post indeed!
The Tudor Period covered the years 1485-1603 and in this and the next post I’m just going to talk about 1500-1550’s. The late 15th century still looked very much like Medieval times, so please see those posts if that’s what you’re after.
Also, after 1550 the fashion changed a lot. For example, hoods became less fashionable. After 1558, when Elizabeth I ascended the throne, the time became known as the Elizabethan Era, even though it was still Tudor times. You can see how time periods tend to overlap as they evolve. So, in the future I will do an Elizabethan period post. Please look for that!
Head Wear of the 1500-1550’s
During the age of the Tudors, fashion truly became something that changed at a faster pace. During the Middle Ages it seemed that most of society was too busy dying, fighting a lot of local battles and being serfs to worry about fashion! But with the re-awakening of the Renaissance, fashion became more for the everyday person (however the poor where still the poor and wore clothes made from what they could find). Like today, the most powerful people start tends – remember the Rachel Haircut? In this time period, as before, it was the Queen who set the fashion. What the Queen wore, you wore, and with Henry VIII that did change a lot! LOL
Head wear, until recently in our society, was vital for a proper woman. In Tudor times it was still expected that most women would have their hair covered, or mostly covered, at all times. If a woman went with her head uncovered it was considered improper, immodest and one could even have been considered a prostitute. And one of the most iconic head wear from this time period is the Hood.
Pictured above starting top left: early Flemish Hood c1453-1510 from Kats Hats; Katherine Parr/Katharine of Aragon C1530’s Gable Hood; Anne Boleyn in French Hood c1530’s; Elizabeth of York: this is an example of an early Gable Hood, c1500; Gable hood from Kats Hats; a wonderful bridal example of an early Flemish Hood c1453-1510 from Kats Hats; Queen Mary 1st, c1544 French Hood; Gable Hood c1520’s.
Flemish Hoods, also known as steuchein, were the first hoods of this style. As their name suggests they originated in the Flemish lands, now known as Belgium. A Flemish Hood is an off shoot of a Hennin, which I talked about in my post Medieval Women’s Apparel. This hood morphed into a more turban look with the turbans coming into fashion following the Ottoman take over of Constantinople in 1453.
*please be aware the term Flemish Hood also refers to a few different head wears, coming from Flanders.
This hood was so popular that it was worn by women from all backgrounds of society; poor and rich alike loved it! From the lowlands this look spread into the rest of Europe and began to morph into what became known as the French Hood.
The French Hood was made popular by Anne of Brittany in the 1490s and came into fashion in England when Anne Boleyn brought it to the English Court after spending time in France (around the 1520s). It does look very similar to the Flemish Hood, but without the back turban.
As pictured above, a French Hood consists of the following different parts: Coif and/or Crepine, Paste, Veil, Billaments and a Cornet aka Bongrace. In the early stages it was worn further to the top of one’s head. But as time and fashion changed it moved to the back, showing more hair and becoming more ornate.
When Henry VIII married Jane Symore the French Hood disappeared from the English scene. But once Jane died the hood came back and was worn right up until the 1560’s.
The French Hood has a few variations such as the Flat Hood (pictured below) and was worn by Queen Mary l (as in Bloody Mary!!).
Then there was the Artifit, another flat hood, which is heart shaped. Shown below from The Tudors.
The Gable Hood, which is my favourites and pictured below, was popular in England from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the century. It was first worn by Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. It was also made popular by Catharine of Aragon, the 1st wife of Henry VIII. It fell from favour when Anne Boleyn became Queen as she preferred the French Hood. With Jane Symor the Gable Hood made a come back.
Unlike the French or Flemish Hood which can sit at the back of the head, the Gable Hood is worn near the front. The early style of this was simple, a veil that had long lappets, or side panels that would reach down to the shoulders. However, as time passed it, became more of a structure with Buckram fabric (a stiff cloth made from cotton or linen, sometimes used to cover books) to make the front and a box shaped back. The veil consisted of two pieces of fabric that were sewn as tubes and hung at a 90 degree angle. The side lapels shrunk from shoulder length to above the chin by the middle of the 1500’s. By the 1560’s it has fallen out of fashion like most hoods and disappeared from the heads of fashionable ladies.
The Snood is something that has always been popular and in almost any time period. It was popular in the 1940’s, the 1890’s and in the 15th century and even further back in time (according to Wikiipedia the first time the word Snood was used in the English language was in 725. Imagine how much older the look itself must be!).
The Snood looks good and can be functional. You may recognize it as a simple hairnet worn today for hygiene in food services or worn by women in the armed forces to keep their hair in place. However, in the Tudor times it was not a workplace necessity but something that could be made quite lovely. It is just netting made from almost any fabric. It can be made with thick fabric like yarn or ribbon to finer thread. The Snood can have accessories like beads or even pearls woven into it while being made. In the Tudor times it could be worn plain or attached to the top part of a hood, with or with out the veil.
In closing, you can get a great Tudor times look with a simple headband and veil attached. Here is a link to check out. You can buy or probably even make one of these easily. These would be great for guests if you want eveyone in costume, for they can be bought pretty cheap and made even cheaper!
I hope you liked this post and found it helpful for planning a Tudor wedding. I’ll soon have a post ready all about dresses for your Tudor style wedding.
All the best,