How Fashionable Dutch Women (Like the Girl with a Pearl Earring) Got Dressed in 1665

Remem­ber how it felt to be bun­dled into tights, socks, jeans, a thick sweater, a snow­suit, mit­tens, only to real­ize that you real­ly need­ed to pee?

Back in 1665, the Lit­tle Ice Age com­pelled the well-to-do ladies of Delft to turn them­selves out with a sim­i­lar eye toward keep­ing warm, but their ensem­bles had a dis­tinct advan­tage over the Christ­mas Sto­ry snow­suit approach.

Reliev­ing them­selves was as easy as hik­ing their skirts, pet­ti­coats, and volu­mi­nous, lace-trimmed chemise. No flies for freez­ing fin­gers to fum­ble with. In fact, no draw­ers at all.

His­tor­i­cal cos­tumer Pauline Loven, a cre­ator of the Get­ting Dressed In… series, builds this elite out­fit from the inner­most lay­er out, above, not­ing that cloth­ing was an avenue for well-to-do cit­i­zens to flaunt their wealth:

  • A long, full, Linen or silk chemise trimmed with lace at the cuff
  • A waist-tied hip pad to bol­ster sev­er­al lay­ers of cozy, lined pet­ti­coats
  • An ele­gant silk gown com­prised of sev­er­al com­po­nents:
    • A flat front­ed skirt tucked into pleats at the sides and back
    • A laced up bodice stiff­ened with whale bone stays
    • Detach­able sleeves
    • A stom­ach­er for front-laced bodices
  • A loose fit­ting, fur-trimmed vel­vet or silk jack­et
  • Silk or woolen thigh-high stock­ings gartered below the knee (cre­at­ed for the episode by her­itage edu­ca­tor, and knitwear design­er Sal­ly Point­er)
  • A linen or silk ker­chief pinned or tied at the breast
  • Square-toed leather shoes with a curved heel (cre­at­ed for the episode by Kevin Gar­lick, who spe­cial­izes in hand­made shoes for re-enac­tors.)

Fash­ion­able acces­sories might include a foot warm­ing, char­coal pow­ered voeten stoof and under­stat­ed jew­el­ry, like the pearls Johannes Ver­meer paint­ed to such lumi­nous effect.

If that doesn’t tip you off to the direc­tion this his­toric recre­ation is head­ed, allow us to note that the atten­dant, who’s far from the focus of this episode, is garbed so as to sug­gest The Milk­maid by a cer­tain Dutch Baroque Peri­od painter who spe­cial­ized in domes­tic inte­ri­or scenes…and whose ini­tials are J.V.

The fin­ish­ing touch is a tur­ban of yel­low silk taffe­ta and blue silk dupi­on, an exot­ic ele­ment that may pro­duce a sense of deja vu in art lovers … and any­one who rel­ish­es a good art-based recre­ation chal­lenge.

View more of Pauline Loven’s work and Get­ting Dressed In… episodes focused on oth­er peri­ods at Crow’s Eye Pro­duc­tions’ YouTube chan­nel.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Women Got Dressed in the 14th & 18th Cen­turies: Watch the Very Painstak­ing Process Get Cin­e­mat­i­cal­ly Recre­at­ed

A Pre-Pan­tone Guide to Col­ors: Dutch Book From 1692 Doc­u­ments Every Col­or Under the Sun

Ghosts of His­to­ry: Dutch Artist Eeri­ly Super­im­pos­es Mod­ern Street Scenes on World War II Pho­tos

Street Art for Book Lovers: Dutch Artists Paint Mas­sive Book­case Mur­al on the Side of a Build­ing

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, the­ater­mak­er, and the Chief Pri­maol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Her lat­est book, Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo, will be pub­lished in ear­ly 2022.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • Tsuri Trends says:

    Light­weight suits are prefer­able for trav­el as they are eas­i­er to pack and won’t con­tribute sig­nif­i­cant­ly to lug­gage weight. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for air trav­el, where weight restric­tions may apply.

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