|His description of ruffs for men include their styles of a pointed white collar The use of starch in maintaining ruffs The use of supports and underprops to keep the ruffs in place The practice of making ruffs in layers Almost everyone had three or four ruffs Decorated with lace, gold and silver thread and fine silk Women's ruffs sparkling with decorations of the sun, moon and the stars The length and style of ruffs - pinned up to the ears or laying over the shoulder|
Elizabethan Ruffs - 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 Ruffs
"They have great and monsterous ruffes, made either of Camericke, Holland, Lawne, or els of some other the finest cloth that can be got for money, whereof some be a quarter of a yard deep, yea, some more, very few lesse; So that they stand a full quarter of a yarde (and more) from their necks, hanging over their shoulder poynts, instead of a vaile. But if Aeolus with his blasts, or Neptune with his stormes chaunce to hit uppon the crafie bark of their brused ruffes, then they goe flip flap in the winde, like rags flying abroad, and lye upon their shoulders like the dishcloute of a slut. But wot you what? The devil, as he in the fulnes of his malice, first invented these great ruffes, so hath hee now found out also two great stayes to beare up and maintaine that his kingdome of great ruffs : the one archor piller wherby his kingdome of great ruffes is underpropped, is a certaine kinde of liquide matter which they call Starch, wherin the devill hath willed them to wash and dive his ruffes wel, which when they be dry, wil then stand stiffe and inflexible about their necks. The other piller is a certain device made of wyers, crested for the purpose, whipped over either with gold, thred, silver or silk, and this hee calleth a supportasse, or underpropper. This is to be applyed round about their necks under the ruffe, upon the out side of the band, to beare up the whole frame and body of the ruffe from falling and hanging down...So few have them, as almost none is without them; for every one, how meane or simple soever they bee otherwise, will have of them three or foure apeece forsayling. And as though Cambrick, Holland, Lawne, and the finest cloth that mayebee got any where for money, were not good inough, they have them wrought allover with silke woorke, and peradventure laced with golde and silver, or other costly lace of no small price. And whether they have Argente to mayntaine this geare withall, or not, it forceth not much, for they will have it by one meane or another, or else they will eyther sell or morgage their Landes (as they have goodstore) on Suters hill & Stangate hole, with losse of their lives at Tiburne in a rope.& in sure token thereof, they have now newly found out a more monstrous kind of ruffe of xii. (12) , yea, xvi (16) lengthes a peece, set 3 or 4 times double, & is ofsome, fitlie called: "Three steppes and a halfe to the Gallowes".
The women use great ruffes, & neckerchers of holland, lawne, camerick, and such cloth, as the greatest thred shall not be so bigge as the leasthaire that is: then, least they should fall down, they are smeared and starched inthe devils liquore, I meane Starch: after that, dryed with great diligence, streaked,patted and rubbed very nicely, and so applyed to their goodly necks, and, withall, underpropped with supportasses (as I tolde you before) the stately arches of pride: beyond all this they have a further fetch, nothing inferiour to the rest; as,namely, three or foure degrees of minor ruffes, placed gradatim, step by step, onebeneath the other, and all under the Maister devil ruffe. The skyrts, then, of these great ruffes are long and wide every way, pleted and crested ful curiously, Godwot. Then, last of all, they are either clogged with golde, silver, or silk lace of stately price, wrought all over with needle woork, speckled and sparkled heer and there with the sonne, the moone, the starres, and many other antiquities straunge to beholde. Some are wrought with open woork down to the midst of the ruffe and further, some with purled lace so cloyd, and other gewgawes so pestered, as the ruffe is the least parte of it self. Sometimes they are pinned up to their eares, sometimes they are suffered to hang over their shoulders, like windmil sayles fluttering in the winde; and thus every one pleaseth her self with her foolish devices, for as the proverb saith: "everyone thinketh his own wayes best"."
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