1. As with the Gheeraerts’ portraits I posted earlier, there has been a great deal of scholarly debate as to whether the woman in Johannes Vermeer’s Woman Reading a Letter (painted between 1662 and 1663) is actually pregnant, or merely fashionable. There has been similar debate regarding several other Vermeer paintings, most notably 1664’s Woman Holding a Balance.
Whether the women in these paintings are pregnant or not, the loose-fitting jackets that served as fashionable informal wear for Dutch women throughout the mid-17th century would have been ideal maternity wear. Something Vermeer was undoubtedly familiar with considering his wife gave birth to 14 children during their marriage.

    As with the Gheeraerts’ portraits I posted earlier, there has been a great deal of scholarly debate as to whether the woman in Johannes Vermeer’s Woman Reading a Letter (painted between 1662 and 1663) is actually pregnant, or merely fashionable. There has been similar debate regarding several other Vermeer paintings, most notably 1664’s Woman Holding a Balance.

    Whether the women in these paintings are pregnant or not, the loose-fitting jackets that served as fashionable informal wear for Dutch women throughout the mid-17th century would have been ideal maternity wear. Something Vermeer was undoubtedly familiar with considering his wife gave birth to 14 children during their marriage.

  2. "Oriental" attire was not the only costume worn for portraits in the 17th Century. Abraham Willaerts painted the notoriously vain Dutch naval officer Cornelius Tromp dressed as a very noble Roman soldier, no doubt Tromp’s idea, circa 1666.   

    "Oriental" attire was not the only costume worn for portraits in the 17th Century. Abraham Willaerts painted the notoriously vain Dutch naval officer Cornelius Tromp dressed as a very noble Roman soldier, no doubt Tromp’s idea, circa 1666.   

  3. Flemish artist Justus Sustermans painted Ferdinando II de’ Medici wearing the attire of an Ottoman noble circa 1640.

    Flemish artist Justus Sustermans painted Ferdinando II de’ Medici wearing the attire of an Ottoman noble circa 1640.

  4. Increased world trade and an influx of foreign goods to Europe in the early 17th century set off a craze for exotic clothing. Ensembles from the Ottoman Empire, referred to at the time as “Oriental” garb or attire, were especially sought after. It became very fashionable for gentlemen and wealthy merchants to have their portraits painted wearing these new exotic costumes, a trend that would endure for well over a century.
This portrait of an Old Man in Oriental Garb was painted by Jan Lievens between 1628 and 1630.

    Increased world trade and an influx of foreign goods to Europe in the early 17th century set off a craze for exotic clothing. Ensembles from the Ottoman Empire, referred to at the time as “Oriental” garb or attire, were especially sought after. It became very fashionable for gentlemen and wealthy merchants to have their portraits painted wearing these new exotic costumes, a trend that would endure for well over a century.

    This portrait of an Old Man in Oriental Garb was painted by Jan Lievens between 1628 and 1630.

  5. A fashion plate of a French noblewoman in a striped mantua, dated 1684.

    A fashion plate of a French noblewoman in a striped mantua, dated 1684.

  6. In honor of the first day of spring I thought I would pull out some of fashion history’s palest pastels and loveliest floral prints to help welcome the season.
These colorful enamel and pearl earrings date to the last third of the 17th century and were made to match this necklace.

    In honor of the first day of spring I thought I would pull out some of fashion history’s palest pastels and loveliest floral prints to help welcome the season.

    These colorful enamel and pearl earrings date to the last third of the 17th century and were made to match this necklace.

  7. While doing research about the use of beetle wings in fashion I also came across many pieces that, while not containing actually insects, were definitely insect inspired. Many of them were too amazing not to post, so I’m going to take a little detour from my natural materials topic to share a few of my favorites.
Starting with this gorgeous enameled flower and butterfly necklace from the last third of the 17th Century.

    While doing research about the use of beetle wings in fashion I also came across many pieces that, while not containing actually insects, were definitely insect inspired. Many of them were too amazing not to post, so I’m going to take a little detour from my natural materials topic to share a few of my favorites.

    Starting with this gorgeous enameled flower and butterfly necklace from the last third of the 17th Century.

  8. An ostrich feather headdress was also favored by Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensie and cousin to Louis XIV, in this mid-17th Century portrait by Louis Ferdinand Elle.

    An ostrich feather headdress was also favored by Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensie and cousin to Louis XIV, in this mid-17th Century portrait by Louis Ferdinand Elle.

  9. This print from 1687, on top of being my very favorite 17th century fashion print, finally shows some practicality when it comes to winter fashion.
This gentlewoman wears a very cozy looking quilted petticoat, longer sleeves and has a visible pocket slit in her over skirt that would have allowed hands to be kept warm inside the skirt.

    This print from 1687, on top of being my very favorite 17th century fashion print, finally shows some practicality when it comes to winter fashion.

    This gentlewoman wears a very cozy looking quilted petticoat, longer sleeves and has a visible pocket slit in her over skirt that would have allowed hands to be kept warm inside the skirt.

  10. Woman’s wear of the late 17th century still strictly conformed to fashion rules despite the cold weather. The court-fashion-dictated half length sleeves were not lengthened for winter. Women instead kept there lower arms in muffs, as seen on her left arm.

    Woman’s wear of the late 17th century still strictly conformed to fashion rules despite the cold weather. The court-fashion-dictated half length sleeves were not lengthened for winter. Women instead kept there lower arms in muffs, as seen on her left arm.