Italian Wardrobe Inspiration

Inspiration for my garb and accessories comes from paintings and frescos, as well as written documentation (i.e. the inventory of the wardrobe of Caterina Sforza). When you see me at living history events I’m usually wearing something from my studies. Here are a few examples:

I love turbans! Turbans are my favorite Italian headdress. The woman in the painting below (by Gentile da Fabriano in 1423) on the left wears a veil twisted into a turban. The woman on the right has her hair held in a long, thick braid encased in sheer fabric and twisted around her head. Her simple gown laces up the front with a single lace. This is my one example of an Italian gonella (aka cotehardie) with front lacing.


Gamurras in the mid quattrocento! The Italian sleeveless dress (gamurra) with coordinating sleeves below has an obvious waist seam and a skirt pleated to the bodice (by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, 1465). The underdress has a high front neckline and wide upper sleeves. Her hair is lightly covered with a cap and veil twisted into a turban.


Ribbons, hair taping and flag fans? This Italian fresco shows women with their hair braided or twisted and wrapped around their heads, secured with ribbons laced through the coils (by Francesco del Cossa, 1470).

Dress and Hair-Triumph of Minerva-inSchifanoia-byFrancesco_del_Cossa_1470

Pink Gamurra inspiration! This portrait of a lady features the sheer pointed partlet worn over the gown that was popular in Italy at this time. She also wears a small cap on the back of her head; it ties under her chin (by Ghirlandaio, 1490).


In this 1490 Sienese portriat by Neroccio di Bartolomeo de’ Landi she wears a V-necked, high-waisted overdress over a floral silk gamurra with a square neckline. Her cap is of the same floral silk.



Another cap and gamurra with overdress, along with veils and men’s garb is shown in The Betrothal painting of 1475.

Dress-Italienischer_Meister_The Betrothal 1475

Da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronière wears her long hair smoothed over her ears and pulled back into a braid. Her sleeves are tied to her gown, and the chemise beneath is pulled out in puffs between the ribbon ties. The puffs and the lower waist would be important fashion trends in the next decades across northern Italy (by da Vinci, 1496).


A painting of two Venetian ladies with blonde frizzy hair and caps. The very high waist is typical of Venice. Note the chopines or platform shoes to the left (by Carpaccio, 1510).


One thought on “Italian Wardrobe Inspiration

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