Garments

Colletto (partlet) – This was a piece of fabric worn over the neck opening of a bodice for modesty. It started as a light piece of fine silk draped and tied over a gamurra and developed into a fashion item tied under the dress decorated with pleats, pearls, netting, and a growing collar (Landini 2005).

Gonella (or zupa in Lombardy, dress) – Duby (1988) writes “A woman at home, no matter what her station, was likely to wear a gonnella (trecento, 1300s) or gamurra (quattrocento, 1400s)… So dressed, she could go about her household chores and even run errands or make informal visits in the neighborhood.”

Gamurra (dress) – Known also as the camora, and zupa, this was the basic term for “gown” from the 1300s to the 1500s and was worn by all classes in a variety of colors and fabrics (Frick, 2002). This unlined dress could be worn alone, with or without matching sleeves, or (starting in 1540s) with an overdress (zimarra) and contrasting sleeves (Frick 2002, Herald 1981).

Sottana (or zottana, dress) – This dress was worn by nobility and working class women as well as children. The sottana was the main dress which could be paired with an optional zimarra (overdress/coat).  It had a square neckline, tie-on sleeves, and a bodice stiffened with padding or hardened linen. The sleeves could be matching or contrasting fabric and could have slashes or ribbons showing. In the early 1500s the sleeves had a “baragoni” puffed appearance at the top. The dress closing tended to be on the sides, though some especially in Venice, had laces in the front that could be left open to show the camicia.

Oppelanda (pellanda in Veneto, cioppa in Tuscany, overdress) – Ameto, shown in a birth tray with two nymphs in a detail from the reverse of the birth tray , wears one of the most typical articles of clothing of the early quattrocento, an outergarment (sopravvesti, Milanese) known in North Italy as an oppelanda or pellanda and in Tuscany as a cioppa. Opening at the front, it had large elaborately finished sleeves, the length of which was frequently restricted by sumptuary laws, and, sometimes, a high collar framing the face. Women wore these garments over simple gowns, belted just below the bosom, and men wore them short or long, depending upon the occasion. It is this upper-middle-class garment that distinguishes Ameto from the shepherds Alcesto and Acaten (in birth Tray). I wonder if the earlier version of this garment was the Milanese guarnacca or guarnazzone (same but with bigger sleeves)???

Veste (sopravvesti in Milan, an overdress) – This was a French style tight-fitting overdress of the mid to late cinquecento. Older women seemed to prefer the looser zimarra, and predominantly younger ladies were painted in the closer fitting veste. This overdress was worn with only an optional doublet bodice, skirt, and sleeves underneath. The zimarra and sottana combination remained more popular in Venice and the veste gained more popularity in Florence.

Zimarra (optional overdress) – This overdress that looks like a coat could be sleeved or sleeveless. It typically had a decorative closing in the front and was worn over the main garment (i.e. the sottana). In the winter it would be lined, and in the summer it could be made of silk or lighter damasks. Eleonora di Toledo was painted in this outergarment, though her daughters seem to have preferred the veste.

Mantello – Cloak worn outdoors until mid Cinquecento when the zimarra and the tighter veste gained in popularity. This cloak was a large, semicircle of fabic that could be lined with the same or a constrasting color. This outergarment, and the shorter mantellino were used for warmth and protection from rain (made of tightly woven wool sometimes oiled or waxed).

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