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In the Elizabethan day the goal of women's fashion was to show the woman's status in society and make her as attractive as possible. Women wanted as small and petite waist as possible, so they did anything to make their waists small or appear smaller than the actual size. Women in the Elizabethan days wore ruffles to show status in society. Sleeves of women's gowns had a certain appearance of being puffy.
It was not only in the colors, or the lack of them, that the new fashions differed from those of the preceding generation. Bombast was the stuffing used in doublets and hose in order to swell them out, eliminating all folds and creases. It consisted of rags, flock, horsehair, cotton, or even bran, although bran sometimes led to disaster, since all the bran ran out if the clothes got torn. The bombasting of the doublet over the chest and the stuffing out of breeches naturally made the waist seem smaller, and the effect was increased by the use of tight-lacing. The short, bombasted breeches, especially in the form of trunk hose, exposed a considerable amount of leg, and the introduction of knitting made it possible for leg coverings to fit the limbs more neatly than they had done before.
There was a growth in the ruffle in the 1500's. A simple string was drawn through the upper edge of the shirt to form a ruffle. The ruffle was an example of the "hierarchical" element in dress. When women wore them, they always had another element to be noted. This was the "Seduction Principle," as it has been called, an attempt to exploit the wearer's charms as a woman. For example, women wore a ruffle in order to show their status in society. The Elizabethan compromise was to open the ruffle in front to expose the bosom, and to allow the ruffle to rise in gauze wings at the back of the head.This fashion can be seen quite clearly in portraits of Queen Elizabeth.
In Elizabethan times, women's fashion had a new style for sleeves in gowns. The sleeves became a complicated collection of small pieces held together with jeweled fasteners. The under-sleeve was made in vast quantities of fabric, which projected a puffy style.
Women in the Elizabethan time had many different ways of showing their fashion styles. Elements such as puffy sleeves, tight-fitting bodices of dresses, and ruffles showed status in society. The women of Elizabethan times used different types of clothing to make themselves appear more petite than they actually were.