May 6, 2019

Read all about it! The Typical Tudor set for April 2020 debut

The Typical Tudor

Jane and Ninya are pleased to announce that the eagerly-awaited update and expansion of The Tudor Tailor is scheduled for publication in April 2020. The Typical Tudor presents a fascinating introduction to the range of garments worn by ordinary men and women 500 years ago. It draws on a wide variety of primary sources for sound evidence of clothing for the mean and middling sort and offers exciting new interpretations of the usual clothing ensembles from 1485 to 1603. Be sure to sign up to The Tudor Tailor’s newsletter using this link if you would like to be among the first to preorder The Typical Tudor.

The book overcomes many of the challenges of research into lower and middle-class dress by diligently cross-referencing three categories of evidence: extant archaeological and historical items; images such as paintings, effigies and woodcuts; and documentary descriptions drawn from wills, inventories and accounts. It reviews previous definitions of Tudor clothing using this triangulation of data to provide a new and comprehensive survey of historical dress for the period.

The Typical Tudor builds on the authors’ previous works The Tudor Tailor (2006) and The Tudor Child (2013) by surveying the available sources with statistical rigour. Most noteworthy is the database of more than 55,000 garments and accessories drawn from transcribed wills, accounts, inventories and court records which the authors have collected and collated to provide a reliable indication of the distribution of specific styles among the various ranks of society from well-to-do gentlefolk to the needy poor.

Trends in this numerical data are tracked across two time periods – 1485 to 1557 and 1558 to 1603 – to demonstrate the development of specific fashions and the adoption of new garments. This pinpoints the arrival of particular garments in the wardrobes of those below the elite in the early and late Tudor era such as venetian-style hose in 1570. It also clarifies previously ambiguous terminology used for apparently unisex garments such as cassocks and petticoats suggesting how they were differentiated for men’s and women’s wear.

There is detailed information about linings and trims taken from the analysis of documentary evidence which shows clear conventions in the use of specific fabrics and furs to augment basic garments. A total of 1,500 linings and 1,600 trims suggest how ordinary people augmented their clothes with decorative features but stayed within the sumptuary regulations - only occasionally bending the rules.

The book integrates the source material and its interpretation to suggest typical cut, colour and fabric for 16 basic garment categories in clearly presented double-page spreads. These juxtapose original images and contemporary quotations with descriptions and drawings showing how typical garments were tailored. Clear tables suggest the development and distribution of styles through the time period and pie charts vividly illustrate the colours and choice of textiles used for specific purposes. The at-a-glance layout makes the book equally accessible for dress scholars looking for guidance on historical ensembles of clothing and costumiers aiming to accurately reconstruct items.

The main focus is on British material but there is frequent comparison with dress in other countries, which proves to have more similarities than differences at the lower end of society than is the case for the dress of the upper classes. The book also integrates Austrian, Dutch, French, German and Scandinavian secondary research into its survey making it a one-stop-shop for sources on ordinary dress across northern Europe.

Patterns for reconstructions include everyday clothes suitable for manual labour and work in artisanal trades and “holy day” dress, often signified by specific accessories. There are also instructions for knitted garments – plain and decorative sleeves and stockings, and a variety of caps with advice on achieving the characteristic finished surface of fulled fabric.

Take a look behind the scenes at the recent photoshoots for some sneak peeks at the garments to be featured in the The Typical Tudor.

The book’s launch is planned during a conference in Nottingham from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 April 2020 and delegates who have pre-ordered will be able to collect their copies there. Check at or on The Tudor Tailor’s Facebook page for announcements – or better still - sign up to newsletter to be the first to receive the preorder instructions!

Click the gallery thumbnails to view the full images