What to Wear at Court: All Her Finery
If you hadn’t figured it out, we’re going to court. For an event like this, the safe bet is the Court Lady dress, which is classy enough for any ambitious noblewoman. This dress is rich and stands out without being overstated.
This dress is primarily made of a lightweight cotton fabric, making it ideal for events taking place on warmer days. This cotton dress comes in two colours, but there are a variety of options. The main colour takes up the majority of the fabric, while the secondary colour is found on the inner sleeves and the sides of the dress.
The style of the dress is definitely fit for court. It has a rounded neckline and can be adjusted by laces in the back. So, you may need a little bit of help to get the fit just right. But this is only to be expected from a lady.
The most noticeable feature, of course, would be the long bell sleeves that hang down at the wrists. The sleeves aren’t so long so as to be overly impractical, they shouldn’t drag on the floor behind you, but maybe don’t try gardening or similarly unfitting for a Court Lady.
All in all, this dress would be befitting of any court lady, or noblewoman. Its rich and elegant design make it wildly unsuitable for a peasant lady, and even a well-off commoner might not own a dress such as this. Of course, that’s up to you.
The design, while not over the top, is definitely not plain. This means that this dress can easily carry itself without too many accessories. However, accessories are always great at personalising an outfit, making it fit a specific character.
Who Were the Court Ladies?
It’s all very well and good looking at a dress which would suit a Court Lady, but who were these women and what did they do at court?
Well, we know that they weren’t poor, or at least, they were wealthy enough to afford relatively fine dresses. However, court ladies weren’t the wealthiest about either, especially not at court. Another name for the court lady would be a lady-in-waiting. As the name suggests, these were noblewomen, especially when it came to European courts.
Usually, these women were paid for their services, so this could be a great way for a less wealthy noble family to keep themselves afloat, as a court lady could support herself to some extent.
However, their specific purpose was that of a personal assistant towards either royalty, or a noblewoman of higher rank. As a personal assistant, they had a wide range of duties, from keeping their mistress aware of the gossip, supervising the servants, and acting as a secretary.
On top of all this, a good court lady should have flawless etiquette, be skilled in multiple languages, be able to dance, ride horses, play an instrument or sing, and have some talent in the arts.
These skills were required because the court lady would be expected to entertain her mistress and provide companionship, as well as act as an assistant. Modern personal assistants have it too easy.
Depending on the court, the court lady’s duties may also involve the monarch. Here, an opportunistic court lady could find herself becoming a wife of the king, if she plays her cards right. This was more true in courts which had fewer scruples when it came to polygamy, although history testifies that even apparently monogamous kings had their dalliances.
A court lady was a much more important and difficult position that we may first assume. As they were almost always noble themselves, the court lady would also serve to boost the status of their mistress, whether she was royalty or a noblewoman of a higher standing.
This became even more true as the medieval period went on, as court life during the Renaissance became more and more complicated and rooted in ceremony. Positions opened up for court ladies to gain influence and an important role to play in court.
The technical specifications for the Court Lady Dress are as follows:
- Materials: Light cotton
- Colours: Black and cream, black and bordeaux, black and red, brown and cream, red and cream
The sizes of this dress range from S to XL. Here are the measurements:
- Small: 32.3 inches chest, 25.2 inches waist, 34.6 inches hips
- Medium: 35.4 inches chest, 28.3 inches waist, 37.8 inches hips
- Large: 38.6 inches chest, 31.5 inches waist, 40.9 inches hips
- X-Large: 42.1 inches chest, 35 inches waist, 44.5 inches hips