Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anne Boleyn: The Trendy Tudor

 A true Renaissance woman, including in terms of fashion, Anne Boleyn is probably one of the most well known of Tudor King Henry VIII's wives. While not remembered as a beauty so to speak, Anne is regarded as perhaps the biggest fashion icon of the early 16th century.

Anne, along with her sister Mary, had spent a great deal of time as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Claude, wife of King Francis I at the French court. It is there Anne perfected such admired and 'respectable' talents as singing, dancing and poetry. The French court is also where the ill-fated queen honed in on her much emulated fashion sense, wearing all the latest court fashions (it seems France was as much of a fashion powerhouse then as it has been in the modern era).


the popular "French hood" headgear style of the 16th century

Anne brought her French fashion sense back to her native England of course, introducing many trends that became highly popular among the Tudor elite. It is also said that Anne used fashion to hide her "imperfections" and to, of course, like anyone with personal flair and style, played up on her attributes.
Rumour has it, Anne had a small disfigurement of her pinky, a supposed sixth finger, something of no real significance now but in the 16th century did nothing but help the accusations of her being a witch and all those other bizarre claims. In attempts to play out the blemish, Anne is said to have popularized the "hanging sleeve" style, symbolic of the period. It is also claimed that Anne wore a piece or string of velvet around her neck to cover up a mole (another potentially damning physical blemish). Who knew fashion could be so functional, right?! Well, in actuality there is no proof of such deformaties. The rumors probably first arose during her trial, or perhaps even after her untimely death.

If you're curious about the life and times of Anne Boleyn, check out http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/, a site I have recently had the pleasure of discovering! Still interested? Be sure to check out one of my favourite shows, The Tudors (www.sho.com/site/tudors/). I LOVE Natalie Dormer as Anne!

Stay tuned for another queen of fashion post!


fefe xx

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