The Gentleman and the Courtier. Dresses compress the body
The Renaissance saw the perfecting of tailoring techniques and clothes were cut to fit the body closely. Women wore long skirts, while men showed their legs. The body was a clothes-horse for the display of fabrics, dresses, lace, embroidery and accessories. Interior structures were used to enlarge or reduce the figure.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Spanish fashion of wearing black and adopting an hieratic pose was followed by the courts of Europe, while the eighteenth century saw a shift to the French style, which sought a theatrical effect.