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The event's theme, a Merchants’ Ball held in a busy trading town, leaves the door wide open for a large variety of clothing that suits the setting of the event.  


Date of Dress

Even though the town is relatively small, it is a busy trading centre.  City fashions tend to arrive a bit late and linger until the ensemble wears out.

The moneyed families like to ape their betters and add new fashions to their wardrobes regularly, flouting the sumptuary laws and all decency.

Many of the more established, older merchants frown on the disgraceful new trends and prefer the fashions of their youth.

For those reasons, many of the fashions seen in Paris over the last 20 years are still worn in here..


Ethnicity of Dress

As a trading town it is not be unusual to see businessmen from distant towns (and their occasional eligible sons or daughters) dressed in odd, foreign clothes.  

These days, people escaping the religious wars in the Netherlands are not an unusual site, nor are Spaniards on their way to reinforce those besieging Paris.  Even Englishmen have been encountered as their Queen interferes with the situation in the Netherlands.  


Class of Dress

While all those attending the ball are merchants, their families or their guests, some merchants are more prosperous than others.  Just as some are more thrifty, than others.

For some families this social occasion is simply another opportunity to wear their Sunday Best, while others view it as this years best excuse to ignore the sumptuary laws, displaying cut velvets, silks and cloth of gold that rival the dress of the nobility. 

Of course, those treasured traders and business associates caught in town during the winter are in the unfortunate position of having to wear something they brought with them, or have something made by the local tailors.


Following are a selection of images depicting clothing contemporary to the period of the ball should you wish a little inspiration or assistance in picking your wardrobe for the evening.  Attempts to dress in a manner matching the theme of the event will be appreciated, but your attendance would be preferred.


Click on the images below to go to the original webpages for more images



From Civitates Orbis Terrarum at
Has scans of all the maps, so it takes a bit of searching to find ones with people. This image from Orleans.



From Civitates Orbis Terrarum at
Jane Stockton has placed some very large black and white scans of select images on the net.  This one from Edinburgh.



From Arbeau's manuscript at
This image is of the reverence.

Also from Civitates Orbis Terrarrum, but at
A selection of images placed on the net by Drea Leed. 
This image from map of Lyon.


Image from the Court of Henri III around 1585 from Threadneedle Street website at
see the surrounding images also.


A contemporary image of Italian dress by Vecellio,
posted on Festive Attyre at
See the surrounding images too.





Various Nationalities and Classes - scans from Habitus

A Lady - from bildindex.  Many more relevant images on site

Extant Garments - from l'Age d'Or

Various Portraits - from Tudor & Elizabeth Portraits

One of a series of scans from Im Frauwenzimmer Wirt vermeldt von allerly schönen Kleidungen at