Costume continues its evolution throughout the 17th century and is influenced in part by the Baroque period and Classicism. Italy and Spain lose their supremacy in Europe while Holland and France become dominant influences in fashion.
Dutch costume influenced all reformed countries, England, North Germany, the Nordic states and America. Men and women’s costume becomes slender and more elegant. We see a lot of dark colors being used in contrast to the crisp white lace ruffs and cuffs. Though when looking at Vermeer’s work we see so much color in Dutch costume, a variety of hats, fur-lined jackets and collars.
It is interesting to notice how people are portrayed in painting during this time. Dutch and Flemish portraits are very relaxed, often showing a domestic space in which the subjects are shown in the act of performing an activity. It is in a lot of Dutch and Flemish works that we start to see human emotions and behavior and not just a mere presentation of wealth and power. We also see certain trends such as checkered tiles on the floor and tables covered with rugs/carpets. Portraiture from other countries continues to have the dramatic stylized nature of 16th century portraiture.
Gloves during this time are very popular, made in Spain and often scented. Both men and women’s shoes have heels (though women’s heels are much higher) and were usually made from brocaded silk, velvet and leather.