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The ruff started off, around 1550, as a much smaller pice of cloth wrapped around the neck opening of a shirt. something like a miniature modern winter scarf. Buttons were somewhat rare back then, most clothing was fastened together with thongs, cords, and thongs, it was as if people "shoe laced" their clothes on. Lacing at the throat and wrists would have too tight if completely closed so the ruff was used to close off the gaps from drafts, there was no central heating back then.

Also, because laundry had to be done by hand and the clothes were so cumbersome to take off and put on some people went weeks without changing or washing their clothes. Ruffs protected necklines and cuffs from soiling. The ruffs could be removed and changed easily, wrist ruffs would get dirtier quicker. Richer people had servants whose only job was to help them change clothes.

Then folks began to wear larger ruffs, maybe to show they had enough money to afford them. And large ruffs became a fashion, who can explain fshion? One year shoes have pointed toes, next year square. Ruffs were starched and pressed into pleats with special hot irons, sometimes colored with tinted starch or dyed. The ruff got bigger, extending a foot or more all around and supported on wire frames. Even before the largest sizes were reached, a ruff for Queen Elizabeth took over ten yards (9 meters) of fabric ! Those extreme sizes are probably why the ruff fell out of fashion by 1650, it was more a nuisance than help. They were replaced by softer collars and wrist bands similar to today's, but still usually removable.

The extreme size of ruffs, the hassles involved in crowded courts, and ostentatious fashion rivalry between nobles led Philip 4th of Spain to ban them.

Ruffs of not so gigantic size are still worn as parts of official ceremonious dress, certain choirs, the English Yeomen of the Guard, Academic Dress, and some Danish Church clergy.

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11y ago
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13y ago

because they were wierd people like you lot muhahhahaha.

this is by the mysterious guy of gisborne

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Q: Why did Tudors wear ruffs around there neck?
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