Queen Elizabeth had an enormous influence on fashion as a larger-than-life monarch who cultivated her own image with great care and guile. Under Elizabeth, England enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity. Traders and explorers ranged further abroad than ever before, bringing back luxury goods that were purchased by the wealthy. Clothing was the most obvious way of displaying newfound wealth and declaring one's place in the world and so, as reflected in portraiture of the period, fashion was dictated by the upper classes and copied by the various social classes as befit their means.
Coverage includes the royal wardrobe, fashion and politics, colors and fabrics, embroidery and padding, collars and ruffs, the rise of the fashion industry, the new middle class, ecclesiastical wear, trades and professions, and the symbolic use of fashion accessories.