Elizabeth I's Proclamation Against Excess, 1577
During the late 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I passed a series of strict laws relating to dress codes. The laws ensured that people across the social spectrum dressed according to their rank and class. At this time, England was importing great quantities of luxury fabrics, and the Queen expressed concern that her subjects were spending too much money on 'unnecessa ry foreign wares' and 'vain devices'. The laws allowed her to curb extravagan t spending, and to define and set the distinctio ns between the different strata of society. Those found dressed in inappropri ate clothing could be fined. This document specifies the fabrics and types of clothing that each social rank was permitted to wear, such as specific types of embroidere d silks, 'tinseled' satins, furs or 'purpures' - a type of purple or crimson robe.

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