Male clothing during the sixteenth century was extremely diverse. The fashionable body shape changed dramatically with the decades. At the start of the century the emphasis was on the chest: big, square, with broad shoulders and a prominent cod-piece beneath. By the close of the century this had changed radically. Men wore sleek upper-body garments with puffed lower-body garments designed to show off a pretty leg. This guide can thus only serve as an overview of the common garments, to help you become familiar with the terms. For details of what you should be wearing in any particular year, consult the costume notes.
For 1578 the look should approximate that to the right, which is taken from "The Wedding at Bermondsey". Men should be wearing full-ish, knee-length hose, with or without panes, and a fitted doublet which buttons down the front. Buttons should be wool or pewter, depending on status. For maximum authenticity, the doublet should have sleeves (either sewn or laced in), and over it should be worn a similar, sleeveless garment, known as a jerkin. Most low-status men can get by with just one of these garments. Hats are compulsary, and ruffs should be worn by everyone but the most scummy.
The Layers - From Inside Out
The most intimate layer are the braes. These are basically linen tighty-whiteys. They typically conform closely to the body and close with a draw-string. I've never made a pair of these, and have no intention of doing so. My other half - like, I would guess, 99% of men on the manor - is happy to stick to his 21st century underwear. If you're going to cheat - and I recommend it - make sure to pack at least one pair of beige-ish briefs in case you're suddenly struck with an urge to go swimming in the moat or strip off and wrestle in front of the public.
The shirt is the equivalent of the female shift, and its construction is covered in the shift notes, where notes specific to men are marked in italics. Briefly, it is a relatively simple garment constructed of white or unbleached (low-status only) linen. Kentwell will accept cotton at a pinch. The neckline has a narrow collar and there are narrow cuffs at the wrist. These may or may not be finished with a frill. The shirt extends down to mid-thigh. This serves to protect your modesty during early morning runs to the jakes. It also helps hide the Union Jack boxers you're wearing instead of braes.
These garments cover the lower leg and are held up with garters. They can be made in two ways. The most common (shown to above and left) are cloth hose. These are sewn together out of pieces of fabric and are suitable for everyone but the elite. They're thicker than modern socks so, if you're likely to be wearing them, it's worth getting your shoes slightly on the large side.
High status nether hose were knitted out of silk. It is possible to buy these today, but they're prohibitively expensive. I understand that Kentwell allows M&S cotton-rich tights instead but, not being a gentry man, I don't know that for sure.
The evidence for knitted wool hose is controversial. You won't get away with modern socks and, if you wish to wear the knitted hose available at reenactors markets, you're going to have to argue your case. I'd recommend that new participants avoid them.
Those playing manual labourers don't need to wear nether-hose. That'll cover most new participants, which is a good thing because they're a right pain to make. However, if you've finished your costume ahead of schedule, they're useful to have for if it's cold.
Above is shown the jerkin. This happens to be in the Kentwell livery of grey and black, but similar styles were common in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. This is a solid, heavy garment which, with it's puffed shoulders, emphasises a manly chest.
This is worn with paned hose, a relatively late period fashion. They're a real pain to make, so it's a good thing that they're a relatively high-status garment, which means that only the gentry, men in livery, and anyone with aspirations of status need bother with them. Most men - from the mid sixteenth century on - should be wearing hose which are similarly full and puffy in shape, but without the panes. The early period hose are much more fitted, and are shown below.
The doublet is the characteristic upper body garment of the late sixteenth century. The one shown to the left is made of dark blue (ie expensive) wool and closes with pewter buttons. The really posh can have silk. This is being worn with modern trousers - which quite neatly illustrates the difference between the position of the waistline in Tudor clothes from the much more slouchy clothes worn today - so ignore everything from the waist down. This garment is really only suitable for say 1560 onwards and is really the preserve of the middle class and upwards. There are detailed instructions on making a doublet like this here.
The Early-Period Hose
Another set of hose. The difference in shape between these and the paned hose shown above should be obvious. They're a snug-fitting, knee-length garment with the open crotch covered by the cod-piece, and are completely different in shape from the full hose shown above. This is the early period option, suitable for the first half of the sixteenth century.
Awww, isn't it sweet?
Like his female counterpart, every man at Kentwell should be wearing a hat.