THE WARDROBE AS A REFLECTION OF TASTE, FINANCIAL SITUATION AND SOCIAL STATUS IN THE 16th CENTURY
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The first inventory considered, listing the belongings of the nobleman Godziatkowski, does not reflect the owner's taste. Making a living as farmer, he was not particularly well-off and had a minimal set of festive garments, though made of high quality materials (an overcoat and trousers of Italian woollen cloth, shirts of Cologne linen). He obviously paid more attention to riding equipment, as he owned a Turkish saddle, Moscow harness and a German dagger. His modest wardrobe was definitely suited to the conditions of country living, in which elegant dress was needed very rarely. Lower-class noblemen did very well with just one or two festive outfits. For farming they needed working dress, and they were not used to treating garments as investment.The second inventory examined was left by Pawel Postolski, whose main source of income was probably military pay. His living standard is difficult to estimate, but judging from the inventory itself he might have been quite affluent. He could afford hunting equipment and various elegant accessories. The long list of garments included in the inventory indicates a practical approach (comfortable warm clothing) combined with a wish to follow the vogue (quite a number of fashionable German and Italian garments). In comparison with Godziatkowski, Podstolski seems to have been a much richer nobleman, well provided with not only clothing, but also linen, furniture, arms and harness.The third inventory, that of Jan Zamoyski, hetman of the Polish army, both in quality and quantity can only be compared to the inventories of people of similarly high rank. Zamoyski's outfits, extraordinarily rich and varied, were chosen with exquisite taste and expertness, to suit all the different occasions on which the owner had to appear to fulfil his political, military and courtly duties. The magnificence of his wardrobe, devoid of trinket ornaments, resulted from the use of superb textiles, expensive furs, fashionable headgear. Whether in a ceremonial, military or travelling outfit, the owner of such a collection of costumes must always have been well-dressed. The magnate manifested his status, dignity and personal style both in private and official life. His clothing reflected the fortune that he had inherited and the income connected with his office.
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