Juliet = Since the play takes place in a fourteenth century Verona, located in northern Italy, Shakespeare must have had gotten the ideas from the inspiring city in which some of the most famous works of Romanesque architecture have resided. Costumes representing the day to day families would be reflective of the period known as the Italian Renaissance. As part of noble families, Juliet’s apparel would also be distinguished, elegant, and structured elaborately. Juliet would have worn taffeta fabrics, silk, golden cloths, or satin gowns. Young women in the 14th century wore laced ankle-boots which were decorated with lined fur and wore pattens underneath to protect their tight shoes.
Most women used dresses with sleeves which were heavily ornamented. The sleeves were very long, covering half of the hand, and often highly decorated with embroidery. The upper part had a low V-neck that showed a glimpse of the square-necked kirtle. Wide turn-backs like reverse displayed a contrasting lining, frequently of fur or black velvet, and the sleeves were at times cuffed to match.Romeo = Clothes reflected a person’s status in society in Shakespeare’s time. Romeo, as part of the high-class family of the Montagues, would wear what any upper class-men would. This includes the elegant flat caps in velvet Tudor and the long white undershirts with a tunic on top.
Shirts made of linen was worn as breeches. The basic costume of men in the play consisted of a shirt, doublet, and hose, with some sort of overgrown which was a robe worn over the clothing. As the cut of doublets revealed more fabric, wealthy men’s shirts were often decorated with embroidery or applied braid.
Over the shirt was worn a doublet. From around the mid-15th century very tight-fitting doublets, belted or tailored to be tight at the waist, giving in effect a short skirt below, were fashionable, especially in the eyes of the young. Sleeves were generally full and puffy and when worn with a large chaperon, the look was extremely stylish but very top-heavy. Very tight hose, and long pointed shoes or thigh-boots gave a slim appearance below the waist and a chunky, solid one above.Mercutio = Mercutio is not shown to be part of the Capulets and the Montagues although he is invited to the Capulet’s Ball he is known to be a friend of Romeo.
Being related by blood to Prince Paris and talking in a discrete manner with a tone of an upper class-man it can be said that he is certainly part of a wealthy family. With this being said, the Mercutio character would have worn similar clothes Romeo with doublets and tunics. Mercutio is seen as someone highly intelligent and vibrant in the story. Later on in the play, Mercutio fights Tybalt with Romeo making him a very proud but loose character. He would not be wearing jewelry and fancy decorations all the time. Carries a sword with him at all times as he is ready to spring on anyone who opposes him.
Mercutio’s character would wear a cape and a vest of silk but would not be decorated in excess.Nurse = Juliet has her own nurse in the story, she has been with her since Juliet was born and acts as a deeply sentimental mother figure to her for when talking about Juliet’s marriage she blabbers on and on about how she remembers young Juliet. The nurse wears a uniform in the house of the Capulets but her outfit is no different than any other nurse. The proper attire for women in that profession was a long black buttoned-down dress and a white apron and white headpiece that would cover her shoulder and her head but leaving a space for her face.
The nurse could have had other features added to her dress for working for a wealthy family and having to represent them. She could have worn a corset around her waist and a gown and she could have worn a hat with the headpiece on top of it along with a wooden or beaded, cross pendant, charm necklace.Prince Escalus = Being the Prince of Verona has its privileges when it comes to formal wear in a play. Escalus plays a role of having political power in Verona and is concerned about maintaining public peace between the two families at all costs. Before the the end of 1400s imperial purple was known to represent high statute of social class. Although most of his power is disregarded his attire would be elegant for being a very well known upperclassmen. His costume is formed of a top, a cape, a crown, purple tights with boots and a sword representing power. His shirt has golden laces along the sleeves and waist and a coat with doublet cut.
The arms would have been embroidered with golden features and chest would have had golden lines stretching down from the neck to the chest. The very tight doublet would have given him the effect of a skirt alike Romeo and the sleeves would have been wide and puffy. The tight pants would have been covered over with socks and then by the boots.Friar Lawrence = Friar Lawrence is a priest who eventually helps with the holy matrimony of Romeo and Juliet. In the times of the Renaissance, priests were not only common in the Christian country of Italy but were also well respected for their profession for aiding needy ecclesiastics. The Romeo and Juliet book doesn’t specify the outfit that Friar Lawrence wears, however at the time priests wore the same type of attire of a robe tied with a rope.
The Friar would wear a color brown making the attire a modest and religious dress. The tunic otherwise known as an alb is long sleeved and ankle length with a hoody on the back. Most of the Friars at the time had a cross hanging on the side and in the play, the priest must’ve had a bald spot on the top of his head for as most priests are represented as this. The character wears sandals but they are hidden under the robe for at the time priests were paupers.
Lord Capulet = Lord Capulet is the head his family and father to Juliet, is about sixty years of age. His evident wealth when hosting a ball ranks him with the many merchant princes of his time, but his social status is lower than that of the Prince. By personality, he is fiery, aggressive, and is interfering when it comes to Juliet’s life; but at the same time, he can be courteous, hospitable, and very generous as he appears at his party.
Since he is a very well known character in his town and being the representative face of the Capulet family he would want to appear as formal as possible. The character would wear breeches under a layer of tight doublets with sleeve ornaments. Most likely wore a brimmed hat with shades of red that combined with the ornamented houppelande which was a very stylish overall worn by high-class men. A golden necklace like ornament would surround Lord Capulet’s neck on top of the houppelande.Lord Montague = Lord Montague’s social position in Verona is very much like that of Lord Capulet’s, but he is the exact opposite of Lord Capulet.
He is more self-controlled, quiet, and dignified. He loves his son dearly and worries about Romeo and his strange behavior and his secretiveness. Lord Montague does not appear much in the story and what he wears is not mentioned but from the wealth and his representation as the face of the family, it can be said that wore luxurious clothes. Typically men would wear the tunic with the breeches connecting with their shoes made of black leather. Lord Montague would be wearing a dark red overgarment matching a mantle, a type of cape. A combining lighter blue cotehardie would create the appearance of a skirt which would be held by a belt holding a scabbard for his sword. Golden features would be embroidered on the shirt, the cap, and the leather of the shoes.
Lady Capulet = Lady Capulet, being many years younger than her sixty-year-old husband, is still a young woman. She also has fewer redeeming qualities than he does. She jeers at his age in the presence of others in order to assert her authority over him. Capulet completely disregards her on all occasions thus showing she has no influence over him. She also has a small amount of influence over her daughter; she has had little part in her upbringing and still treats Juliet as a child. Lord Capulet wore a houppelande, tailored so that the gown fit closely across her upper body, while the skirt billowed outward.
She wore a bliaut, another long gown. Although her attitude shows that she could have worn a variety of overgarments, including a light cape called a mantle, and the cote and cotehardie, similar to the ones worn in the earlier Middle Ages. Most of her outfit would have been a dark shade of red with light velvet on her skirt with embroidered silver decorations.Lady Montague = Lady Montague’s character doesn’t appear as much as other characters in the play.
The only scene where she talks the most is when she is stating her happiness that Romeo was not involved in the street fight in the opening scene. Lady Montague is appeared to have a more womanly manner than Lady Capulet. Unlike her opponent, she loves her husband and does not want him to be hurt or to engage in a fray forbidden by the Prince. It is scribed that she dies of sadness when Romeo dies to make her very compassionate to her family. Her attire is very similar to the one of Lady Capulet’s but instead of a houppelande, she would wear a dress with a farthingale curve. She would wear laced ankle-boots, which were often lined with fur and pattens to protect her tight shoes.
Although her hairstyle is not mentioned it could be imagined that she might have worn a hennin since it goes along with the renaissance period.