Tuesday, April 28, 2015
It began as a simple, and subtle gathering of the material of a shirt at the neckline, back when shirts were essentially constructed of rectangles, and close fit had to be achieved with ties. Where it ended up 150 years later was one of the oddest, and most extravagant fashions that has ever been worn by both men and women at the same time. I'm talking about the neck ruff.
In order to close the shirt around the neck, an narrow cord or ribbon was threaded through a channel mounted just near the edge and then pulled to gather it together. The result, was that a narrow frill of fabric stood out above where the cord was located. In short time this frill was made larger, by placing the draw cord further from the neck opening, then it began to be decorated with embroidery, and occasionally beads, or even spangles.