Meretrici Publiche (Prostitutes in Public Places)
Cesare Vecellio’s, Degli Habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo (Clothing, Ancient and Modern, of Various Parts of the World)
Public prostitutes who work in tawdry places don’t have one single style of dress, for though all of them practice the same profession, their varying degrees of success mean that they don’t all put on the same finery. Still, all of them have a garment tending towards menswear, because they wear a doublet of silk or linen or some other fabric, more or less rich depending on what they can afford; and these are decorated with wide strips of trim and padded with cotton, exactly as young men wear them and very similar to the French style of dress.
And next to their skin they wear a man’s camicia, made with as much delicacy and elegance as they can afford. Over this camicia is tied, in hot weather, a short apron of silk or linen, or a long, floor-length one; in cold weather, they wear a short, lined garment either of wool or silk, the best they can afford.
Their pianelle [high platforms for shoes] are more than half a foot high but decorated with fancy trim, and on their legs they wear needle-worked silk or woollen stockings and Roman-style shoes on their feet. Many wear braghesse [underpants] like men’s, made of ormesino or other fabric; and by these signs and also their round beads of silver and their bracelets, they can easily be recognized.
But there is no easy way to describe how they wear their hair, or how they stand at their windows or even more at their doors and in the street, to lure the foolish fellows who pass by into their webs. There they stand, singing love songs clumsily, in keeping with their low status, in loud, raucous voices.