.. wore armored undergarments like the iron “bodies”. Because it was worn only by women of the ruling classes, it is believed these were women of political power who actually needed protection such as armor against people who wished them harm. They were worn with petticoats over them, in thick layers. Layers of jewelry and stiffened lace collars and sleeves were padded to make the woman look imposing.
(Portrait: 1500’s Royalty in Ruffs and Collars to make a woman look BIG. Even the painter made her body masculine and out of proportion to her head)