The Early Mannerist Renaissance period stressed an artificial distortion of the body. The emphasis was on a broad, horizontal, square silhouette for men, and a conical, angular silhouette for women. Padding of the body and slashing were the two main elements defining the fashion of this period. The clothing was excessive, unnatural, and rigid when compared to the previous period of rounded natural forms and a relaxed dignity.

The change in costume can be seen through two items. The codpiece of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century had changed from a covering of the opening at the front of the hose to a stuffed appendage on the front of a man's costume. The slashing and puffing which had a relaxed look in the previous period was changed to tight slits through which linings were forced in a tense, uncomfortable manner.