The highlight of male fashion in the Renaissance, the codpiece rose in size and gradually succumbed to the “peascod” belly.
A codpiece is a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men’s trousers and usually accentuates the genital area. It was an important item of European clothing in the 15th and 16th centuries, worn by Kings, statesmen and warriors, and is still worn in the modern era in performance costumes.
Intended to induce awe
Only briefly in vogue, the codpiece has left a rich legacy in art, literature and in televised costume drama as an ostentatious male symbol of virility.
The 1500s marked the pinnacle of the codpiece. The accessory went from necessity to fashion statement.
Although not anywhere near as popular as they were during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, codpieces are still in evidence today. The entertainment industry has embraced the codpiece in movies such as “Star Wars” and “Batman & Robin,” and bands such as KISS, Jethro Tull, Judas Priest and Alice Cooper have all occasionally incorporated codpieces into their costumes.