According to Beth Marie Kosir, “The codpiece came into existence during the Middle Ages, became popular during the reigns of the Yorkist monarchs in
[and] attained full prominence during the reign of Henry VIII.” Portraits of Renaissance leaders, such as
Francis I and Emperor Charles V, attest to its global appeal.
The over-sized proportions of Henry VIII’s codpieces support the theory that as a fashion accoutrement, the codpiece represented “a statement of the virility of the individual” (Reed). Acting also as a whimsical sex promotion object, it helped a man establish his rank among other males in competitive royal courts ranging across
The codpiece fell out of favour during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and, unlike many other fashion trends, it is doubtful that it will ever return to common use again.
Kosir, Beth Marie. “Modesty to Majesty: The Development of the Codpiece.” Richard
III Society: American Branch. Web. 22 December 2014.
Reed, C. S. “The Codpiece: Social Fashion or Medical Need?” Internal Medicine
Journal. 2004: 684-686. Print.