English society in the late 17th century
During the Commonwealth the role that the nobles and the gentry played in government and within society had been taken over by soldiers and revolutionary politicians.
During the Restoration the nobles and the gentry returned to their role of leaders of the country.
The upper classes were conformist in Anglican religion; they showed a very strong contraposition against the morality of the Puritans and they favored a more pleasure-loving life style. In fact, Both men and women cared for fashion and paid a lot of attention to appearances concerning both their looks (for example, they all wore wigs and used make up) and the furnishings of their houses (for example using tapestries and ornaments of various types and origin, such as oriental carpets, Dutch paintings, etc.) often copying the fashion that was set by the king Charles II and his court. Many among the middle class hoped in this way to enter the favors of the court and inter-class marriages with the aristocracy were far from uncommon.
On the other hand, because the urban middle and lower classes were non-conformist in religion, they were severely persecuted. Moreover, some parts of society, consisting mostly of traders and merchants, wished for a more modest life style as well as for more individual dignity.