Women’s Fashions 1700s

Eighteenth Century Fans

Archaeological ruins and ancient texts indicate that fans have long been popular and could be found in ancient cultures. However, once fans were introduced to Europe, they quickly became popular and it was also not long before France became the center for fan design and production. By the eighteenth century, fans in France had reached…

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French Masquerade Ball Costumes in the 1700 and 1800s

There are many descriptions of what people wore in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in France. Some of these descriptions were printed in books about acceptable masquerade ball costumes that could be worn to dances and parties. Descriptions also sometimes included actual fashions worn by peasants, gentlemen, ladies, merveilleuses, incroyables, and nobility. Here are some…

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Animal Fads and Fashions in the 18th and 19th Century

It seems as if animals have always had some effect on fashion. Beavers were all the rage in the 17th century to the point they became decimated in Europe and paved the way for North America to become the premier supplier of beaver pelts. But it was not just beavers that consumers wanted. Other animals…

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The French Pouf

Mademoiselle Marie-Jeanne Bertin, or as she was called at court, “Rose,” gained fame as dressmaker and became known for creating complicated headdresses. These headdresses, also known as “poufs,” were called such because the hair was raised with pads, wool, false hairpieces, and pomade. Bertin’s rise to fame began in a millinery shop where through a…

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The Phrygian Cap or the Cap of Liberty

The phrygian cap — a soft, conical, brimless cap from antiquity — came to be associated with freedom and was adopted as the “Cap of Liberty” during the French Revolution. It was first used as a symbol of liberty on the 8th and 9th of May in 1790 when the red cap adorned a statue…

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Patching or Mouchets

Patching was a strange fashion, and one of the earliest written mentions of the practice in England, “occurs in Bulwer’s Artificial Changeling (1653). ‘Our ladies,’ he complains, ‘have lately entertained a vain custom of spotting their faces, out of an affectation of a mole, to set off their beauty, such as Venus had; and it…

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Georgian Headdresses of the 1770 and 1780s

Between 1770 and 1780 extreme hairstyles and tall headdress were in vogue in France, and these extraordinary super-structures made a distinct fashion statement that is still talked of today. This was because the French considered their hair and its accompanying headdress to be one of the most important articles in a woman’s toilet and they…

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