Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Were They Wearing? 18th Century


In the 18th century, the clothes were some of the most exquisite, in my opinion.

When people think of the eighteenth century, ROCOCO is what appears in their mind... BIG hair and white faces with wide hipped dresses. However, some people's image of the eighteenth century might be off.

For example, we must start with the corset. The ideal silhouette of the 18th century was a long, triangular waste. The breasts were flattened and the cleavage pushed up. Here's an example look above.

You must keep in mind that fake satin and polyester lace did not exist... Neither did obscene cleavage and a curvy modern silhouette.

Whenever I look at Rococo gowns, I have an eyegasm. They're extremely detailed and elaborate in some cases. Remember, however, the average middle class woman did not wear bright floofy gowns with bows. The dresses of
the middle class women were gorgeous too (look above). The lower classes, however, well, Hollywood has romanticized those.

Then there's the shoes. OMG the SHOES!! they were amazing. There are many amazing examples of these shoes. A lot of the shoes from the 18th century actually still exist and are on display. Google them when you have some free time.

Getting dressed in the eighteenth century was hassle in and of itself but worth it. You had to wear the shift, then your shoes would have to be put on along with your stalkings. Then came the corset, which, depending on what event you were going to and which class you were, would vary in comfort, then, if you were usually going to a ball or special event, there were false hips or just a petticoat. The dress in itself was complicated. There was the silk or cotton petticoat and then the stomacher which had to be pinned to your corset. The dress would then be on and, if you were a woman of modesty, a fichu would be placed around your neck to hide your cleavage. The end result was beautiful and Rococo fashion has stuck with us ever since.