OVERVIEW

Womenswear

Wikipedia summarizes women’s fashion of the period beginning from 1750s, writing:

“Women’s clothing styles retained the emphasis on a narrow, inverted conical torso, achieved with boned stays, above full skirts. Hoop kirts continued to be worn, reaching their largest size in the 1750s, and were sometimes replaced by side-hoops, also called ‘false hips’, or panniers. Court dress had little or no physical comfort with restriction of movement. Full size hoops skirts prevented sitting and reminded those wearing them to stand in the presence of the King. Stays forced a proper standing posture. Garments like these could not be washed often because of the fabrics from which they were made. The Enlightenment produced a backlash against sumptuary laws which asserted a stagnant social hierarchy. During the Enlightenment, court dress stayed almost the same while outside of court dress, fashion became less extravagant and shifted more towards comfort rather than courtly display.”

Of 1770s changes in fashion, Wikipedia writes:

“Women: robe à la française or sack-back gown; robe à l’anglaise or close-bodied gown; the Brunswick; tall hair and headdresses

Men: Waistcoats began to shorten; Macaroni imitators”

“Women’s clothing styles maintained an emphasis on the conical shape of the torso while the shape of the skirts changed throughout the period. The wide panniers (holding the skirts out at the side) for the most part disappeared by 1780 for all but the most formal court functions, and false rumps (bum-pads or hip-pads) were worn for a time.”

Hereditary Prince Friedrich Franz with His Wife Luise

Fig. 1 - George David Matthieu (German, 1737-1778). Hereditary Prince Friedrich Franz with His Wife Luise, 1778. Oil on canvas; 242 x 210 cm. Schwerin: Staatliches Museum Schwerin. Source: Museum Schwerin

The Studious Beauty

Fig. 2 - Designer unknown (London). The Studious Beauty, 1778. Walpole Collection. Source: Pinterest

Women's "Andrienne" dress, Robe à la française

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (possibly French). Women's "Andrienne" dress, Robe à la française, ca. 1775. Taffeta. Florence: Galleria del Costume di Palazzo Pitti, 00000091. Source: Europeana Collections

Robe à la Française

Fig. 4 - Designer unknown. Robe à la Française, ca. 1770. Satin, silk fly braid,; bust approx 86cm (34in). Source: Pinterest

The Queen Dowager Juliane Marie

Fig. 5 - Vigilius Eriksen (Danish). The Queen Dowager Juliane Marie, 1776. Oil on canvas; 301.8 x 212 x 7 cm. Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst. Source: Statens Museum for Kunst

The Music Party

Fig. 6 - Louis Rolland Trinquesse (French, 1745-1800). The Music Party, 1774. Oil on canvas; 194 x 133 cm (76.4 x 52.4 in). Munich: Alte Pinakothek, HUW 37. Source: Wikimedia

Margaret Strachan (Mrs. Thomas Harwood)

Fig. 7 - Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741–1827). Margaret Strachan (Mrs. Thomas Harwood), ca. 1771. Oil on canvas; 78.7 x 62.2 cm (31 x 24 1/2 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 33.24. Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1933. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lady Elizabeth Stanley (1753–1797), Countess of Derby

Fig. 8 - George Romney (British, 1734–1802). Lady Elizabeth Stanley (1753–1797), Countess of Derby, 1776–78. Oil on canvas; 127 x 101.6 cm (50 x 40 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 49.7.57. The Jules Bache Collection, 1949. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portrait of a Woman

Fig. 9 - Joseph Wright (Wright of Derby) (British, 1734–1797). Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1770. Oil on canvas; 126.7 x 101.6 cm (49 7/8 x 40 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986.264.6. Gift of Heathcote Art Foundation, 1986. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Menswear

Of 1770s men’s fashion, Wikipedia writes:

“Throughout the period, men continued to wear the coat, waistcoat and breeches. However, changes were seen in both the fabric used as well as the cut of these garments. More attention was paid to individual pieces of the suit, and each element underwent stylistic changes.Under new enthusiasms for outdoor sports and country pursuits, the elaborately embroidered silks and velvets characteristic of “full dress” or formal attire earlier in the century gradually gave way to carefully tailored woolen “undress” garments for all occasions except the most formal.

In Boston and Philadelphia in the decades around the American Revolution, the adoption of plain undress styles was a conscious reaction to the excesses of European court dress; Benjamin Franklin caused a sensation by appearing at the French court in his own hair (rather than a wig) and the plain costume of Quaker Philadelphia.

At the other extreme was the “macaroni”.

In the United States, only the first five Presidents, from George Washington to James Monroe, dressed according to this fashion, including wearing of powdered wigs, tricorne hats and knee-breeches.The latest-born notable person to be portrayed wearing a powdered wig tied in a queue according to this fashion was Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia (born in 1779, portrayed in 1795).”

Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français

Fig. 1 - Artist unknown. Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français, 1779. Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français. Source: Pinterest

Suit

Fig. 2 - Designer unknown (British). Suit, ca. 1770–80. Wool, silk, cotton. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013.516a–c. Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, 2013. Source: The Met

CHILDREN’S WEAR

References:

Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1770-1779
Rulers:

Map of Europe in 1770s. Source: antiqueprints.com

Events:
  • 1772 – Denis Diderot completed the Encyclopaedia
  • 1774-1793 – Louis XVI of France reigned, Marie Antoinette becomes Queen of France and introduces a series of new fashions.
  • 1774 – Georgiana Cavendish marries the Duke of Devonshire; she will become a trendsetter in English fashion.
  • 1775 – Grand tours to Italy are popular with wealthy European men, who go there to study classical antiquity and to experience polite society.
  • 1776 – The American colonies declared independence
  • 1778 – King George III of England introduces the Windsor uniform; this starts the lasting trend for royalty to wear liveries, conveying the idea of military discipline and duty.

Primary/Period Sources

Resources for Fashion History Research

To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
Have a primary source to suggest?  Or a newly digitized periodical/book to announce?  Contact us!

NYC-Area Special Collections of Fashion Periodicals/Plates
Fashion Periodicals (Digitized)

Instructions for Cutting out Apparel for the Poor, Principally Intended for the Assistance of the Patronesses of Sunday Schools, and Other Charitable Institutions, but Useful in All Families, with a Preface, Containing a Plan for Assisting the Parents of Poor Children ... to Clothe Them ... Published for the Benefit of the Sunday School Children at Hertingfordbury. London, Eng. : Sold by J. Walter, 1789. http://archive.org/details/b2875606x.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 3. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1788. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1911099.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 4. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1789. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1911099.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 2. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1787. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 4. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1789. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 7. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1792. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 13. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1798. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=10.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 14. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1799. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=10.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 1. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1786. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1911099.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 9. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1794. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1911099.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 14. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1799. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1911099.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 3. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1788. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 5. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1790. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 6. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1791. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 8. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1793. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 9. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1794. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 10. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1795. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 11. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1796. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=0.
Journal des Luxus und der Moden. Vol. 12. Weimar: Verl. des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs, 1797. http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jpjournal_00000029?XSL.referer=jportal_jpvolume_00055071&XSL.vol.start=10.

Etiquette Books (Digitized)

Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Eugenia Stanhope, and Philip Stanhope. Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to His Son, Philip Stanhope Esq; Late Envoy Extraordinary at the Court of Dresden: Together with Several Other Pieces on Various Subjects. Dublin: Printed for E. Lynch [etc.], 1774. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008961515.
Courtin, Antoine de. Nouveau Traité de La Civilité, Qui Se Pratique En France Parmi Les Honnêtes Gens. Paris: Durand, 1750. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001921298.
Della Casa, Giovanni. Galateo: Or, A Treatise on Politeness and Delicacy of Manners. London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1774. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000704165.
La Manière de Converser Avec Les Honnestes Gens. Cologne: Schouten, 1701. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011159361.

Secondary Sources

Also see the 18th-century overview page for more research sources… or browse our Zotero library.

Online

Cullen, Oriole. “Eighteenth-Century European Dress.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/eudr/hd_eudr.htm.
Glasscock, Jessica. “Eighteenth-Century Silhouette and Support.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/18sil/hd_18sil.htm.
“Introduction to 18th-Century Fashion.” Victoria and Albert Museum, January 25, 2011. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/i/introduction-to-18th-century-fashion/.
“Looking at Eighteenth-Century Clothing,” n.d. http://www.history.org/history/clothing/intro/clothing.cfm.
Watt, Melinda. “Textile Production in Europe: Silk, 1600–1800.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/txt_s/hd_txt_s.htm.
“The Decoration of Men’s Fashion in Eighteenth-Century France.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2015/elaborate-embroidery.

Books/Articles
Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/759883168.
Blum, Stella, ed. Eighteenth-Century French Fashion Plates in Full Color: 64 Engravings from the “Galerie Des Modes,” 1778-1787. New York: Dover Publications, 1982. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/984499179.
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. Expanded ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1987. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/979316852.
Brown, Susan, ed. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style. New York: DK Publishing, 2012. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/840417029.
Edwards, Lydia. How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/988370049.
Fukai, Akiko, ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century. Köln: Taschen, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/857267477.
Hart, Avril, and Susan North. Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries. London: V&A Publications, 1998. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/170891633.
Hart, Avril, Susan North, Richard Davis, and Leonie Davis. Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2009. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/846177973.
Hill, Daniel Delis. History of World Costume and Fashion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/768100950.
Hollander, Anne. Fabric of Vision: Dress and Drapery in Painting. London: National Gallery, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/930256016.
Ribeiro, Aileen. The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750 to 1820. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/450347616.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/978716760.
Ribeiro, Aileen. The Gallery of Fashion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/500993037.
Ribeiro, Aileen. A Visual History of Costume: The Eighteenth Century. 4. London: Batsford, 1983. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/436095052.
Rodini, Elizabeth, Elissa Weaver, and Kristen Ina Grimes. A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costume in European Art, 1500-1850. Chicago: The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/694844989.
Takeda, Sharon Sadako, Kaye Durland Spilker, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Clarissa Esguerra, and Nicole LaBouff. Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915. New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2010. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/971876353.
Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
Vincent, Susan J., and Peter McNeil, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Age of Enlightenment (1650-1800). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Men’s Clothes, 1600-1900. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1964. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/927414537.
Waugh, Norah, and Margaret Woodward. The Cut of Women’s Clothes, 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/894728161.
Pinterest
“1700-1799 Accessories.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-accessories/.
“1700-1799 Bags & Purses.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-bags-purses/.
“1700-1799 Children’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-childrens-clothing/.
“1700-1799 Fabrics & Textiles.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fabrics-textiles/.
“1700-1799 Fashion Dolls.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fashion-dolls/.
“1700-1799 Footwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-footwear/.
“1700-1799 Headwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-womens-headwear/.
“1700-1799 Jewelry.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-jewelry/.
“1700-1799 Men’s Headwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mens-headwear/.
“1700-1799 Mitts & Gloves.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mitts-gloves/.
“1700-1799 Pockets.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-pockets/.
“1700-1799 Stays & Petticoats.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stays-petticoats/.
“1700-1799 Stomachers.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stomachers/.
“1700-1799 Undated Men’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-mens-clothing/.
“1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Men.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-men/.
“1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Women.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-women/.
“1700-1799 Undated Women’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-womens-clothing/.
“1770 - 1779 A Feminine Fashionable World.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/Lucyfunk123/1770-1779-a-feminine-fashionable-world/.
“1770-1779 Fashion Plates.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1770-1779-fashion-plates/.
“1770-1779 Men’s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1770-1779-mens-fashion/.
“1770-1779 Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1770-1779-portraits-of-women/.
“1770-1779 Women’s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1770-1779-womens-fashion/.
“18th Century Gents 1770s-1790s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/lucindabrant/18th-century-gents-1770s-1790s-fashion/.
“Costume in Art - 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/maellen/costume-in-art-18th-century/.
“Fashion History: 18th Century.” Museum at FIT, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/museumatfit/fashion-history-18th-century/.
“Historic Costume - 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/maellen/historic-costume-18th-century/.
“Style: Rococo, 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/marquiselem/style-rococo-18th-century/.