The French Revolution was the defining event of this decade—politically, socially, and culturally. At the meeting of the Estates General in May 1789, dress became a point of contention and between the fall of the Bastille on July 14 to the end of the Reign of Terror in July 1794, men and women’s clothing was the subject of scrutiny, surveillance, and controversy.

Historian Lynn Hunt argues that “during the Revolution, even the most ordinary objects and customs became political emblems and potential sources of political and social conflict” and clothing was one of the many such “‘signs of rallying’ to one side or another” (Hunt 53). As she further notes, these symbols were not just expressions of a citizen’s political position—“they were the means by which people became aware of their positions” (Hunt 53). Revolutionaries challenged the longstanding eighteenth-century notion that dress should convey socio-economic status and, instead, insisted that it should communicate political sympathies (preferably republican).

Although the Revolution did not introduce new forms of fashionable dress, it strongly influenced attitudes towards clothing and reinforced the trend that emerged in the previous two decades favoring informality and simplicity. In Britain and on the Continent, wools and cottons became more firmly established for men’s daywear and the tailcoat, cut straight across at the waist, replaced the earlier habit and the frock with curved fronts. Women’s dress changed more drastically than men’s during the 1790s. Both white and printed cottons increasingly dominated women’s wardrobes and, by the end of the decade, the columnar white chemise was de rigueur for any woman with pretentions to fashion. In France, the embroidered silks and velvets associated with the Bourbon court would not return until the establishment of the First Empire under Napoleon I in 1804.


At the beginning of the decade, the silhouette closely resembled that of the late 1780s. Gowns were still made as two-piece ensembles with an open robe over a petticoat and styles such as the redingote remained fashionable as did the fitted caraco (jacket bodice) and skirt (Figs. 1-3). New were the long tight sleeves, cut on a curve to fit closely around the elbow, and underpetticoats that replaced the “false bums” of the early-to-mid 1780s created a gently rounded shape. Plain and striped silks and plain and printed cottons were the favorite fabrics for daywear (Figs. 1-4). The horizontal emphasis of hats in the 1780s with wide brims and full crowns was replaced by verticality in the 1790s, although headwear continued to be adorned with an efflorescence of ribbons, feathers, and other. By the end of the decade, one-piece dresses, known as “round gowns” in England and the chemise were dominant (Cunnington 314).
Woman's dress (Redingote)

Fig. 1 - Maker unknown. Woman's dress (Redingote), ca. 1790. Silk and cotton. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2009.120. Purchased with funds provided by Robert and Mary M. Looker. Source: LACMA

Penelope (Rycroft) Lee Acton

Fig. 3 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Penelope (Rycroft) Lee Acton, 1791. Oil on canvas; (93.75 x 58.25 cm in). Los Angeles: The Huntington, 16.1. Source: The Huntington


Fig. 4 - Maker unknown (French). Jacket, ca. 1790. Silk. Kyoto: Kyoto Costume Institute, AC9113 94-11-2. Source: KCI

Self-Portrait with a Harp

Fig. 4 - Rose Adélaïde Ducreux (French, 1761-1802). Self-Portrait with a Harp, 1791. Oil on canvas; 193 x 128.9 cm. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 67.55.1. Bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1966. Source: The Met

Throughout the eighteenth century, fashion responded to political and topical events and, in France, this was widely evident in women’s dress during the Revolution. In September 1789, just two months after the fall of the Bastille, the editor of the Magasin des Modes nouvelles (that would become the Journal de la Mode et du Goût in 1790) wryly observed that, “there can be no doubt that a revolution like the one in France must offer the capital city the inspiration for several new fashions” (quoted in Jones 188). A new bonnet illustrated in the September 21 issue celebrated the union of the three estates (the clergy, the nobility, and the people) (Fig. 5). The tall white gauze “Bonnet aux trois ordres” with a large national tricolor cockade at the side is “embroidered with olive branches in green silk, and trimmed with a band of white taffeta on which are embroidered a cross, a sword, and a spade” (Ribeiro 56). The Marquis de Lafayette is credited with the creation of “this new symbol of national pride” that combined Bourbon white with red and blue, the colors of the city of Paris (Shilliam 109). In November, the publication illustrated a patriotic red, white, and blue striped satin caraco (with its newly stylish narrow peplum at the back) and skirt inspired by the national ribbons that men wore in their buttonholes and that were used to make cockades (Ribeiro 54) (Figs. 6-8). The same plate also depicts shoe buckles in the shape of the towers of the Bastille that was slowly being dismantled.
Magasins des Modes Nouvelles

Fig. 5 - Artist unknown (French). Magasins des Modes Nouvelles, Sept 21, 1789. Paris: Bibliothèque du Mad. Source: Bibliothèque du Mad, Pg. 6

Magasin des modes Nouvelles

Fig. 6 - A.B. Duhamel after Jean Defraine (French). Magasin des modes Nouvelles, vol. IV, no. 33 (November 11, 1789). Hand-colored etching. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Library. Source: University of Michigan Library

Hat (Bicorne)

Fig. 7 - Maker unknown (French). Hat (Bicorne), ca. 1790. Wool felt with silk plain weave ribbon cockade. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2010.33.1. Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson. Source: LACMA

Pair of Mules

Fig. 8 - Maker unknown (French). Pair of Mules, ca. 1792. Romans: Musée de la Chaussure et d’Ethnologie Regionale. Source: Valence Romans

Journal de la Mode et du Goût

Fig. 9 - Artist unknown (French). Journal de la Mode et du Goût, 15 April 1790. Etching. Private Collection. Source: Regency Fashion

Journal de la Mode et du Goût

Fig. 10 - Artist unknown (French). Journal de la Mode et du Goût, 25 August 1790. Etching; 20 x 25.4 cm. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.2030. The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection. Source: MFA Boston

The following year, la mode embraced recent political changes even more enthusiastically. In March, the Journal indicated that women were showing their colors, as it were, by wearing gowns such as the dress à la constitution made of “fine Indian muslin embroidered with tiny, red, white, and blue bouquets” shown in the April 15 issue (Fig. 9 / Ribeiro 58). Women also adopted feminine versions of the red, white, and blue uniform of the National Guard, suitably accessorized with a tricolor cockade and ribbon as seen on a “femme patriote” in the Journal in August 1790 (Fig. 10). The uniform of the National Guard, a citizens’ militia commanded by the Marquis de Lafayette that was set up to keep order during the unrest of mid-July 1789, was “regularized in a decree of 23 July 1790” (Wrigley 64).

In her examination of the Journal, historian Jennifer Jones points to the editor’s reassuring stance towards women’s continued interest in fashion during this tumultuous time that reflected a changing definition of fashion itself in the late eighteenth century by “naturalizing” the relationship between men and women and between women and la mode (Jones 185). During most of the Ancien Régime, a demonstration of luxury (requiring substantial wealth) was the driving force behind one’s self-presentation; however, as the court’s fashion leadership waned in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, taste—a concept that incorporated a wider consumer base—became the guiding principle. Further, “the categories of class, rank, and court etiquette were collapsed onto sex and gender as the primary determinants of fashion” and women’s pursuit of fashion was perceived to be “rooted in their femininity rather than in social etiquette and aristocratic privilege” (Jones 183, 186). In April 1791, a year after the National Assembly had abolished hereditary nobility and the use of aristocratic titles, the Journal informed its elite female readers that, “There only remains, then, for those who wish to play actively and strike the eyes with a lively glitter, the singularity, the richness, and the elegance of one’s costume” (quoted in Jones 186). However, the editor also cautioned women that the “new government does not forbid women to concern themselves with adornment, merely that they combine a certain simplicity with the luxury of the previous times” (quoted in Jones 186). Such “simple” yet “luxurious” costumes were obviously to be found in the pages of the Journal. In November 1792, shortly after the abolition of the monarchy on September 21 and the establishment of a new republican government, the Journal reported that the toilettes of women of distinction conveyed “un air sévère,” perhaps like the ensemble “à l’égalité” (Fig. 11) comprising a matching printed cotton pierrot jacket, skirt and kerchief, worn with a bonnet that was “très à la mode parmi les Républicaines” (very à la mode among Republican women) (quoted in Ribeiro 76-77).

Journal de la Mode et du Goût

Fig. 11 - Artist unknown (French). Journal de la Mode et du Goût, 27th cahier (20 Nov. 1792). New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Source: BGC Visual Media Resources Collection

Club Patriotique de Femmes

Fig. 12 - Jean-Baptiste Lesueur (French, 1749-1826). Club Patriotique de Femmes, 1789-1795. Gouache. Paris: Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris, D.9092. Source: Paris Musées

For some women, however, republican simplicity had its limits. In October 1793, “Citoyenne Raspal,” a dressmaker with premises near the Palais-Royal, advertised her wares in the Journal de Paris including “satin redingotes and douillettes [coats with wadded linings], pelisses trimmed with swansdown… and a chemise ‘à la Républicaine’… with a Roman belt” [costing] 190 livres in silk, and 120 livres in muslin, striped gauze or linen” (quoted in Ribeiro 79). A year later, Raspal advertised again in the same newspaper and her new garments now had fashionably classical descriptors including a chemise “à la Grecque,” a “robe et jupe à la Romaine,” and a “robe ronde à la Diane” (quoted in Ribeiro 79). A broadside for her shop, wisely—and probably only recently-—called “Maison Égalité” from about 1794, includes “redingotes à la républicaine” and “robes rondes à la carmagnole” (a jacket worn by working-class men) as well as “robes économiques” (Low 40-41).

Not all citizens supported the Revolution and some expressed their reservations through their clothing. In April 1790, the Journal de la Mode et du Goût “noted the custom of some ‘aristocrates décidés’ (confirmed aristocrats) to wear full mourning as a sign of their total sympathy with royalty” (Ribeiro 53). And, in February 1792, the editor illustrated a catholic costume (“un costume… catholique”) that demonstrated support for “the clergy who had refused to take an oath of loyalty to the constitution,” decreed in January 1791 (Ribeiro 58). The ensemble consisted of “a red and black pierrot jacket, a white linen skirt… and a bonnet of black trimmed with gold, pearls, diamonds, and an aigrette of white feathers” (Ribeiro 58). However, most of the plates in this periodical between July 1789 and when it ceased publication in 1793 depict fashions that are either nonpolitical or, on the surface, at least, sympathetic to the revolutionary cause.

Although working-class women (like working-class men) were unenfranchised, they were nonetheless active agents in the struggle for political change throughout the Revolution and demonstrated their dedication to the cause by participating in popular uprisings and other forms of protest, attending governmental sessions, and forming clubs (Fig. 12). The most well-known and radical of these was the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women that agitated for the “right to wear a bonnet rouge,” the most potent symbol of the Revolution generally worn by working-class men (Shilliam 123). More moderate women including “market workers, religious women, and…some servants and seamstresses” who had benefited from aristocratic patronage prior to the Revolution vocally opposed this tactic, and the frequent street disturbances between these two groups prompted the National Convention to outlaw all “women’s societies and popular clubs” on October 30, 1793 (Shilliam 123; Levy, Applewhite, and Johnson 213). In its decree, the Convention posed the questions of whether women could “exercise political rights and take an active part in the affairs of the government? Can they deliberate together in political associations of popular societies?” Regarding both of these issues, “the Committee decided in the negative” (quoted in Levy, Applewhite, and Johnson 214).

David’s 1795 portrait of Madame Emilie Sériziat and her son (Fig. 13) illustrates the fashionable female silhouette at the beginning of the Directory (1795-99) following the downfall of Maximilien de Robespierre in June 1794 as well as the changes in the white cotton chemise dress from its introduction in the early 1780s. Rather than the fullness of that decade, Madame Sériziat’s more close-fitting dress has a wide rounded drawstring neckline and gathered bodice, slightly raised waistline accented with a green silk sash, long sleeves buttoned at the wrist, and a softly gathered skirt. The dress has a bib-like opening that fastens at the top of the shoulders and she has tucked a plain white fichu into the front of the bodice. Over her shift (also known as a “chemise” in French), she may be wearing one of the new unboned, high-waisted cotton corsets, although it is possible that the linen bodice lining (seen in many surviving dresses) serves as a bust support (Figs. 14, 15). She also wears a lace-edged cap and a straw hat decorated with a wide silk ribbon and bows matching her sash, tied under her chin with blue ribbons, and her unpowdered, simply styled curly hair reaches her shoulders. Just visible behind the bow on the left side of the hat is the tricolor cockade that was obligatory for women from September 21, 1793 and was still required during the Directory (Ribeiro 77). Since the 1760s, children of both sexes were dressed in short-sleeved white cotton gowns (rather than as miniature versions of their parents) and by the end of the century, portraits and fashion plates show the close similarity between garments worn by adult women and their offspring.

Although English women had been aware of—and often followed—French trends throughout the eighteenth century, this communication was interrupted by the wars between England and France that began in 1793 and, with only a brief cessation of hostilities during the Peace of Amiens in 1802-1803, continued until 1815 when Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo. A year after the Journal de la Mode et du Goût ceased publication, Nicolaus Heideloff introduced his high-end fashion magazine, The Gallery of Fashion (1794-1803). Born in Stuttgart, Heideloff lived in Paris during the early years of his career and, at the outbreak of the French Revolution, he went to London where he spent the next three decades (Metropolitan Museum of Art). While women’s dress in England showed the same shift towards one-piece gowns with high waists in the 1790s, the overall silhouette was considerably fuller than in France. The large-format plates of The Gallery of Fashion illustrate the differences—especially evident at the end of the century—between the rounder shape with more coverage preferred by English women than the revealing dresses of their French counterparts (Figs. 16-18).

Madame Pierre Sériziat, née Émilie Pecoul, sister of Mme David, née Marguerite-Charlotte Pécoul, and one of her sons, Émile, born in 1793.

Fig. 13 - Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Madame Pierre Sériziat, née Émilie Pecoul, sister of Mme David, née Marguerite-Charlotte Pécoul, and one of her sons, Émile, born in 1793., 1795. Oil on wood; 131 x 96 cm. Paris: Musée du Louvre, RF 1282. Source: Louvre


Fig. 14 - Mills Junr. (English). Corset, ca. 1795. Cotton, silk. Providence: RISD Museum, 1987.092. Source: RISD Museum


Fig. 15 - Mills Junr. (English). Corset, ca. 1795. Cotton, silk. Providence: RISD Museum, 1987.092. Source: RISD Museum

Gallery of Fashion

Fig. 16 - Nicolaus Heideloff (German, 1761-1837). Gallery of Fashion, vol. 1 (April 1794- March 1795). Etching and engraving. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 50.611. The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1950. Source: The Met

Gallery of Fashion

Fig. 17 - Nicolaus Heideloff (German, 1761-1837). Gallery of Fashion, vol. 3 (April 1796- March 1797). Etching and engraving. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 50.611.1(3). The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1950. Source: The Met


Fig. 18 - Maker unknown (British). Dress, ca. 1795. Cotton. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983.156. Purchase, Irene Lewisohn and Alice L. Crowley Bequests, 1983. Source: The Met

Trained Gown of Netted Cotton

Fig. 19 - Maker unknown (English). Trained Gown of Netted Cotton, ca. 1798. Cotton. New York: Cora Ginsburg Collection. Source: Cora Ginsburg Catalog, 2020. Pg. 24-25

A rare, yellow netted cotton open robe trimmed with matching satin ribbon dating about 1798 (Fig. 19) reflects the multiple influences on female dress in England during this decade, mixing “classical nostalgia, up-to-the-minute novelty, and a forward-thinking interpretation of the idea of transparency” (DeGregorio 24). Although fashionable netting was used to make accessories during the eighteenth century, in the 1790s, the technique “expanded to encompass full garments, reaching a peak of popularity in the spring and summer of 1798 (DeGregorio 27). Dress historian William DeGregorio notes that this “vogue coincided with the Mediterranean naval battles” between Horatio Nelson and Napoleon Bonaparte that “sparked several fashion and decorating trends in England and France” (DeGregorio 27). However, netted dresses and cloaks seem only to have been worn in the former, “where national pride hinged upon naval supremacy since the time of Elizabeth I” (DeGregorio 27).

Fashion Icon: Emma Hart, Lady Hamilton (1765-1815)

Lady Hamilton as Nature

Fig. 1 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Lady Hamilton as Nature, 1782. Oil on canvas; 75.9 x 62.9 cm. 1908.1.107. Source: Wikimedia

Emma Hart, Lady Hamilton has been the subject of fascination since she emerged as the beautiful muse of the well-known English portrait painter, George Romney, in the mid-1780s (Fig. 1). Following her death in 1815, numerous biographies and, in the twentieth century, films–including Alexander Korda’s 1941 That Hamilton Woman (Fig. 2), starring Vivien Leigh as Emma Hamilton–have told the story of this exceptional woman who rose far above her humble origins. Initially mistress and, from 1791, wife of Sir William Hamilton, “connoisseur of antiquities and Old Master paintings, musician and pioneering volcanologist, whose collections and publications brought him international recognition,” and British envoy to the court of Naples in the late eighteenth century, Emma Hamilton (Fig. 3) subsequently became the mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson—an icon himself at the time.
“Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity,” an exhibition held at the National Maritime Museum, London (2016-2017), explored the complicated and compelling personality of this historical figure with the goal of: “recover[ing] a life of multivalent importance and periodic brilliance… [t]hat merits analysis, not only in its own right, but as a window on the opportunities and restrictions surrounding female achievement in late-eighteenth century European society,” (Colville 9, 11).

As curator Quintin Colville asserts, Emma Hamilton’s affair with the celebrated victor of the Battle of the Nile have often defined her and many histories have presented her “principally as a temptress who captured the affections of Britain’s greatest naval hero” and besmirched “the reputation of a man of such unarguable eminence” (Colville 9). Although she was keenly aware of the impact that her beauty had on those around her—especially powerful men—and was “conscious that it acted as her passport,” Emma was not motivated by pure vanity in her social advancement, a charge of which she was frequently accused (Colville 24). And, despite the many ways in which her life was circumscribed by contemporary societal expectations for women (to which she did not necessarily adhere), she “had significant agency and serious intent” (Colville 25).

Emma Hamilton’s life was characterized by a series of performances—as a model for leading artists (principally Romney but others including Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun),  and, most notably, in her Attitudes that she enacted between about 1786 and 1800 and that brought her widespread acclaim and notoriety (Fig. 4). At the age of 16, Emma Hart (née Amy Lyon), a single mother, became the mistress of Charles Greville, the nephew of Sir William Hamilton, who brought her to Romney’s London studio for the first time in 1782. This young woman who was eager for self-improvement—and willingly submitted to Greville’s tutelage to educate her in the ways and manners of polite society—took advantage of this opportunity, “transforming what could have been a brief engagement into long-standing collaboration and multifaceted artistic education” (Colville 25).

Romney, for his part, was immediately drawn to Emma’s gift for emotional expression and ability to assume theatrical poses that she had learned during a brief stint on the London stage. Over a period of nine years, he would produce over seventy paintings of his “Divine Emma” that range from “society portraits, ‘in character’ representations, rapid ‘unfinished’ sketches… and her portrait incorporated into the subject of history paintings” (Riding 68) (Figs. 5-8). According to curator Christine Riding, “Romney encouraged and nurtured Emma’s talents—which she was to use to such dramatic effect with her famous Attitudes” (Riding 67-68). In his Life of George Romney (1809), the artist’s friend and biographer William Hayley described Emma’s facility for acting:

“Her features, like the language of Shakespeare, could exhibit all the feelings of nature and the gradation of every passion with a most fascinating felicity of expression,” (Riding 63).

Another contemporary, described her as “all Nature, yet all Art” (Seduction and Celebrity 137).

'That Hamilton Woman'

Fig. 2 - Robert Coburn (American, 1900-1990). 'That Hamilton Woman', 1941. Modern bromide print from original negative; 23 x 18 cm. London: National Portrait Gallery, 139689. Given by John Kobal Foundation, 2013. Source: NPG

Lady Hamilton

Fig. 3 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Lady Hamilton, 1791. Oil on canvas; 159.1 x 133.1 cm. Austin: Blanton Museum of Art, 1991.108. Bequest of Jack G. Taylor, 1991. Source: Wikimedia

Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante

Fig. 4 - Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842). Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante, ca. 1790. Oil on canvas; 132.5 x 105.5 cm. Liverpool: National Museums Liverpool, LL 3527. transferred from Lord Leverhulme's private collection, 1922. Source: NML

Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, in a Straw Hat Date

Fig. 5 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, in a Straw Hat Date, ca. 1782-1784. Oil on canvas; 76.2 x 63.5 cm. San Marino: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 24.5. Source: Wikimedia

Portrait of Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton

Fig. 6 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Portrait of Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, ca. 1784. Oil on canvas; 74.9 x 61.6 cm. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2019.651. Gift of the heirs of Bettina Looram de Rothschild. Source: MFA

Emma, Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante

Fig. 7 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Emma, Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante, 18th century. Oil on canvas. Private collection, Philip Mould. Source: Wikimedia

Emma Hart, Lady Hamilton

Fig. 8 - George Romney (British, 1734-1802). Emma Hart, Lady Hamilton, ca. 1782. Oil on canvas; 240.1 x 148.5 cm. Waddesdon: Waddesdon Manor, 104.1995. Loan from Waddesdon (Rothschild Family), 1995. Source: Wikimedia

The Attitudes of Lady Hamilton

Fig. 9 - Pietro Antonio Novelli (Italian, 1729-1804). The Attitudes of Lady Hamilton, ca. 1791. Pen and brown ink on laid paper; 19.7 x 32.2 cm. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1988.14.1. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund. Source: NGA

Although Emma’s identity as Charles Greville’s “kept woman” and Romney’s striking model was widely known in London circles by the time she left the English capital for Naples in 1786 (due to an agreement between Greville and his uncle, Sir William Hamilton), it was in Naples that she would achieve international celebrity through her Attitudes (Fig. 9). Literature historian Gillian Russell notes that:

“The Attitudes were important in Emma’s evolution from a London courtesan to an ‘ambassadress,’ and, ultimately political actor in the court of Naples,” (Russell 39).

Further, although Emma was “was known primarily for her visual image” by the mid-1780s, the Attitudes allowed her to exploit the “aura of her ‘real’ presence, forging a connection or ‘touch’ with the viewer” (Russell 146).

On his visit to Naples in 1787, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe saw Emma perform her Attitudes and his description indicates that she had, by then, already developed the elements of these highly individualized presentations. According to Goethe, Sir William:

“has had a Greek costume made for her [Emma] which becomes her extremely. Dressed in this, she lets down her hair and, with a few shawls, gives so much variety to her poses, gestures, expressions, etc. that the spectator can barely believe his eyes. He sees what thousands of artists would have liked to express realized before him in movements and surprising transformations—standing, kneeling, sitting, reclining, serious, sad, playful, ecstatic, contrite, alluring, threatening, anxious, one pose follows another without a break,” (Russell 147).

Although others who saw Emma’s Attitudes were similarly impressed by her emotionally charged evocations of classical and historical figures:

“spectators repeatedly distinguished between the identity of the performer and the success or beauty of the performance” (Bolton 145).

The Comtesse de Boigne, who, as a child in 1792, had participated in the Attitudes, later acknowledged Emma’s dramatic abilities but summarily dismissed the woman herself:

“She brought the statues of antiquity to life and without servile copying, recalled them to the poetic imaginations of the Italians by a sort of improvisation in action.  Others have sought to imitate the talent of Lady Hamilton; I don’t believe any have succeeded… Outside this instinct for the arts, nothing was more vulgar and common than Lady Hamilton. After she had shed the antique costume to wear ordinary clothes, she lost all distinction,” (Bolton 145).

Notwithstanding their disdain for Emma Hamilton’s “vulgarity,” her Attitudes, performed for private audiences at Sir William’s residence, became a draw for foreigners on the Grand Tour and other elite visitors to Naples (Russell 155).

In 1794, the German artist Friedrich Rehlberg published Drawings Faithfully Copied from Nature at Naples that featured twelve of Lady Hamilton’s much larger repertoire of Attitudes, including a Sibyl, the Muse of Dance, Niobe, and Mary Magdalene (Figs. 10, 11). Three years later, an English translation was published in London under the title Lady Hamilton’s Attitudes, an event excitedly reported in The Morning Post: “Lady Hamilton’s attitudes are at last made public” (quoted in Russell 154). Rehlberg’s drawings illustrate the importance of shawls and Emma’s skillful deployment of them. Although Indian shawls would become the rage as fashion accessories by the mid-to-late 1790s, Emma incorporated them as props from 1787, as Goethe attested:

“She knows how to arrange the folds of her veil to match each mood, and has a hundred ways of turning it into a headdress… [A]s a performance, it’s like nothing you ever saw before in your life,” (Bolton 143).

In 1800, the last year that Emma would perform her Attitudes, the Irish writer Melisina Trench highlighted Emma’s use of “several Indian shawls” in enacting different roles and personae:

“She disposes the shawls so as to form Grecian, Turkish, and other drapery, as well as a variety of turbans. Her arrangement of the turbans is absolute sleight-of-hand, and she does it so quickly, so easily, and so well,” (Russell 147).

Lady Hamilton and Horatio Nelson met briefly in Naples in 1793, but their romantic attachment began in 1798, when Nelson returned to the city following his resounding defeat of the French navy at the Battle of the Nile. By the following year, the affair between Sir William’s beautiful wife and the adulated (and married) Nelson was common knowledge and even tolerated by Emma’s husband. When the three returned to England in 1800, Emma was pregnant with Nelson’s child and their daughter Horatia was born in January 1801 (Figs. 12, 13). Although Nelson’s reputation among the British populace remained untainted by his relationship with Emma, she came under relentless attack and the flattering Romney portraits were superseded by caricatures that critiqued her physical appearance, her morality, and her ulterior motives as Nelson’s love interest (Fig. 14).

Following Sir William’s death in 1803, Emma’s financial situation became precarious and when Nelson, her last protector, was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, it declined further. Without the intervention of these influential men who could shield her from public disgrace, Emma was increasingly ostracized by London society. Destitute, Lady Hamilton died in Calais on January 15, 1815, attended by fourteen-year-old Horatia.  Although Emma has often been judged harshly by successive generations since the early nineteenth century, her biographer Kate Williams asserts that:

“[Emma’s] early self-representations retained their impact: the Attitudes, the poses, the allure—and, most of all, the sheer power of her skillfully variable self-creation.” (247) 

Emma, Lady Hamilton, in a Classical Pose

Fig. 10 - Frederick Rehberg (German, 1758-1835). Emma, Lady Hamilton, in a Classical Pose, 1794. Engraving; 23 x 30 cm. London: Royal Museums Greenwich, PAD3221. Source: RMG

Lady Hamilton II

Fig. 11 - Friedrich Rehberg (German, 1758-1835). Lady Hamilton II, ca. 1794. Etching; 32.5 x 26 cm. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970.613.25. Purchase, Florance Waterbury Bequest, 1970. Source: Wikimedia

Emma, Lady Hamilton

Fig. 12 - Johann Heinrich Schmidt (German, 1749-1829). Emma, Lady Hamilton, 1800. Pastel on paper; 46.3 x 39.5 cm. London: Royal Museums Greenwich, PAJ3940. Source: RMG

Horatio Nelson (1758 -1805), Vice Admiral of the White

Fig. 13 - Johann Heinrich Schmidt (German, 1749-1829). Horatio Nelson (1758 -1805), Vice Admiral of the White, 1800. Pastel on paper; 46 x 39.3 cm. London: Royal Museums Greenwich, PAJ3939. Source: RMG

Lady H Attitudes

Fig. 14 - Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827). Lady H Attitudes, ca. 1810s. Etching with aquatint; 23.7 x 17 cm. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, E.122-1952. Given by Michael Sadleur. Source: V&A


Like women’s dress, men’s daywear fashions of the early 1790s were similar to those of the preceding decade. Three-piece suits comprising single- or double-breasted coats with standing or turned-down collars (the latter known as a frock, or fraque) fitted closely to the body with long tight sleeves and cutaway fronts, single- or double-breasted waistcoats cut straight across, and slim breeches were in vogue. In addition to solid-colored often dark wools, striped silks were popular for men as well as women (Figs. 1, 2).

In France, after July 1789, the Magasin des Modes nouvelles discussed the impact of the political upheaval on men’s dress. Although the forms of their suits remained the same, colors took on new meanings, as was the case with women’s clothing. A striped tricolor cotton coat in the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Fig. 3) was presumably worn by a firm supporter of the Revolution, and the national cockade that appeared on women’s headwear was also worn by men. In October 1789, the Magasin des Modes nouvelles insisted that “The national cockade… is worn, or should be, by absolutely all the men of the capital who can be called to bear arms”—that is, those who were eligible to join the National Guard (Fig. 4 / quoted in Chrisman-Campbell 273). The cockade was obligatory for all men following a decree of July 5, 1792 (Hunt 59). A plate from April 1790 (Fig. 5) shows a “demi-converti” (half-converted) in a red coat, black waistcoat, breeches, stockings, hat and buckled shoes. This young no longer titled aristocrat is beginning to accustom himself to the new constitution, although he is not fully in favor of the current changes (Ribeiro 54). The text accompanying the plate describes his ensemble as “half-mourning,” referring to the aristocrats who lamented “the diminished powers of the monarchy and [signaled] their willingness to die for the royal cause” (Ribeiro 53-54).

Coat and Vest

Fig. 1 - Maker unknown (French). Coat and Vest, 1790-1795. Los Angeles: LACMA. Source: LACMA


Fig. 2 - French. Ensemble, ca. 1790. Silk, cotton. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.2010.33.1. Purchased with funds provided by Michael and Ellen Michelson. Source: LACMA

Man's Coat

Fig. 3 - Maker unknown (French). Man's Coat, 1789-1791. Paris: Musée de la Mode et du Textile, UF 55-75-1. Source: MAD

Journal de la mode et de gout

Fig. 4 - Artist unknown. Journal de la mode et de gout, no. 7 (April 25, 1790): Plate 1. Source: Pinterest

Journal de la Mode et du Goût

Fig. 5 - Artist unknown (French). Journal de la Mode et du Goût, 15 April 1790. Etching. Private Collection. Source: Regency Fashion

Waistcoats that were increasingly the focal point of the suit when worn with solid-colored coat and breeches also demonstrated political sympathies. A rare surviving example “with revolutionary symbolism must have belonged to a noble convert to the cause [who] declared his allegiance to the Revolution—whether real or feigned” (Fig. 6 / Chrisman-Campbell 275). The waistcoat is embroidered in petit point with an all-over tricolor diamond pattern and trimmed with bands of black-and-white plush on the center front edges and around the hem. Two embroidered inscriptions on the pockets proclaim L’Habit ne fait pas le moine (‘The habit does not make the monk”) and Honi soit qui mal y pense (medieval French for “Shame on him who thinks evil of it” and the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter) (Chrisman-Campbell 277). As dress historian Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell notes, rather than the implied “don’t judge a book by its cover” conveyed by the first message, “the wearer is clearly issuing an invitation to do just that” (Chrisman-Campbell 277). The second saying suggests an affinity not only with English masculine styles that had been influential since the 1770s, but also with “a larger ideological movement” (Chrisman-Campbell 278). The caterpillar (Fig. 7 / to be “en chenille” indicated casual dress), the butterfly and scissors (suggesting the sacrifice of finery), the word “charmant” that is embroidered twice around the collar, and the green silk lining (green was the color of the Comte d’Artois, Louis XVI’s younger brother) all complicate our interpretation of the wearer’s political sympathies (Chrisman-Campbell 278). The possibility for clothing to mask a citizen’s true allegiances—to the Revolution or the monarchy—was a constant source of unease, discussion, and even physical confrontation among revolutionary leaders and the populace.

The politically correct simplicity of male dress during the Revolution is evident in Jean-Louis Laneuville’s 1793-94 portrait of Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac (Fig. 8), a member of the National Convention and the Committee of Public Safety that ruled France during the Terror, and exemplifies the revolutionaries’ belief that “dress revealed something about the person” (Hunt 82). His tailcoat with a high turned-down collar and wide lapels, double-breasted waistcoat with lapels, and fall-front breeches are all made of solid-colored wools; his white linen shirt has a fashionably high collar with its top edges just visible over his checked cotton cravat and a plain frill; and his hair is unpowdered. The folded papers under his right hand refer to the trial and sentencing of “Louis Capet” (a dismissive reference to the king’s dynastic lineage) that took place in January 1793. As art historian Amy Freund notes, Laneuville’s portrait of Barère is typical of the artist’s style during the Revolutionary years and “the illusion of immediacy and transparency fostered by these visual strategies suited Revolutionary notions of the politically engaged self” (Freund 332).


Fig. 6 - Maker unknown (French). Vest, 1789-1794. Linen canvas with silk needlepoint. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2007.211.1078. Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne. Source: LACMA


Fig. 7 - Maker unknown (French). Vest, 1789-1794. Linen canvas with silk needlepoint. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2007.211.1078. Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne. Source: LACMA

Portrait of Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac

Fig. 8 - Jean-Louis Laneuville (French). Portrait of Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac, 1793-1794. Oil on canvas; 130 x 97 cm. Munich: Neue Pinakothek. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pierre Sériziat (1757-1847), brother-in-law of the artist.

Fig. 9 - Jacques-Louis France David (French, 1748-1825). Pierre Sériziat (1757-1847), brother-in-law of the artist., 1795. Oil on wood; 129 x 96 cm. Paris: Musée du Louvre, RF 1281. Source: Louvre

Presumed portrait of Robespierre

Fig. 10 - Louis-Léopold Boilly (French). Presumed portrait of Robespierre, ca. 1791. Oil on canvas; 41 x 32.5 cm. Lille: Palais Beaux-Arts Lille. Source: PBA

More stylish than the austere Barère is Pierre Sériziat in his 1795 portrait by David (Fig. 9), pendant to the artist’s depiction of his wife Emilie Sériziat (Fig. 13 in womenswear). His Anglo-inflected ensemble includes a “jockey” hat (accessorized with the requisite national cockade), English-style riding boots, and a whip. He also wears a brown wool double-breasted coat with a high turned-down collar and wide lapels, double-breasted white waistcoat, long close-fitting buckskin breeches (David has painted the small creases under his right knee) with a fall front and ties at the knee, and white silk stockings. His hair is lightly powdered and his immaculate white linen shirt, tied with a matching cravat, has a deep frill. He carries a pair of leather gloves and next to him on the rock is his greatcoat with a gold-edged collar.

In contrast to Barère’s understated, almost severe, appearance, Maximilien de Robespierre (Fig. 10), a member of the radical Jacobin Club, the Paris Commune, and the Committee of Public Safety and one of most powerful men in France between 1792 and 1794, was known for his adherence to Ancien régime dress. In his portrait by Louis-Léopold Boilly, Robespierre’s powdered wig, silk habit, frilled shirt, and breeches fastened with jeweled buckles would seem to be those of a royalist sympathizer than the ruthless revolutionary who was known as “The Incorruptible” for his unswerving commitment to the Revolution (Fig. 10). And, in fact, it was this devotion to the cause that excused Robespierre’s showy dress since he was perceived as a bridge between the politically empowered bourgeois deputies and the ardently anti-monarchical unenfranchised classes.

Jacobin Knitters

Fig. 11 - Pierre Étienne Lesueur (French). Jacobin Knitters, ca. 1790-1793. Paris: Musée Carnavalet. Source: Flickr

The dress of both Barère and Robespierre is very different from that worn by working-class men, the so-called sans-culottes (literally, without breeches) that constituted the closest thing to a popular uniform (Fig. 11), especially during the most violent years of the Revolution between the fall of the monarchy in September 1792 and the executions of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in January and October 1793, respectively, and the end of the Reign of Terror. In addition to trousers that set the sans-culottes apart from men of the middle and upper classes (who continued to wear breeches until the early years of the nineteenth century), a red wool jacket, called a carmagnole, wooden clogs, and the red wool cap, the bonnet phrygien or bonnet rouge were sartorial signifiers of hardcore revolutionaries. Although the bourgeois members of the successive Revolutionary governments depended on the support of the radical working classes for their power, they did not go so far as to adopt their clothing on a regular basis. To show solidarity with the urban popular classes, some deputies wore sans-culottes dress at the casts-of-thousands festivals that were held to commemorate important Revolutionary events (the storming of the Bastille), to celebrate military successes, and to instill correct political and anti-clerical ideology in the nation’s citizens (such as the Festival of the Supreme Being in June 1794). Louis-Léopold Boilly recorded the actor François Chénard in sans-culottes dress (Fig. 12) that he wore to the te Civique on October 14, 1792 that marked the annexation of Savoy by the Revolutionary armies (Fig. 13).
Portrait du chanteur Simon Chenard (1758-1832), en costume de sans-culotte, porte-drapeau lors de la fête en l'honneur de la liberté de la Savoie, le 14 octobre 1792

Fig. 12 - Louis Léopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845). Portrait du chanteur Simon Chenard (1758-1832), en costume de sans-culotte, porte-drapeau lors de la fête en l'honneur de la liberté de la Savoie, le 14 octobre 1792, ca. 1792. Oil on wood; 33.5 x 25.4 cm. Paris: Musée Histoire De Paris Carnavalet, P8. Source: Musée Histoire De Paris Carnavalet

Sans-culottes ensemble

Fig. 13 - Maker unknown (French). Sans-culottes ensemble, ca. 1790. Cotton plain weave. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2010.205. Purchased with funds provided by Phillip Lim. Source: LACMA

Self Portrait

Fig. 14 - Jacques-Louise David (French, 1748-1825). Self Portrait, 1794. Oil on canvas; 81 x 64 cm. Paris: Musée du Louvre, INV 3705. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although freedom of dress was declared a right by the National Convention on October 29, 1793, the question of clothing and the potential for its subversion continued to plague Revolutionary leaders, and even towards the end of the Directory, in 1798, the ruling government considered “the possibility of punishing those who did not wear the national cockade” (Hunt 81). Between 1789 and 1794 when outward signs—especially clothing—became invested with political significance, “dress was… politically transparent” (Hunt 82). This preoccupation led the Committee of Public Safety to commission designs for both civil and official clothing from the leading artist, Jacques-Louis David (Fig. 14) in May 1794 (shortly before Robespierre was removed from power and guillotined). His revolutionary credentials (deputy, member of the Jacobin Club, friend of Robespierre, and regicide) as well as his strong interest in clothing manifested in his work for the theatre and the festivals made him the perfect choice to remake the character of the French people through a national costume that would be “more appropriate to republican and revolutionary character” (Figs. 15, 16 / Hunt 75-76). David’s designs for civil clothing drew on classical antiquity, more recent historical periods, and theatrical costume (Hunt 76). As Lynn Hunt stresses, David’s designs deliberately avoided sans-culottes dress: “The leveling, if it was to take place, was to take place upward and not downward” and officials’ clothing should identify them as distinct from the general population (76-77). As she also notes, David’s project to re-dress his fellow citoyens involved:

“two contradictory principles… On the one hand, the deputies of representatives of the people were supposed to be… just like them, because part of them… On the other hand, the representatives were obviously other, different, not like the people exactly because they were the teachers, the governors, the guides of the people.” (Hunt 77)

After the downfall of Robespierre, the issue of civilian dress disappeared, but that of official costume still concerned legislators and, in November 1797, the government of the Directory agreed on a costume that was to be worn by all deputies comprising “a ‘French’ coat of ‘national blue,’ a tricolor belt, a scarlet cloak à la grecque, and a velvet hat with tricolor aigrette” (Hunt 77, 79). When this uniform was finally adopted in February 1798, the response was unenthusiastic. The editor of the Moniteur found that “this great quantity of red clothing fatigues the eyes extremely; yet it must be admitted that this costume has in it something beautiful, imposing and truly senatorial” (quoted in Hunt 80). Bouquerot de Voligny (Fig. 17), a member of the Council of Ancients (one of the governing bodies of the Directory), proudly sat for his portrait in the full splendor of this decidedly distinctive official costume with its “quite noble and picturesque” elements as well as its “theatrical air” that were remarked on by a foreign visitor to Paris (Fig. 18 / quoted in Hunt 80).

Civic Costume Project – Habit of a French Citizen

Fig. 15 - Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Civic Costume Project – Habit of a French Citizen, 1794. Paris: RMN-Grand Palais. Source: L'Histoire par L'Image

Civic Costume Project – Habit of a Legislator

Fig. 16 - Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Civic Costume Project – Habit of a Legislator, 1794. Paris: RMN-Grand Palais. Source: L'Histoire par L'Image

Thomas André Marie Bouquerot de Voligny (1755-1841), député de la Nièvre au Conseil des Anciens, portrait en grand uniforme de membre du Conseil des Anciens

Fig. 17 - Artist unknown (French). Thomas André Marie Bouquerot de Voligny (1755-1841), député de la Nièvre au Conseil des Anciens, portrait en grand uniforme de membre du Conseil des Anciens, ca. 1798-1799. Oil on canvas. Vizille: Musée de la Révolution Française. Source: Wikimedia Commons

'The People's Representative' Coat

Fig. 18 - Maker unknown (French). 'The People's Representative' Coat, ca. 1798. Wool. Paris: Palais Galliera, GAL 1972.26.1. Source: Palais Galliera


A well-known print by Alexis Chataignier dating to about 1797 sums up the swift changes that occurred in French society and dress at the end of the eighteenth century (Fig. 1). On the right, an Ancien régime couple in elaborate court attire of silks, embroidery, lace, powdered hair and wig, corset, hoop, buckled shoes, sword and fan (the quintessential accessories of former male and female elegance), recoil in horror from the (clearly) younger couple they have just encountered, exclaiming “Oh! Quelle folie que la nouveauté…” (Oh! What folly is novelty). For their part, the Incroyable and Merveilleuse are highly amused by the outdated modes of the “antiquated” man and woman on the other side of the Revolutionary divide whom the Merveilleuse scrutinizes with her spy glass. The no-less-exaggerated garb of these fashionistas of the Directory include (on him) a square-cut coat with even skirts and wide lapels, chin-covering cravat, long tight breeches fastened with ties rather than buckles, a walking stick, flat pointed shoes, shoulder-length unpowdered curls, and a bicorn hat, and (on her) a high-waisted trained gown with shocking elbow-baring sleeves, equally flat pointed shoes with ribbon ties (Fig. 2), and no sign of understructure.
Pair of Shoes

Fig. 2 - Maker unknown (British). Pair of Shoes, 1790s. Leather. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, T.481&A-1913. Source: V&A

Ah! Quelle antiquité!!!

Fig. 1 - Alexis Chataignier (French, 1772-1817). Ah! Quelle antiquité!!!, 1797. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, ark:/12148/btv1b84127842. Source: BNF Gallica

The dress of the Incroyables (Fig. 3) “can be seen as one those manifestations of masculine defiance against… sartorial uniformity;” however, its association with royalist sympathies meant that it was also a political signifier during the still-fraught years of the Directory, when revolutionaries and monarchists vied for political control that sometimes erupted into street violence (Ribeiro 122). In her memoirs, the Marquise de Créquy recalled the “almost impossible to describe” Incroyables:

“with their square-cut coats and their hounds’ ears locks of hair. Just imagine—they wore medallions, lorgnettes, chains, ear-rings, cameos, and had their cadenenttes [the hair looped up at the back] caught up with a comb. They had the most ridiculous stockings you have ever seen, for they were striped across so as to make large coloured rings round their legs. They also surrounded their necks with an extraordinary style of cravat.” (Fig. 4 / quoted in Waugh/Men 109-110)

Satirical print

Fig. 3 - Louis Darcis (French). Satirical print, 1796. Stipple printed in color; 30.6 x 35.5 cm. London: The British Museum, 1874,0711.835. Source: The British Museum


Fig. 4 - Maker unknown (French). Coat, 1790s. Silk and cotton. Los Angeles: LACMA, M.2007.211.802. Purchased with funds provided by Suzanne A. Saperstein and Michael and Ellen Michelson, with additional funding from the Costume Council, the Edgerton Foundation, Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer, Maureen H. Shapiro, Grace Tsao, and Lenore and Richard Wayne. Source: LACMA

The Incredible March

Fig. 5 - Louis-Léopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845). The Incredible March, ca. 1797. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Source: La Tribune de l'Art

The four years of the Directory have been characterized as a period of social flux, headiness, venality, and corruption. After the political repression and guillotining of thousands of men and women throughout France during the Reign of Terror, Parisians reacted by engaging in a flamboyant lifestyle and a full-on return to the pursuit of fashion. Art historian Susan Siegfried’s examination of the works of Louis-Léopold Boilly reveals his (and the wider contemporary) fascination with the different urban types seen on the streets of Paris and the jostling for power among the nouveaux riches, former nobles, and returning émigrés (Fig. 5). Although the Tableau Général du Goût, des Modes et Costumes de Paris that appeared in 1797, signaling a return of the fashion press, claimed that manners and attention to dress were once again acceptable for polite society, critics like Louis-Sébastien Mercier, visitors to Paris, and caricatures commented on men’s slovenly appearance, the scantiness of women’s attire, and the dissipation on view at both private and public gatherings (Figs. 6, 7).

Costumes de Différent Pays, 'Français et Françaises.'

Fig. 6 - Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauvuer (French, 1757-1810). Costumes de Différent Pays, 'Français et Françaises.', ca. 1797. Hand-tinted engraving on paper; 26.3 x 18.3 cm. Los Angeles: LACMA, Inv. Nr. M. 83.190.2. Source: AKG Images

La Bouillotte

Fig. 7 - Jean François Bosio (French, 1764-1827). La Bouillotte, 1804. Engraving; 42.7 x 54.9 cm. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, RP-P-OB-103.747. Source: Rijksmuseum

Jean-Nicolas Demeunier, a former deputy who had returned to Paris from America where he had emigrated in 1797, described the unrecognizable city to a friend:

“[There were] scintillating parties at which the whole splendor of Greek and Roman fashion was revealed to perfection. How little resemblance there is between this Paris under its new administration and that of the Revolution! Balls, spectacles, and fireworks have replaced prisons and revolutionary committees… The court ladies have disappeared; the newly rich have taken their place and are surrounded… by courtesans who compete with them in extravagance and extreme fashion. These sirens are surrounded in turn by a swarm of fools, who used to be called petits-maîtres and are now known as merveilleux. They talk of politics as they dance, and express their longing for the return of the monarchy as they eat ices or watch fireworks with affected boredom.” (quoted in Willms 94)

Demeunier’s assessment of the transformation of Parisian society and its post-Thermidorean lifestyle (Fig. 8) is one of many similar responses to those who lived in or visited the French capital.

Salon During the Directoire

Fig. 8 - Jean François Bosio (French, 1764-1827). Salon During the Directoire, 1795-1799. Source:

Portrait of Constance Pipelet

Fig. 9 - Jean-Baptiste-François Desoria (French, 1758-1832). Portrait of Constance Pipelet, 1797. Oil on canvas; 130 x 99.1 cm. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1939.533. Simeon B. Williams Fund. Source: Art Institute of Chicago

Portrait of Madame de Verninac

Fig. 10 - Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Portrait of Madame de Verninac, 1799. Oil paint; 145.5 x 112 cm. Paris: Musée du Louvre, RF 1942-16. Donations Carlos de Beistegui, princesse Louis de Croÿ, Hélène et Victor Lyon. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The ever-more-revealing chemise reflected the increasing influence of classical antiquity in the last years of the eighteenth century. Jean Baptiste François Désoria’s 1797 portrait of Constance Pipelet (Fig. 9) and Jacques-Louis David’s 1799 depiction of Henriette de Verninac (née Delacroix / Fig. 10) illustrate the changes in this gown that had occurred in the few years since David painted Madame Sériziat (Fig. 13 in womenswear). Seated on an appropriately classicizing chair, Pipelet’s unadorned white cotton chemise has a rounded drawstring neckline, softly gathered bodice and skirt, waistline placed directly under the bust, and short tight sleeves, like the merveilleuse in Chataignier’s print (Fig. 1). Her short, tousled curls à la Titus are tied with a narrow red silk ribbon (Ribeiro 127). Madame de Verninac, also seated on an antique-inspired chair, wears a sleeveless chemise that exposes more of her chest and her full arms. Her sole ne plus ultra accessory that was requisite for a woman of fashion and communicated her wealth is an expensive mustard-colored Indian shawl with narrow palmette borders (Fig. 11). Introduced into England in the 1780s by men who had traveled to India, these finely woven cashmere shawls were brought back to France by soldiers who had participated Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign from 1798 to 1799.

In 1798, the Journal des Dames et des Modes (1797-1839) that would become the most influential French fashion periodical of the early nineteenth century illustrated a sleeveless dress, dubbed “à la prêtresse” worn with knitted silk sleeves. The text accompanying a 1798 plate in the Tableau Général du Goût shows a sleeveless chemise with knitted “flesh-colored” sleeves that were reportedly relegated to theatre corridors (Fig. 12); the few women who preferred knitted sleeves to “nudity” wore white ones. Josephine du Pont who emigrated to the United States with her husband Victor Marie du Pont in 1795 was back in France in 1798, from where she wrote to Margaret Manigault, her friend in Charleston, often describing the latest fashions in detail. In Paris in December, she reported that “The women who do not leave their arms bare resort to silk sleeves held in place by very small fichus [bands]” (quoted in Low 46). She also commented on the body-revealing aspect of chemises and the ideal physique needed to appear alluring:

“Rounded figures are required; the women eat heavily to fatten themselves. You can imagine how attractive one must be to stand a dress without a single bit of lace around it, although one can keep from looking indecent by the way it is made.” (quoted in Low 46)

Many caricatures from the turn of the nineteenth century satirize not only the sheerness of muslin gowns but less-than-suitable female bodies that are excessively thin or fat.


Fig. 11 - Artist unknown (Indian). Shawl, 1800-1820. Wool, silk. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.39.13.36. Gift of Mr. Lee Simonson, 1939. Source: The Met

Tableau général du goût, des modes et costumes de Paris

Fig. 12 - Artist unknown (French). Tableau général du goût, des modes et costumes de Paris, October 1798. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 12148/ bpt6k311724g. Source: BNF Gallica

A young unidentified woman (also seated on a understated chair and accessorized with a shawl) painted by a follower of David around 1798 (Fig. 13) displays the most exaggerated version of neoclassical dress evoked by Louis-Sébastien Mercier in his description of public balls a few years earlier:

“Here lighted lustres reflect their splendour on beauties dressed à la Cléopatre, à la Diane, à la Psyché; there, a smoky lamp sheds its oily beams on a troop of washerwomen who dance in wooden shoes, with their muscadins, to the noise of some sorry scraper. I know not whether these dancers have any great affection for the republican forms of the Grecian governments, but they have modelled the form of their dress after that of Aspasia [fifth century BC Greek courtesan and mistress of Pericles]; bare arms, naked breasts, feet shod with sandals, their hair turned in tresses around their heads by modish hairdressers, who study the antique busts. Guess where are the pockets of these dancers? They have none; they stick their fan in their belt, and lodge in their bosom a slight purse of morocco leather in which are a few spare guineas. As to the ignoble handkerchief, it is in the pocket of some courtier, to whom they address themselves in case of need. The shift has long been banished, as it seemed only to spoil the contours of nature; and besides it was an inconvenient part of dress… The flesh-coloured knit-work silk stays, which stuck close to the body did not leave the beholder to divine, but perceive every secret charm. This is what was being called being dressed à la sauvage, and the women dressed in this manner during a rigorous winter, in spite of frost and snow.” (quoted in Ribeiro 124, 127)

An English satirical print, entitled “Parisian Ladies in their Winter Dress for 1800,” (Fig. 14) illustrates a group of women whose faces are almost entirely concealed by their drooping curls but whose individual shapes are fully visible through their transparent gowns.

Portrait of a Young Women in White

Fig. 13 - Circle of Jacques-Louis David (French). Portrait of a Young Women in White, ca. 1798. Oil on canvas; 125.5 x 95 cm. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1963.10.118. Chester Dale Collection. Source: NGA

Parisian Ladies in their winter dress for 1800

Fig. 14 - Artist unknown (British). Parisian Ladies in their winter dress for 1800, 1799. Engraving; 39 x 36 cm. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, PC 1 - 9457 (A size) [P&P]. Source: LOC

As Mercier indicates, these narrow clinging gowns did not allow for serviceable pockets that would interrupt the fluid line of neoclassical dress. The tied-on pockets previously worn underneath full skirts and hoop petticoats that had served to hold a variety of belongings disappeared; instead, women carried small bags called reticules, or ridicules “that hung from the wrist” or larger versions called balantines that were suspended at the high waist. (Ribeiro 132). In September 1799, the Tableau Général du Goût declared that pockets were “banished” from the trousseau of a pretty woman and that a small money purse, a spyglass, a handkerchief, and a novel were all one needed in the new “sac”. A few weeks later, the editor pronounced that bags like the pink one carried by the woman in a sleeveless chemise were integral to a fashionable toilette, noting that “one can leave a husband, a lover, never the bag; it is the indivisible companion of our beautiful women, the faithful depository of their secret thoughts” (Tableau Général du Goût). According to the editor of the Journal des Dames et des Modes, women could choose among many occasion-specific versions of these new accessories that included “des ridicules du matin, des ridicules de sociétés, des ridicules de bal, des ridicules de spectacle” (quoted in Ribeiro 131).
Fashion Plate Showing a Woman in Empire Period dress and Jewelry

Fig. 15 - Artist unknown (French). Fashion Plate Showing a Woman in Empire Period dress and Jewelry, ca. 1800. Paris: Musée de la Mode and du Costume. Source: Artstor

Journal des dames et des modes

Fig. 16 - Artist unknown (French). Journal des dames et des modes, 1799, plates 135-136. New York: The Morgan Library & Museum. Source: Style Revolution: Journal des dames et des modes

Journal des Dames et des Modes

Fig. 17 - Artist unknown (French). Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1798-1700. Source: KDD & Co

Journal des dames et des modes

Fig. 18 - Artist unknown (French). Journal des dames et des modes, plate 94 (20 Feb. 1798). New York: The Morgan Library & Museum. Source: Style Revolution: Journal des dames et des modes

New forms of jewelry were also introduced in the late eighteenth century to compliment the overall simplicity of neoclassical dress. Like fashionable hats, shoes, and shawls, jewelry expressed the wearer’s personal taste and her wealth (Figs. 15, 16). Combs and bandeaux decorated long or short hair, bracelets were worn not only at the wrist as previously but now adorned the upper arm, and necklaces included a variety of chokers and long chain necklaces. Two 1799 plates from the Journal des Dames et des Modes illustrate short necklaces, hoop earrings, medallions, and hair pins. The extensive use of “cameos, engraved gems, and semi-precious stones like turquoise” reflected the vogue for classical antiquity that was at its height around 1800 (Ribeiro 132).

Perhaps one of the most striking changes for women at the turn of the nineteenth century was the rage for short hair and short-haired wigs (Figs. 9, 12, 15, 17 / Ribeiro 132). Upon her arrival in Bordeaux in July, Josephine du Pont compared herself to the “merveilleuses” with her blond wig, hat or bonnet, flat shoes, and a “robe hiked at the side,” and was not “absolutely displeased with the effect” (quoted in Low 43). From Paris the following month, she reported on the fashion for Titus hairstyles for men (like that worn by her husband) and for women: “this fashion is extremely convenient, especially when we have a wig for the sake of variety” (quoted in Low 45). In December, she once again referred to the “Titus hairdos, or crops [that] are coming into vogue” and the “little blond wigs, which invariably take ten years off the age of the wearer [that] are the most popular” (quoted in Low 45). The young woman “à la promenade” in the Tableau Général du Goût plate (Fig. 12) wears a blonde wig “à la Nayade;” in the accompanying text, the editor reports on women’s current affinity for wigs and indicates that they change the color of their hair every day, just as they change their gowns (37).

In 1799, the Journal des Dames et des Modes illustrated an arm-in-arm couple out for a walk, seemingly on their way into the nineteenth century (Fig. 18). Depicted from the back, their slender silhouettes are a long way from the breadth that characterized the fashionable shape for most of the eighteenth century, particularly for women. Attached to the side of the woman’s straw bonnet is a long lace veil, a point of fashion noted by the editor (Journal des Dames et des Modes). Her blue wool “spencer,” as it was known in France, is a type of outerwear recently adopted by women on both sides of the Channel. Named for George Spencer, 2nd Earl of Spencer, whose coattails were reputedly torn off during a hunting accident, this garment provided additional warmth at a time when sheer cotton dresses were worn year-round. The wool fabric and understated tailoring of this spencer reflect the influence of masculine dress, but fashion plates and surviving examples attest to the seasonal use of silks, velvets, and sturdy cottons and, increasingly, applied decoration on the fronts, sleeves, and collar. Although women also began to wear full-length coats in the early nineteenth century, spencers remained in vogue until the mid-to-late 1820s when the high waistline returned to its natural placement. The couple’s flat-soled ribbon-tied shoes and boots share the needle-pointed toes that were at their most exaggerated around 1800.


Leading into the eighteenth century, new philosophies emerging from the Age of Enlightenment were changing attitudes about childhood (Nunn 98). For example, in his 1693 publication, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke challenged long-held beliefs about best practices for child-rearing. A slightly later child development theorist was Jean Jacques Rousseau. Locke and Rousseau both put forward general principles about children’s dress. However, it was not until the 1760s that their ideas were clearly reflected in children’s wear (Paoletti).

Locke and Rousseau advocated that young children receive more regular hygiene. They also believed that dressing children in many layers of heavy fabrics was bad for their health. For those reasons, linen and cotton fabrics were preferred for babies and very young children because they were lightweight and easily washable (Paoletti).

Although the tradition was in decline, some infants may have been swaddled. Swaddling was a very long-held European tradition where an infant’s limbs are immobilized in tight cloth wrappings (Callahan). The practice was losing popularity due to the opposition of Locke and Rousseau (Paoletti).

Babies were then dressed in “slips” or “long clothes” until they began to crawl (Fig. 1) (Callahan). These were ensembles with very long, full skirts that extended beyond the feet (Nunn 99). Babies also sometimes wore tight-fitting caps on their heads.

Once a child was becoming mobile, they transitioned into “short clothes” (Callahan). Unlike long clothes, these ensembles ended at the ankles, allowing for greater freedom of movement (Callahan). Short gowns had back-opening bodices and sometimes “leading strings” attached at the back or tied under the arms (Magidson). Leading strings were streamers of fabric used to protect young children from falling or wandering off (“Childhood”).

The prevailing fashion for short clothes in the 1790s had emerged in the 1760s: a white frock worn with a colored sash around the waist (Fig. 2). This style was worn by very young children of both sexes. The most common sash colors were pink and blue, although they were not used to indicate gender. A  colored underslip may have also been worn, which would show through the translucent white top material (Paoletti). While this style originated with very small children, it quickly became more pervasive: in the 1790s, a very similar style was worn by girls even into their teens. Some portraiture from the later years of the 1790s show young children in a high-waisted white frock dress with no colored sash (see Fig. 3). This style would become the reigning fashion for childrenswear — and womenswear — in the early nineteenth century (Callahan).

A significant development in fashion for young boys occurred in the 1780s. Previously, young boys wore skirted gowns until they were “breeched” by age seven, and then wore adult menswear styles (Reinier). However, boys now wore a transitional type of ensemble for young boys called a “skeleton suit” from approximately ages three to seven (Fig. 2) (Callahan). Skeleton suits “consisted of ankle-length trousers buttoned onto a short jacket worn over a shirt with a wide collar edged in ruffles” (Callahan). Older boys would then wear ensembles resembling adult menswear, although the fit was typically looser and more relaxed (Fig. 4).

An American group portrait titled The Cheney Family, circa 1795, is an excellent visual resource for 1790s children’s wear (Fig. 5). The youngest children wear long gowns and short gowns. A young boy wears a skeleton suit while an older boy wears a relaxed variation of a menswear suit. Three girls stand in order of height, each wearing a white frock gown with a pink waist sash.

Detail from The Wright Family

Fig. 1 - Joseph Wright (English, 1734 -1797). Detail from The Wright Family, 1793. Oil on canvas; 94.8 x 81.3 cm (37 5/16 x 32 in). Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1886.5. Gift of Edward S. Clarke. Source: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Portrait of the Willett Children

Fig. 2 - George Romney (English, 1734-1802). Portrait of the Willett Children, 1789-1791. Oil on canvas; 152.4 × 121.9 cm (60 × 48 in). Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, E1924-4-27. The George W. Elkins Collection, 1924. Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Sackville Children

Fig. 3 - John Hooner (British, 1758-1810). The Sackville Children, 1786. Oil on canvas; 152.4 x 124.5 cm (60 x 49 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 53.59.3. Bequest of Thomas W. Lamont, 1948. Source: The Met

William, Mary Ann, and John De la Pole as Children

Fig. 4 - Thomas Beach (English, 1738–1806). William, Mary Ann, and John De la Pole as Children, 1793. Oil on canvas; 228 x 142 cm. Torpoint: National Trust, Antony, 353008. Source: Art UK

The Cheney Family

Fig. 5 - Artist unknown. The Cheney Family, ca. 1795. Oil on canvas; 49 x 65 cm (19 5/16 x 25 9/16 in). Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, 1958.9.9. Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. Source: National Gallery of Art


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1790-1799

Europe in 1792. Source: emmersonkent.com

  • 1790 – United States President George Washington gives the first State of the Union address, in New York City.
  • 1790 – Louis XVI of France accepts a constitutional monarchy.
  • 1793 – The Louvre is officially opened in Paris, France.

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.

Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/759883168.
Bissonnette, Anne. Fashion on the Ohio Frontier, 1790-1840. Kent: Kent State University Museum, 2003. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54531345.
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.
Costume, Society. The So-Called Age of Elegance: Costume 1785-1820, Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference of the Costume Society, 1970. London: The Costume Society, 1971. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/620540887.
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.
Grigsby, Darcy Grimaldo. “Nudity à La Grecque in 1799.” The Art Bulletin 80, no. 2 (1998): 311–35.
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. Fashion in the French Revolution. London: Batsford, 1988. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/18191575.
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.
Siegfried, Susan. “Fashion and the Reinvention of Court Costume in Portrayals of Josephine de Beauharnais (1794–1809).” Apparence(s), May 2015.
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.
Weber, Caroline. Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. New York: H. Holt, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/493900888.
Wright, Merideth. Everyday Dress of Rural America, 1783-1800: With Instructions and Patterns. Dover Books on Costume. New York: Dover Publications, 1992. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/660054738.
Zieseniss, Charles Otto, and Katell Le Bourhis, eds. The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789-1815. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/906541694.
Modes & Révolutions, 1780-1804: 8 Février-7 Mai 1989, Musée de La Mode et Du Costume, Palais Galliéra. Paris: Paris-Musées, 1989. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/243440772.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Accessories,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-accessories/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Bags & Purses,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-bags-purses/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Children’s Clothing,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-childrens-clothing/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Fabrics & Textiles,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fabrics-textiles/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Fashion Dolls,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fashion-dolls/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Footwear,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-footwear/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Headwear,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-womens-headwear/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Jewelry,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-jewelry/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Men’s Headwear,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mens-headwear/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Mitts & Gloves,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mitts-gloves/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Pockets,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-pockets/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Stays & Petticoats,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stays-petticoats/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Stomachers,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stomachers/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Undated Men’s Clothing,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-mens-clothing/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Men,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-men/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Women,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-women/.
Pocket Museum. “1700-1799 Undated Women’s Clothing,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-womens-clothing/.
Pinterest. “1790-1799 Fashion Plates,” 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1790-1799-fashion-plates/.
Pinterest. “1790-1799 Men’s Fashion,” 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1790-1799-mens-fashion/.
Pinterest. “1790-1799 Portraits of Women,” 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1790-1799-portraits-of-women/.
Pinterest. “1790-1799 Women’s Fashion,” 1770s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1790-1799-womens-fashion/.
Pinterest. “18th Century Gents 1770s-1790s Fashion,” 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/.
Museum at FIT. “Fashion History: 18th Century,” 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/.