17001750 in fashion

Fashion in the period 17001750 in European and European-influenced countries is characterized by a widening silhouette for both men and women following the tall, narrow look of the 1680s and 90s. Wigs remained essential for men of substance, and were often white; natural hair was powdered to achieve the fashionable look. Distinction was made in this period between full dress worn at Court and for formal occasions, and undress or everyday, daytime clothes. As the decades progressed, fewer and fewer occasions called for full dress which had all but disappeared by the end of the century. In the early decades of the new century, formal dress consisted of the stiff-bodiced mantua. A closed (or "round") petticoat, sometimes worn with an apron, replaced the open draped mantua skirt of the previous period. This formal style then gave way to more relaxed fashions. The robe a la francaise or sack-back gown with flowing pleats from the shoulders was originally an undress fashion. At its most informal, this gown was unfitted both front and back and called a sacque. Later, for formal wear, the front was fitted to the body by means of a tightly-laced underbodice, while the back fell in loose box pleats called "Watteau pleats" from their appearance in the paintings of Antoine Watteau. The less formal robe a l'anglaise, Close-bodied gown or "nightgown" also had a pleated back, but the pleats were sewn down to fit the bodice to the body to the waist. Either gown could be closed in front (a "round gown") or open to reveal a matching or contrasting petticoat. Open-fronted bodices could be filled in with a decorative stomacher, and toward the end of the period a lace or linen kerchief called a fichu could be wor to fill in the low neckline. Sleeves were bell- or trumpet-shaped, and caught up at the elbow to show the frilled or lace-trimmed sleeves of the shift (chemise) beneath. Sleeves became narrower as the period progressed, with a frill at the elbow, and elaborate separate ruffles called engageantes were tacked to the shift sleeves, in a fashion that would persist into the 1770s. Strings of pearls, ribbons, or lace frills were tied high on the neck. [edit]Underwear The stays or corset of the early 18th century were long-waisting and cut with a narrow back, wide front, and shoulder straps; the most fashionable stays pulled the shoulders back until the shoulder blades almost touched. The resulting silhouette, with shoulders thrown back, very erect posture and a high, full bosom, is characteristic of this period and no other. Skirts were worn over small, domed hoops in the 1730s and early 1740s, which were displaced for formal court wear by side hoops or panniers which later widened to as much as three feet to either side at the French court of Marie Antoinette. The shift (chemise) or smock had full sleeves early in the period and tight, elbow-length sleeves in the 1740s as the sleeves of the gown narrowed. Drawers were not worn in this period. Woolen waistcoats were worn over the corset and under the gown for warmth, as were petticoats quilted with wool batting. Free-hanging pockets were tied around the waist and were accessed through pocket slits in the gown or petticoat. Loose gowns, sometimes with a wrapped or surplice front closure, were worn over the shift (chemise), petticoat and stays (corset) for at-home wear, and it was fashionable to have one's portrait painted wearing these fashions.