European Women's Fashion in the Eighteenth Century (the Rococo Era)

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European Women’s Fashion in the Eighteenth Century
(The Rococo Era)
Fashion has been always been a dominate part within every society throughout the years. Fashion is “a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc.” and “conventional usage in dress, manners, etc., especially of polite society, or conformity to it” (“fashion”). When it comes to fashion, Europe happens to be the most influential continent. For centuries, Europe has always been fashion-forward, influencing many other continents and countries with its style. There has always been the misconception, as stated by fashion historian Aileen Ribeiro in Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, “[that] most think immediately of Paris and the French court when they ponder that time [of eighteenth century fashion], forgetting reverberations in England, Italy, and elsewhere worldwide” (Cullen). However, in the eighteenth century (around the 1750s), France was well-known for its rococo style, which was simply “wide skirts, fine fabrics, and an overdose of embroidery” (“Women's Fashion of the 18th Century”). Like most French fashion, it spread across Europe. The rococo style emphasized the love of shell-like curves and decorative arts (“Rococo Fashion Era”). During this time in the late eighteenth century, certain undergarments, gowns, shoes, and simple, refined hairdos and make-up were essential for the fashionable European woman.

In the late eighteenth century, women only wore certain undergarments. For example, they wore chemises, stays, panniers, free-hanging pockets, and waistcoats, but they did not wear underwear during this time. The chemises that the women often wore had very low necklines and elbow-length sleeves that flushed out fully. Over the chemise, they wore stays, or corsets, in hopes of attaining the correct, fashionable posture of a woman during this century, which consisted of standing with the shoulders back only slightly; stays generally kept women with cone-like torsos...
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