Fans are so much more than fashionable accessories: They are useful for flirting, can cool heated cheeks or hide an unladylike emotion. In the wake of the Napoleonic War, their usefulness was boosted beyond the known limit when fans were made for spying, i.e. discretely observing the surrounding or other persons. I found some examples of these extraordinary devices when I visited the exhibition “Waterloo: Life & Times” of the Fan Museum in Greenwich, UK.
At first glance, 18th century shoes aren’t very different from today’s shoes – though they are, of course, more delicate and ornate. At a closer look however, many features of shoes we take for granted today were invented only after 1830. Enjoy some amazing facts about shoes, shoemaking, and photos of lovely shoes.
Hand-held fans, previously reserved for royalty and aristocrats, become a must-have accessory for every lady in high society at the end of the 17th century. The trend to carry a fan spreads rapidly through society. With this, the decoration of the fan leave becomes light-hearted: The religious and classical motifs give way to pastoral scenes, al fresco parties, and themes of love-and-courtship. Interestingly, fashion itself also features on the fashionable accessories, serving as a fashion plate and fashion statement.Continue reading
These gowns were called robes – after the French word for dress, as France was the center of fashion in these days. Continue reading
The uniform dress for the army became the norm in the mid-17th century. Styles and decoration depended on status and image of the troop, and the wearer of the uniform. In contrast to today’s camouflage, uniforms of the 18th and 19th centuries displayed bright and contrasting colours. The idea was to make it easier to distinguish units in battle, and to enable commanders to spot their troops on battlefields that often were obscured by smoke from cannons.
Uniforms for lower ranks
In the 18th century, uniforms for the lower ranks were often mass-produced. Uniforms usually had standard sizes and designs to make it easier to replace them on campaign. In Britain, troops were equipped with new uniforms once a year.
Hand-held fans of the 18th century were more than an accessory. They often commemorated political milestones, were a display of loyalty and patriotism, and celebrated popular social and scientific events.
For this post, I have compiled 8 fans related to historic events of the 18th century for you. Enjoy the beauty and singularity of the objects, and marvel at the craftsmanship.
Female fashion of the 18th century featured a fabulous wealth of accessories. This post looks at shoes, gloves, hats, fichus, jewellery and many other beautiful fashion items from about 1750 to 1825. Follow me to the world of accessories for ladies. Continue reading
Women’s gowns changed significantly throughout the Romantic Age. Until about 1780, France had been the ‘Kingdom of fashion’. Everybody had copied French designs and styles. With the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon to power, three things happened:
- Aristocratic fashion with its excessive use of lace, brocade and silk fell out-of favour. Fashion adopted ideas of freedom, love of nature and early-democratic cultures such as Roman and Grecian antiquity.
- French fashion leaders and their modistes fled from Paris to London. London became the new centre of fashion.
- Napoleon’s Continental System blocked England from its previous market places for cloth. England’s search for new commercial partners led to the discovery of new fabrics for fashion. These allowed for new styles and cuts.
I have compiled a selection of photos of beautiful women’s gowns of 1740 – 1825. Follow me to the world of ladies’ fashion. Continue reading
Court suits, breeches and waistcoats of the 18th century are highly aesthetic. They are, however, incomplete without the matching accessories. Therefore, stockings, dress swords, watches, buttons, etc. are in the spotlight of today’s post. I have compiled a selection of photos of these beautiful fashion items, so follow me to the world of accessories for gentlemen. Continue reading
A gentleman wasn’t properly dressed without a waistcoat. A waistcoat was a highly elaborate piece of clothing and allowed to show off exquisite taste in fashion. The garment itself was the subject of fashion trends. You would of course suppose that its decoration varied throughout the 18th century. But did you know that the cut changed significantly, too? Learn about the styles of waistcoats throughout the decades in this post. Continue reading