Wikipedia writes of 1750s fashion and portraiture:

“Women: Court dress included elaborate and intricate styles influenced by Rococo; hoop skirts; panniers; corsets; petticoats; stays; conical torso shape with large hips; “standardized courtly bodies and faces” with little individuality.

French: Elaborate court dress, colorful,decorative, portraiture inside.

English: Simple and practical, inexpensive durable fabrics, outdoor lifestyle, portraiture outside.”

Mr and Mrs Andrews

Fig. 1 - Thomas Gainsborough (English, 1727 - 1788). Mr and Mrs Andrews, ca. 1750. Oil on canvas; 69.8 x 119.4 cm. London: National Gallery, NG6301. Bought with contributions from The Pilgrim Trust, The Art Fund, Associated Television Ltd, and Mr and Mrs W. W. Spooner, 1960. Source: The National Gallery

Robe à la française

Fig. 2 - Designer unknown (English). Robe à la française, ca. 1750. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum. Source: Pinterest

Woman's dress (Robe à la française) with Matching Stomacher and Petticoat

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (French). Woman's dress (Robe à la française) with Matching Stomacher and Petticoat, ca. 1755-1760. Chinese export silk-brocaded satin, silk and silk chenille looped fringe; center back length: 160 cm, waist: 59.7 cm (center back length: 63 inches, waist: 23.5 inches). Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988-83-1a--c. Purchased with the John D. McIlhenny Fund, the John T. Morris Fund, the Elizabeth Wandell Smith Fund, and with funds contributed by Mrs. Howard H. Lewis and Marion Boulton Stroud, 1988. Source: The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Dress, Mantua, Bodice, Train

Fig. 4 - Designer unknown (British). Dress, Mantua, Bodice, Train, 1750 - 1770. Silk brocade, gold, linen. Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland, K.2013.67.1. Source: National Museum of Scotland

Portrait of a Woman in Dark Blue

Fig. 5 - Arthur Devis (British, English, (1712–1787)). Portrait of a Woman in Dark Blue, ca. 1750. Oil on canvas. Birmingham: Birmingham Museums, 1953P457. Source: Birmingham Museums


Wikipedia writes:

“Men: Coat; waistcoat: breeches; large cuffs; more attention on individual pieces of the suit; wigs for formal occasions; long and powdered hair”

“Throughout the period, men continued to wear the coat, waistcoat and breeches of the previous period. However, changes were seen in both the fabric used as well as the cut of these garments. More attention was paid to individual pieces of the suit, and each element underwent stylistic changes. Under new enthusiasms for outdoor sports and country pursuits, the elaborately embroidered silks and velvets characteristic of “full dress” or formal attire earlier in the century gradually gave way to carefully tailored woollen “undress” garments for all occasions except the most formal. This more casual style reflected the dominating image of “nonchalance.” The goal was to look as fashionable as possible with seemingly little effort. This was to be the new, predominant mindset of fashion.”

Royal Company of Archers Uniform Coat

Fig. 1 - Designer unknown (British). Royal Company of Archers Uniform Coat, ca. 1750. Wool, linen, wood, silk. Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland, A.1993.62 A. Source: The National Museum of Scotland

Jean Charles Garnier d'Isle (1697–1755)

Fig. 2 - Maurice Quentin de La Tour (French, 1704-1788). Jean Charles Garnier d'Isle (1697–1755), ca. 1750. Pastel and gouache on blue paper, laid down on canvas; 64.5 x 54 cm (25 3/8 x 21 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.439. Purchase, Walter and Leonore Annenberg and The Annenberg Foundation Gift, 2002. Source: The Met

Man's waiscoat, breeches, and vest

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (Probably French). Man's waiscoat, breeches, and vest, ca. 1750. Silk polychrome velvet, brocaded; jacket: 94.9 cm breeches: 80 cm vest 83.8 cm (jacket: 37 3/8 in breeches: 31 1/2 in vest 33 in). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 2016.489.1-3. William Francis Warden Fund and funds donated by Doris May. Source: MFA Boston


Fig. 4 - Designer unknown (French). Waistcoat, 1750-55. Silk. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.54.25. Gift of Mrs. Alice Frankenberg, 1954. Source: The Met


Elizabeth Greenleaf

Fig. 1 - John Singleton Copley (American, 1738-1815). Elizabeth Greenleaf, 1753-54. Oil on canvas; 54.6 x 45.1 cm (21 1/2 x 17 3/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.612. Gift of Marc Holzer, 2002. Source: The MET

John Greenleaf

Fig. 2 - John Singleton Copley (American, 1738-1815). John Greenleaf, 1753-54. Oil on canvas; 54.6 x 45.1 cm (21 1/2 x 17 3/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.611. Gift of Stuart and Rhoda Holzer, 2002. Source: The MET

Saint Margaret of Cortona

Fig. 3 - Gaspare Traversi (Italian, ca. 1722-1770). Saint Margaret of Cortona, ca. 1758. Oli on canvas; 172.1 x 122.6 cm (67 3/4 x 48 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolotian Museum of Art, 68.182. Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1968. Source: The MET


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1750-1759

Map of Europe in 1750. Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • 1750 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Arts and Sciences
  • 1752 – Gregorian calendar adopted
  • 1759 – Voltaire’s Candide is written

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!

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.


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

Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/759883168.
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.
Cariou, Gail, Werner Wicke, and Elizabeth Tait. Lady’s Gown: 1730-1770 : A Visual Guide to Cut and Construction. Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1997. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/612948817.
Edwards, Lydia. How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/988370049.
Fukai, Akiko, ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century. Köln: Taschen, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/857267477.
Hart, Avril, and Susan North. Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries. London: V&A Publications, 1998. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/170891633.
Hart, Avril, Susan North, Richard Davis, and Leonie Davis. Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2009. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/846177973.
Hill, Daniel Delis. History of World Costume and Fashion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/768100950.
Hollander, Anne. Fabric of Vision: Dress and Drapery in Painting. London: National Gallery, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/930256016.
Ribeiro, Aileen. The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750 to 1820. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/450347616.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Dress in Eighteenth-Century Europe, 1715-1789. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/978716760.
Ribeiro, Aileen. The Gallery of Fashion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/500993037.
Ribeiro, Aileen. A Visual History of Costume: The Eighteenth Century. 4. London: Batsford, 1983. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/436095052.
Rodini, Elizabeth, Elissa Weaver, and Kristen Ina Grimes. A Well-Fashioned Image: Clothing and Costume in European Art, 1500-1850. Chicago: The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 2002. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/694844989.
Takeda, Sharon Sadako, Kaye Durland Spilker, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Clarissa Esguerra, and Nicole LaBouff. Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915. New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2010. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/971876353.
Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
Vincent, Susan J., and Peter McNeil, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Age of Enlightenment (1650-1800). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
Waugh, Norah. The Cut of Men’s Clothes, 1600-1900. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1964. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/927414537.
Waugh, Norah, and Margaret Woodward. The Cut of Women’s Clothes, 1600-1930. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/894728161.
“1700-1799 Accessories.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-accessories/.
“1700-1799 Bags & Purses.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-bags-purses/.
“1700-1799 Children’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-childrens-clothing/.
“1700-1799 Fabrics & Textiles.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fabrics-textiles/.
“1700-1799 Fashion Dolls.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-fashion-dolls/.
“1700-1799 Footwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-footwear/.
“1700-1799 Headwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-womens-headwear/.
“1700-1799 Jewelry.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-jewelry/.
“1700-1799 Men’s Headwear.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mens-headwear/.
“1700-1799 Mitts & Gloves.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-mitts-gloves/.
“1700-1799 Pockets.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-pockets/.
“1700-1799 Stays & Petticoats.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stays-petticoats/.
“1700-1799 Stomachers.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-stomachers/.
“1700-1799 Undated Men’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-mens-clothing/.
“1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Men.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-men/.
“1700-1799 Undated Portraits of Women.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-portraits-of-women/.
“1700-1799 Undated Women’s Clothing.” Pocket Museum, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1700-1799-undated-womens-clothing/.
“1750-1759 Men’s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1750s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1750-1759-mens-fashion/.
“1750-1759 Portraits of Women.” Pinterest, 1750s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1750-1759-portraits-of-women/.
“1750-1759 Women’s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1750s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1750-1759-womens-fashion/.
“Costume in Art - 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/maellen/costume-in-art-18th-century/.
“Fashion History: 18th Century.” Museum at FIT, 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/museumatfit/fashion-history-18th-century/.
“Historic Costume - 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/maellen/historic-costume-18th-century/.
“Style: Rococo, 18th Century,” 1700s. https://www.pinterest.com/marquiselem/style-rococo-18th-century/.