P.S. This has been a long time in the making!
Also known as sacque gown, robe battante, innocente, négligé or a flying gown.
This loose fitting gown has pleats at the neckline that fall free to the hem. Worn over a hoop skirt and petticoat was a popular fashion for women in the early 1700’s. Originally considered to be an "undressed" look (after the death of Louis XIV, people went for a more casual look for a while), it would eventually evolve into the French gown.
Robe à la Française
Yellow Robe à la Française, Silk extended tabby (Gros de Tours) with liseré self-patterning and brocading in silver lamella and filé, England (Spitalfields), Rococo, 1750s, Royal Ontario Museum, ROM2004_1034_6
Also known as Contouche or Sack-back.
The Robe Volante evolved from being loose all around to having a fitted bodice, draped skirt and structures box pleats at the back called Watteau pleats by modern historians, having been named after Antoine Watteau, a French painter who portrayed that fashion in his paintings.
Basically, all these names (Battante, Volante, Contouche, etc.) represent a step in the evolution of one dress over the course of a century.
Robe à l'Anglaise
Dress (Robe à l'anglaise), 1784–87FrenchCotton, metal, silk; L. at center back 36 in. (91.4 cm)The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Isabel Shults Fund and Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1991 (1991.204a, b)
Also known as an English Nightgown
The Robe à l'Anglaise evolved in England from the Mantua. While the French enjoyed a simpler fashion after the death of the Sun King, the English kept their formality. Robe à l'Anglaise usually refers to a gown with a set-in waist, whether it is en fourreau or not.
Robe à la Polonaise
Also know as Robe à la Reine and Robe Retroussée dans les Poches. A Polonaise is easily recognizable by its picked up skirt. Usually, is gathered up to create three distinct semi-circular drapes. Generally, both petticoat and dress’ skirt had flounces at the hem. You can transform any opened skirt dress into a polonaise; very practical when your dress becomes too short for you, as a Polonaise’s hem could reach as high up as the ankles! Variations on the Polonaise have also been called Robe à la Turque and Robe à la Circassienne.
Robe de Court
Simply put, the Robe de Court was a gown made primarily for court.
Redingote, from the English "Riding Coat", was originally a men’s fashion item, but it was eventually adapted for women as a long coat with high collar, with or without lapels, and long sleeves. It was either paired with a waistcoat or made with a fake waistcoat piece at the front and was worn over a modified version of a men’s shirt complete with jabot. It was worn not only for horseback riding, but also as a travelling gown.
A Caraco is a woman’s jacket which is very similar in form to either the Robe à l'Anglaise or the Robe à la Française, but is no longer than mid-thighs. Originally reserved to the working class, it was adopted by the upper class by the late 1760’s.
Chemise à la Reine
First know as a Gaulle, this refers to the new style of softer, lighter dresses popularized by Marie Antoinette in the 1780’s and renamed after her. Such dresses sport a wide frill at the neckline, and sometimes at the hem, large sleeves gathered at both shoulder and cuff and are always white and worn with a colourful sash. Comfort of comforts for the period, they were worn without panniers. A wide brimmed straw hat is a highly recommended accessory when wearing a Chemise à la reine.
Robe à la Levantine
A Robe à la Levantine is an unfitted, fur trimmed robe with short sleeves worn over a tight fitting gown. It was inspired by the Near East, which can be explained by the popularity of Orientalism in the 18th century.
Manteau de Lit
Literally meaning "Bed Gown". This is another type of short jacket, very loose fitting this time and made from a minimum of pieces; the half bodice, skirt and half sleeve were cut in only one piece and the skirt was pleated at the sides and center back. It was almost exclusively worn by the working class, although there have been instances of bedgowns made of fancier fabrics worn by nobles in their boudoir.
This is a modern term used to describe a bodice style that became fashionable in the 1780’s. A zone front bodice has as been cut at an angle from the side towards the neckline at the center front; it is completes with a false waistcoat front. Zone fronts can be considered an upside-down stomacher.
A compère front is a stomacher which buttons down the front; some compère fronts also used hook and eye as closure. The compère stomacher can be sewn to the dress or pinned like an original stomacher, in which case the buttons might only be there for decorative purposes and serve so actual function.
Robe en Fourreau
This term is used to describe a specific type of construction, when the center back bodice and skirt are cut as one big piece, whereas the other pieces are separates as usual. En Fourreau patterning can be sued for Robe à l’Anglaise of Robe à la Polonaise.
The stomacher is a stiff piece off fabric, triangular in shape, which filled in the gap between both sides of the Robe by covering the stomach and chest. It was often highly decorated with embroidery, lace ribbons, rushing and sometimes even fringe. It was pinned on the stays or corset, while the gown’s sides where pinned over its edge.
Full-length portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour (1748-55), Pastel on gray-blue paper with gouache highlights, the face is cut out and mounted on the paper, 177 × 130 cm (69.68 × 51.18 in), Purchased by Paillet and sent to the Special Museum of the French School in Versailles, 1804, Department of Prints and Drawings; Sully, Second Floor, 18th-century Pastels, Room 45
Engageantes are the flounces at the sleeve cuff of a woman’s gown. Usually made of lace, they were attached to the chemise until long sleeves became in fashion in the 177o’s. Depending on the wearer’s wealth, engageantes could be made up of many layers.
A Petticoat is the under-skirt worn with an open gown or a jacket. Shorter petticoats could also be worn under the main petticoat to camouflage the angles of the panniers and make the top layers look smoother of for warmth in the cold weather.
Used by both men and women, wigs came in different colours and could be styled in advance. Although not easy to put on by oneself, they could be changed according to the occasion. If one considers the crazy Poufs that Marie Antoinette helped popularize, wigs, combined with the lady’s own hair, became necessary to achieve such looks.
The tricorne is a wide brimmed hat which sides have been turned up on three sides to direct the rain away from the wearer’s face. Originally worn only by the military, it became popular for civilian dress as well shortly before the French revolution.
The bonnet or cap comes in many forms and wears many names: Bonnet à la Crète de Coq, Bonnet à la Laitière, Bonnet à la Moresque, Bonnet à la Victoire, Bonnet Demi-Négligé, Bonnet Négligé, etc. They all have one thing in common: they are soft headwear and are meant for the home if one is noble, and for everyday wear for the working class.
The first layer of under clothing, the Chemise or shift was almost always made of white linen and was cut square, with side gores. It was about knee length and had elbow length sleeves to which lace could be attached; in the later periods, lace was also attached to the neckline and could be seen at the gown’s neckline. It also served as a nightgown.
The corset of the time, stays served not to change the wearer’s shape (it was actually wider at the hips), but to flatten the stomach and push up the chest. A special pocket could be made downs the center front to insert a busk, a flat piece of wood, which added to the flattening function of the stays.
Panniers is the name used for the skirt support which changed and evolved throughout the century. It started as a cone shaped hoop skirt and became the wide flat support of Marie Antoinette. Types of pannier include: pannier à guéridon (funnel-shaped), pannier à coudes, pannier janséniste, considérations, criarde, à bourrelets (flaring), à coupole (dome-shaped).
Worn under the Panniers, pockets were bags worn on each hip which served as a modern day handbag for handkerchiefs and fans (purses were meant for coins and small items). They were usually made of white linen and embroidered with colourful designs. Embroidered pockets were often the first embroidery project a young girl got to work on as she learned the craft.
Pocket hoops are a combination of Pockets and Panniers.
- 18th Century clothing primer - The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes
- 1750–1795 in fashion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Eighteenth-Century European Dress
- Georgian/Rococo Review-18th Century
- Glossary of 18th Century Clothing Items
- Glossary of 18th Century Costume Terminology
- Short Glossary of French Clothing Terms
- Rococo Clothing
Whew! This took forever to write, but at least I'm sure you'll all find this information very useful. Glad to be of service!