18th century is an era peculiarly identified with
hair and makeup, these became such traits throughout the French
Revolution. France and England were the fashion chiefs. In the 18th
century only the courtesan or actress wore white powder and painted cheeks. The apothecary chemists would supply cosmetics and
wigs beneath the counter. Men and
women continued to lighten their faces and applied glaring pink rouge. This was
applied heavily in circular or triangular shapes to the cheeks. The lips were little
and rosebud shaped. Women’s eyebrows were plucked, thin and pencilled high. The
eyebrow could be whichever colour. The hair was curled, waved or frizzed before
styling to give texture. Styling was efficient with combs and hair curlers which were created from
pipeclay and heated in oven before use, clasped with pins, and decorated
with pomade. 18th century is particularly associated with wigs, but these were essentially
worn by males. Wigs were introduced when King-Louis XIII of France started to
go bald. The men wore wigs that were powdered to give a particular white/off
white colour. Women rarely wore full wigs. They would add false hair to
their real hair. Padding, powder, and ornaments in a women’s hair were ordinary.
of the 1750s were
generally small and close to the head. Hair was worn in soft curls or waves, with
little to no height. Hair was generally put in small curls, a twist or a pleat. Curling
tongs which were metal with wooden or silver handles, were established at this
time and would be heated before hair was curled into rows of curls. Red makeups
were created of vermilion, vegetable sources for rogue included safflower, woodresin,
sandalwood, and Brazil wood. These would be mixed with greases, creams or
vinegars to create a paste. Lips could be reddened with distilled alcohol or
vinegar. Feathers, ribbons, jewels, vegetables and other fancy ornaments also
appeared on top of the head. Hats were popular and very large, made from felt
or straw, covered in fabrics, trimmed with lace. Face patches were seen as symbols
of political loyalty, depending on which side a patch was worn. Whigs on the
right and Tories on the left. A patch that was worn on the corner of the eye
indicated passion, the centre of the cheek was gay, the nose was saucy, a patch
on the upper lip suggested kisses and the forehead was majestic. A patch worn
on a dimple was playful and a murderess wore her patches on her breast. At the beginning of the century,
a man’s usual clothing consisted of a full-skirted knee-length coat, knee
breeches a long waistcoat and a linen shirt with frills. Men wore stockings and
leather shoes with stacked heels of short height. As the century moved forward,
the male silhouette changed. By the middle of the century the wig was usually
tied back. By the end of the century it was no longer a trend. Undergarments
and knee breeches did not change very much. Coat skirts moderately became less
full. Waistcoats became shorter. Shoes became low-heeled with pointed toes and
were secured with detachable buckles. In the early 18th century women wore a
dress known as a mantua for formal events. It was an open front silk or fine
wool gown, with a trail and petticoat. The bodice had elbow length sleeves and spacious
cuffs. A hoop petticoat was worn underneath. A corset was worn beneath. It was
made of linen and stiffened with whale bones inserted between lines of
stitching. In the 1730s the ‘sack back’ dress was worn over hooped petticoats.
It stayed in fashion until 1780s. The sack back was made from five silk panels,
pleated into two box pleats at the centre back of the neck band. Between the
1780s and 1800 a restyle took place in the female silhouette. Waistlines became
higher extending the bust. Skirts were reduced in width and hoop petticoats
were abandoned. The majority of clothes in the 18th century were
made of silk, cotton, wool and linen. Footwear was made from striped silk, red
tassel and woven silk these were usually made from slip on ‘sandal shoes’ with
pointed toes. Cotton was sourced from India and linen from flax. Marie-Antoinette was a social influence, embracing her
nations fondness for fashion. It was ought not to wear the same outfit twice, if
lacking modification. The age of enlightenment was an intellectual manoeuvre
and the beginning of modernity. The development of electricity and philosophy
medicine. This presented a challenge to established pious views and emphasized individualism.
Science was developing and this was showing through the motion of art and
theatre. Theatre plays were accepted along with art work as a way to pastime.
Members of the audience would pay additional money to sit on the stage,
ensuring that their outfits were on show. Depending on how
wigs were ornamented, they could reveal a person’s societal. Wealthier people
could afford human hair. 

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