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Baroque Fashion 1650–1700 facts for kids

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Elegant couple 1678
The elegant gentleman wears a coat, waistcoat, and breeches. The lady's bodice is long-waisted and her over skirt is draped and pinned up behind, Dutch, 1678

Fashion in the period 1660–1700 in Western European clothing is characterized by rapid change. The style of this era is known as Baroque.

This period also marked the rise of the periwig as an essential item of men's fashion.

Women's fashion

Portrait of Suzanna Doublet-Huygens by Caspar Netscher
Susanna Huygens wore a long, tight white satin bodice with paned sleeves lined in pink and a matching petticoat. Her hair is worn in a mass of tight curls, and she wears pearl eardrops and a pearl necklace. 1667–69.
Barbara Palmer (née Villiers), Duchess of Cleveland by John Michael Wright
Portrait of Barbara Viliers, mistress of King Charles II, painted by John Michael Wright c. 1670 in the romantic style.


The wide, high-waisted look of the previous period was gradually superseded by a long vertical line, with horizontal emphasis at the shoulder. Full, loose sleeves ended just below the elbow at mid century and became longer and tighter in keeping with the new trend. The body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.

Spanish court fashion remained out of step with the fashions that arose in France and England, and prosperous Holland also retained its own modest fashions, especially in headdress and hairstyles, as it had retained the ruff in the previous period.

Hairstyles and headgear

Early in the period, hair was worn in a bun at the back of the head with a cluster of curls framing the face. The curls grew more elaborate through the 1650s, then longer, until curls were hanging gracefully on the shoulder. In the 1680s hair was parted in the center with height over the temples, and by the 1690s hair was unparted, with rows of curls stacked high over the forehead.

This hairstyle was often topped with a fontange, a frilly cap of lace wired to stand in vertical tiers with streamers to either side, named for Angélique de Fontanges. This was popular from the 1690s to the first few years of the 18th century.

Style gallery 1650s

  1. German fashion of 1650 shows a smooth, tight, conical satin bodice with a dropped shoulder. Slashed sleeves are caught with jeweled clasps over voluminous chemise sleeves.
  2. Margareta Maria de Roodere wears a salmon-colored gown. A sheer scarf is knotted into a collar around her shoulders, and her white sleeve linings are fastened back with a covered button, 1652.
  3. Mary, Princess of Orange wears a satin gown with a long pointed bodice and a satin petticoat. The many tiny pleats that gather in her skirt can be seen, 1652.
  4. Maria Theresa of Spain wears the guardainfante, which, in Spain, was adapted late and retained it long after it had disappeared elsewhere. The Infanta's hairstyle is also typical of the Spanish court, 1653.
  5. The Swedish countess Beata Elisabet von Königsmarck wears a white silk gown with a long tight bodice, flat skirt, wide double puffed sleeves, bare shoulders and a deep cleavage. The dress is decorated with blue ribbons and a blue shawl draped around the breasts. She has pearls, and her hair is braided in a knot in the back, but is worn in loose curls over her ears.
  6. Young Dutch girl wears a rose jacket-bodice and a plain pink petticoat. Her hair is worn in a wound braid with small curls over her ears. 1658–60.
  7. Details of Dutch fashion of 1658 include a string of pearls tied with a black ribbon, a jack-bodice with matching skirt, pleated sleeves, and dropped shoulder.
  8. The Infanta Margarita of Spain is shown, when eight years old, wearing the guardainfante, 1659.

Style gallery 1660–1680

  1. English court dress from the 1660s, made of silver tissue and decorated with applied parchment lace. From the Fashion Museum, Bath.
  2. Peter Lely portrays Two Ladies of the Lake Family wearing satin dresses over shifts or chemises with voluminous sleeves. Their hair is worn in masses of ringlets to the shoulders on either side, and both wear large pearl eardrops. The lack of a modesty piece at the chest is characteristic of the romantic style. It was at this period that women exposed their breasts for the first time.
  3. Dutch lacemaker's jacket-bodice has a dropped shoulder line and full, three-quarter length sleeves cartridge-pleated at shoulder and cuff. Her indoor cap has a circular back and hood is embroidered. Her shoes have thick heels and square toes, now somewhat old-fashioned.
  4. The very long pointed bodice of c. 1663 is shown clearly in this portrait of a woman playing a viola de gamba. The sleeve is pleated into the dropped shoulder and into the cuff.
  5. Inés de Zúñiga, Countess of Monterrey is a beautiful example of typical court fashion in Spain.
  6. The Infanta Margarita of Spain is shown here wearing a mourning dress of unrelieved black with long sleeves, cloak and hood. She wears her hair parted to one side and severely bound in braids, 1666.
  7. Two English ladies wear dresses with short sleeves over chemise sleeves gathered into three puffs. The long bodice front with curving bands of vertical trim is characteristic of 1670.
  8. Maria Theresa of Spain wears enormous sleeves, bare shoulders, large pearls, a large feather, and has a mass of loose waves.
  9. Lingering Puritan influence appears in this portrait of a Boston matron: she wears a lace-trimmed linen collar that covers her from the neck down with the fashionable short string of pearls, and she covers her hair with hood-like cap, 1671–74.
  10. Empress Eleonore of Pfalz-Neuburg wears a brocade dress with a very low waist and elbow-length sleeves gathered in puffs as was typical of court fashions during the 1670s.

Style gallery 1680s–1690s

  1. Mary of Modena, second wife of James II of England, wears a dress fastened with jeweled clasps over a simple chemise, 1680. Her hair curls over either temple, and long curls hang on her shoulders. This style of undress was common in portraits, but likely not so common in everyday wear.
  2. Dorothy Mason, Lady Brownlow in fashionable undress. Her dress is casually unfastened at the breast, and her chemise sleeves are caught up in puffs, probably with drawstrings.
  3. Mary II wears 1688 fashion: a mantua with elbow-length cuffed sleeves over a chemise with lace flounces at the elbow, a wired lace fontange, long gloves, and pearls.
  4. Spanish court fashion of c. 1690 shows a long, rigidly corseted line with a broad neckline and long sleeves.
  5. Mary II of England. By 1690, hair was dressed high over her forehead with curls dangling behind.
  6. Contemporary French fashion plate of a manteau or mantua, 1685–90.
  7. The Electress Palatine (Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici) in hunting dress, probably mid-to-late 1690s. She wears a long, mannish coat with wide cuffs and a matching petticoat over a high-necked bodice (Pepys calls it a doublet) with long tight sleeves. She wears a lace-trimmed cravat and a tricorne hat with ostrich plumes.
  8. Comtesse de Mailly, 1698, wears court fashion: Her mantua has elbow-length cuffed sleeves over the lace-ruffled sleeves of her chemise. The trained skirt is looped back to reveal a petticoat. She wears elbow-length gloves and a cap with a high lace fontange. She has a fur muff on her right wrist, trimmed with a ribbon bow, and carries a fan. She wears the short string of pearls that remained fashionable throughout this period.
  9. The mantua from Kimberly Hall is of fine striped woolen fabric with silver-gilt embroidery, ca. 1690–1700.

Men's fashion


With the end of the Thirty Years' War, the fashions of the 1650s and early 1660s imitated the new peaceful and more relaxed feeling in Europe. The military boots gave way to shoes, and a mania for baggy breeches, short coats, and hundreds of yards of ribbon set the style. The breeches became baggy. This era was also one of great variation and transition.

In 1666, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland, following the earlier example of Louis XIV of France, decreed that at court, men were to wear a long coat, a vest or waistcoat (originally called a petticoat, a term which later became applied solely to women's dress), a cravat, a periwig or wig, and breeches gathered at the knee, as well as a hat for outdoor wear. By 1680, this more sober uniform-like outfit of coat, waistcoat, and breeches became the norm for formal dress.

King Charles X Gustavus (Sébastien Bourdon) - Nationalmuseum - 19702
Carl X Gustav (1626–1660), King of Sweden 1654–1660, wears ruffled sleeves, armour, small cravat and flat-lace collar.
John freake 1674
Puritan influence lingered in New England. This merchant of Boston wears his own long hair, not a wig. The flat lace collar with curved corners that came into fashion in the 1660s is worn over a simple dark coat and waistcoat, 1674.
Pieter de Hooch Village House detail 1665 wga
This man wears white boothose over red stockings with low shoes, 1663–65.
François Desportes 001
Artist Alexandre-François Desportes in hunting costume. His blue waistcoat has wide buttonholes, and he wears his own hair for outdoor activity. Self-portrait, 1699.


Ex-voto a sainte-genevieve -Detail-Largilliere
The elaborate wig of the 1690s

Throughout the period, men wore their hair long with curls well past the shoulders. The bangs (fringe) were usually combed forward and allowed to flow over the forehead a bit. Although men had worn wigs for years to cover up thinning hair or baldness, the popularity of the wig or periwig as standard wardrobe is usually credited to King Louis XIV of France.

Style gallery 1650s

  1. Coat of 1654 has many tiny buttons on the front and sleeves, which are left unfastened below the chest and upper arm. A collared cloak trimmed with braid is worn casually over one shoulder.
  2. Coronation dress of Charles X of Sweden from 1654.
  3. Swedish industrialist Emanuel De Geer in an outfit from 1656 with linen shirt with cuffs and a doublet with slashed sleeves. Over the shoulder can be seen a baldric, and at his side a rapier.
  4. Dutch fashions, 1658. White boothose, petticoat breeches

Style gallery 1660s

  1. 1661. The short coat is worn over a voluminous shirt with wide ruffles at the cuffs and flat, curve-cornered collar, petticoat breeches.
  2. Young Louis XIV wears a lace-bordered linen collar, sash of an order of chivalry, and a voluminous wig over his armor, 1661.

Style gallery 1670s–1690s

  1. Dutch fashions, 1671
  2. Wedding suit of James II of England, 1673, Victoria and Albert Museum No. 2-1995 T.711:1
  3. Don Luis de la Cerda, later IX Duke of Medinacelli wears the long justacorps of c. 1684
  4. Artist Thomas Smith, c. 1690
  5. A student of Leipzig in an elaborate wig, c. 1690

Children's fashion

Young boys wore skirts with doublets or back-fastening bodices until they were breeched at six to eight. They wore smaller versions of men's hats over coifs or caps. Small children's clothing featured leading strings at the shoulder.

Working class clothing

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