17th century costumes and fashion.

Arras, court, versailles, Baroque, Nobility, French, costume, fashion history, historical, dress, 17th century, Louis XIV

The Entry of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa into Arras 1667

With the beginning of the 17th century, there was widespread resistance to the rigid Spanish fashion. The quest for freedom and naturalness expressed itself in clothing fashion at the time of the Thirty Years’ War.

The traditional costume was given its character by the Thirty Years’ War, which also shaped fashion. High leather boots reaching over the knees, usually left in their natural colour, with teeth or laces at the edges and large spurs on wide leather, often covering the whole foot, were decisive.

In addition came the floppy hat, a soft felt hat with a wide brim in the front, on the side, at the back or in two places beaten up brim and decorated with one or more feathers, a skirt now reaching further down, over it in the form of the latter same collar made of leather, a broad lace collar covering the shoulders, as well as a sword worn on a broad Vandelier.

This costume was a bit degenerate for the ducks; especially the high boots were turned over at the forend above or below the knee (boots with cuff boots), so that the trousers were visible, or the boots were pushed down so far.

During the war, these clothes were worn not only by mercenaries and soldiers in Germany, but also by the educated men. In England and the Netherlands, the new fashion was also gradually gaining acceptance, although in a refined form.

During these decades, the women wore a wrinkled dress with smooth, narrow sleeves, a small bodice with hanging sleeves, lace cuffs on the dress, a collar or lace collar, a feather adorned felt hat with folded brim.

17th century costumes and fashion.


In the time of Louis XIV France gained dominance in Europe after the Thirty Years’ War from around 1670. It became a leader in science and art, and the Versailles court also set the tone for almost all countries in custom and fashion.

In the beginning, women were dominated by puffy skirts, loose shoulders, wide sleeves and fluttering curls. Men wore a wrinkled skirt with a cape over an open doublet, while the leg dresses took on the shape of the skirt trousers, the so-called Rhinegrave trousers.

In the following years fashion became increasingly pathetic. The main feature of this development was the powerful allonge wig of the men. The clothing also became increasingly stiffer.

The men now wore a knee-length, in the waist close fitting, mostly collarless skirt (Justaucorps) with wide cuffs and patted side pockets; in addition, the bound scarf with short ends, the trousers tied underneath the knee joint, the triple-opened, spring-loaded hat, as well as the shoes with a tapering heel, buckle and flap at the bottom.

The elegant lady wore the Manteau, an upper dress that swarmed at the back and fell down as a train. For example, heavy gold and silver brocades became fashionable fabrics. Deep necklines let the waist slide down. In order to keep the décolleté free, the hairstyle, held by ribbons, in contrast, aspired upwards. This so-called Fontange was the female counterpart to the allon wig of the gentlemen. It was attributed to the Duchess of Fontanges, a mistress of Louis XIV, and remained so until the beginning of the 18th century.