Costumes From the 1700s

Updated November 21, 2016

The 18th century was a vital time in world history, including the French Revolution, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beheading of Marie Antoinette. Re-create some characters from this time or various roles in society with a costume from the 1700s. Tricorne hats, buttoned petticoats and garish dresses are a few items that can be worn.


A few historical wars were fought and won during the 1700s, including the French Revolution, the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution. Re-create the era by dressing like a soldier from one of these battles. To imitate a soldier during the American Revolution, don a tricorne hat, trousers, high boots and a regimental coat, which is a thick trench coat with big buttons. Accessorise with a sachet, musket, flag or drum. Women can dress as a soldier, too, such as Deborah Samson, a woman who disguised her gender to fight with the U.S. Army. For other specific soldier costume ideas, considering dressing as General (later President) George Washington or France's Napoléon Bonaparte.


Dress in the 18th century's finest by becoming royalty from the era. A queen or princess from that time wore a dress with a tight corset laced on top and a huge cascading skirt from the waist down. The more garish the better. Incorporate a fontange for added flair. This head piece, made of brass-wire, baubles and ribbon, stood 2 feet high. Other headdress options are tall white wigs, which both men and women can add to their costumes. You might also choose to re-create the costume of certain royalty from the century. Consider dressing as Marie Antoinnette, who was queen of France before her beheading in 1793.


The 1700s was a time when pirates roamed the seas, including the famed Black Beard. Re-create a pirate costume with a few elements from the era, including a tricorne hat, buckled shoes, tall boots and a long coat with large cuffs. Add a lightweight scarf or kerchief to the outfit, too. However, when picking these pieces, avoid using colourful sashes, especially around the waist or shoulder. These garments were usually worn by military officers of the time, not pirates. Accessorise with an intimidating sword.

Inventor, Philosopher or Artist

From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the English Industrial Revolution, there were a slew of important philosophers, inventors and other cultural figures from the 1700s. Re-create one for your 18th century costume. Dress as Benjamin Franklin in traditional colonial garb and add a copy of "Poor Richard's Almanac" or a kite and key. Create a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart costume with a long coat, neck scarf, wild wig and sheets of music.

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