As well as being a queen, Marie Antoinette was a style icon of the 1700s. Married to Louis XVI of France at just 19 years old, at first she was constantly scrutinised for the way she dressed and how she behaved. However, it wasn't long before she adjusted to the lifestyle of the Court of Versailles and became the ultimate trendsetter; so much so that her fashions are still replicated today.
Marie Antoinette Looks
When it came to what she wore, Marie Antoinette abided by the notion of "more is more" most of the time. There are some timeless looks for which she became extremely well-known.
The Robe à la Française
The robe à la française was a hot trend amongst 18th century European aristocrats. It was a gown that consisted of three parts. Open at the front and ending in a train, the skirt was wide and floor-skimming. When it came to the bodice, this was fitted, decorative, and finished with a triangular section called the pièce d'estomac.
The dress itself had a long neckline that was U-shaped or square with elbow-length sleeves ending in lace frills. It was usually made of silk and had embroidered or printed floral motifs.
To recreate the robe à la française, wear a 1950s-style full midi skirt in the longest length possible and an embroidered blouse with ruffled or bell sleeves. Then, tuck the top into the skirt so it hugs your body. Finish the look with glitzy statement jewelry and embellished heels that irradiate wealth and elegance.
The Chemise à la Reine
The robe à la française was usually what Marie Antoinette wore for public and formal occasions. When it came to casual dress, she wore the chemise à la reine at the Petit Trianon, which was a less formal place in Versailles gifted to her by the King.
The chemise à la reine was much more appropriate for a natural, rural lifestyle. It was a light dress that looked like a nightgown in fresh fabrics like muslin, often pulled in at the waist with a ribbon or drawstring. The hues ranged from white to pastel to multi-colored floral prints.
To get the look, opt for a long white dress with a gypsy-style top and 1950s-style full skirt or buy the top and skirt separately if you're struggling to find the correct dress silhouette. Then, finish the ensemble with a thick piece of colored ribbon tied at the waist in a standout hue. In terms of accessories, choose a straw hat and lace-up shoes, similar to what the Queen wore when she was tending to her vegetable garden at the Petit Trianon.
The Corset and Full Skirt
When Marie Antoinette wasn't wearing the robe à la française or the chemise à la reine, she was in her bedtime clothes. During the 18th century, corsets were worn as underwear. They used to have lace at the back and be quite decorative at the front with silk brocade and gold trim.
If you're after a sassy, more unique Marie Antoinette aesthetic, you could find an embroidered corset and pair it with a long white maxi or tulle skirt to replicate what the Queen wore as her undergarments. Then dress it down with loose, natural hair and minimalistic jewelry.
Accessorize With Extravagance
For the robe à la française or chemise à la reine, channel your inner maximalist like Marie Antoinette and go for accessories that are "the bigger, the better."
The Queen was extremely rich and fortunate, so go for sparkly embellished heeled court shoes and a sequin clutch bag. Dress up your outfit with diamante necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings.
Marie Antoinette was also well-known for her extravagant hair dos and colors. Big hair was everything to her. If you truly want to recreate her look, pile your hair on top of your head, like how she used to wear it, and then accessorize with bows, feathers, flowers, and hats.
Current Marie Antoinette Trends
There are a number of Marie Antoinette trends that have recently seen a resurgence in fashion.
- Underwear as outerwear - From cute lace bralettes to sexy slip dresses, wearing your underwear as outerwear has never been cooler.
- Pastel hair - This fad has been around a fair few seasons now and seems to reign supreme, especially during the summer months. Lilac and strawberry ice cream shades are particularly popular.
- Flower crowns - Again, more of a trend for spring/summer, flower crowns are worn continuously year upon year at festivals or as an accessory to hippie-style looks.
- Floral prints - Floral prints are currently essential to every spring/summer season. Whether small, ditsy prints or large open blooms, they show no signs of going out of style.
Remember, More Is More
Marie Antoinette was all about extravagance and embracing her femininity through florals, damask, velvets, silk, flounces, ruffles, laces, frills, and all things fabulous. When recreating a look worthy of the French Queen, don't hold back. In fact, if it's not romantic, glamorous, and completely over the top, you're doing it wrong.