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Apron. 1700-1799 Nowadays we wear aprons to protect our clothes from dirt. This apron of very fine, almost see-through muslin, would not have offered any such protection. From around the 1730s to the 1750s, elegant ladies wore aprons as a fashionable accessory, that served no functional purpose but were often very costly.

Prussian court fashion: Queen Elizabeth Christine, wife of Frederick the Great, wears a gown with a slightly squared neckline and narrow lace frills at bodice and sleeve. Note the trim on the pocket slits in the skirt of her open gown. She wears a diamond choker around her neck.

Hand-coloured etching and engraving from a set of twelve fashion plates: 1749, "February", London, "A lady stnading looking to left, her hooped skirts swaying, with her left hand in a fur-trimmed muff, her left against her breast, wearing an apron, a fur-trimmed cape, fichu and a bonnet over a frilled cap tied under her chin," "Inscription Content: Lettered below the image with the title in English and French; etched in the image 'February'"

Wedding Dress (image 3) | British or French | 1760 | silk | Metropolitan Museum of Art | Accession Number: 40.136.1a, b