18th Century Halloween Costume Tips!

October 30, 2015

18th Century Halloween Costume Tips!

Marie Antoinette from the film with a powder puff
Photograph from Marie Antoinette. Directed by Sofia Coppola. Performed by Kristen Dunst. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2007. Film.

I am going to assume that you are all getting dressed up to the nines, in your most fabulous 18th century garb for October 31st, if only to hit up your favorite pub or go to a fancy ball your best friend is throwing at their mansion. Who knows!

In any case I want to give you some friendly advice and reminders to keep in mind while you begin your toilette and prepare for festive Halloween parties!

I have gone over this before, but you must do your make-up just right. Allow yourself a good 2 hours of safety time, to prime, paint and powder. Consider your attire. What colors will you be wearing? Don’t choose the wrong shade of rouge because it could clash and look atrocious!

peach dress from Christian Lacroix. fashion show
Christian Lacroix.
Hair- I suggest you have a friend help you unless you are just going to throw an old wig on. But hopefully you had someone dress it up with small flowers, ribbons and feathers. Again I am just assuming…

Dress your age ladies! ;o)

Shoes are important. Decorate them with your favorite details...or add a shoe rose!

detail from an 18th century painting showing pearls used to accessorize hair
18th century pearls were used to enhance hair styles.
Jewelry? Large diamonds if you love diamonds, but pearls are very acceptable!

Betsey Johnson pink and pearl bow earrings
Betsey Johnson drop earrings.

Go for a drop earring, possibly featuring your favorite set of diamonds!

Norma Shearer powders her nose and wears a large pouf as Marie Antoinette.
Film Still from Marie Antoinette. Performed by Norma Shearer. Directed by W. S. Dyke. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1938. Film.
Powder is important. You want to show off your skin tone as best you can. So use white powder. If you are a British tart for the evening you might want to choose a lavender scented powder. French? Try a powder scented with vanilla and lilies.

Or try and find a nice 18th century cosmetic recipe to make your own!

How are you feeling tonight? Make sure you place your silk beauty spot in the appropriate area.

Vivien Leigh in violet with a large feathered hat
Vivien Leigh.
Do not wear a straw hat unless you are parading before 11AM. Trust me.

Do not wear a gold dress but do wear gold as a detail or spangles.

Do carry a muff, it is quite chilly these days.

Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire in a winter ensemble from the film The Duchess
Film still from The Duchess. Directed by Saul Dibb. Performed by Keira Knightley. UK: Pathé Distribution Ltd., 2008. Film. 

Do bring along a walking stick (like these guys!), for walking, elegance, and to tap people on the leg you want attention from.

If you bring your fan along (recommended) you will have a very easy time gossiping, a prop to shoo unwanted company away, and you can use the language of the fan to talk with your partners in crime.

fun gathering at Versailles in Second Life

Finally, head out for the party!! Travel with your closest 18th century friends and when you arrive at your destination, make a great entrance!

Here is the art of working a room by James St. James:
James St James wears a pouf and looks fabulous
James St James
Work the room and say hi to everyone even if you don't know them, especially if you don't know them!

Circle the room clockwise once and then split up circling the room again anticlockwise, asking everyone if they have seen your friend and that you lost them. "Oh where has my friend gone?!? Have you seen my friend?? Where could they be!!"

When you bump into each other again scream with uncontrolled excitement. "OH! We found each other!" Then circle the room one last time to let everyone know you found each other.  The whole thing should take an hour and then you can head off to the next party! Seth Green portrays James St. James and explains the art of working a room, 2003

You will be the smashing hit of the party. Feel free to dance with dukes.

I hope this advice was fun and helpful! 
Let me know if you are going to be done up 18th-Century-fabulous. And remember have fun!


  1. I wish I had an 18th century costume to wear. I would look absolutely fabulous, and no guy would even look at those skankily-dressed nurses and maids and devils as I navigated the streets in the manner of Marie-Antoinette.

  2. Hahahaha @ Belle

    Great post, I will def be heeding this advice tonight!

  3. this reminds me of some of my past "prom" experiences....

    ...not being able to leave our friends side :)

  4. Let me tell you, going in a full out gown does get you more attention than the scantily clad nurses and little red riding hoods!!!

  5. question....

    just watched the movie "the affair of the necklace"...

    is that really an accurate story? i am quite sure that you'll know all about it!


  6. What a lovely blog! I've so enjoyed reading it after finding it thru Joy's soiree.

    I see you have Cinderella's Closet listed, I am wearing Scarlett's Portrait gown in a recent blog post which I bought from CC.

  7. OMG I love Let them eat cake sitcom, it´s one of my favourites. I did not have an 18th c. costume for Halloween, we are not celebrating this lovely holiday in my country. All the advice you wrote are great and fit for every outing in a historical dress.

    1. I love Let them eat Cake too! Just thinking about it makes me laugh! :)