Fashion through the ages

Fashion was a very important part of life at Versailles. Discover the fashions and hairstyles that were popular through the ages.


From formal Court dress to more personal attire, Versailles fashion was admired across the globe and continues to inspire great designers today. The women spared no expense when it came to their dress, competing with each other to see who could be the boldest and most beautiful. Dresses were constantly redesigned to comply with the fashion codes of the era, such as narrow waists, low-cut bodices, bare or – the opposite – modestly covered shoulders, etc.

As a family, try to put the portraits above in chronological order, to sketch a brief history of female fashion at the Court of Versailles. Here are some clues:

  • Puff sleeves were in favour during the time of Louis XIV,
  • Under Louis XV, clothing was very elaborate but plain coloured,
  • Marie-Antoinette is the icon of 18th-century fashion,
  • The First Empire left its indelible mark on fashion history by lending its name to a style of dress,
  • Under Louis-Philippe, fashion ushered in the Second Empire with dresses that flared out towards the bottom and elaborate hairstyles to show off the neck,
  • The crinoline was the key fashion look of the Second Empire.

See all the outfits       Check out the answers



As in the case of the styles of dress people wore, it was often the queens who set the tone in terms of hairstyles.

Curly, crimpled, piled on top of the head, knotted at the neck, hidden under wigs… Hair has been worn in all sorts of ways down through history! Can you put these portraits in order, to outline a brief history of hairstyles?

To help you out, here are some clues from the hairstyles themselves: “When curly, I tumble gracefully to the shoulders, before making my way back up to the head, to reveal the neck. I go higher and higher before being cut short. Knotted into a chignon on the head, I end by falling elegantly on to the neck.”

View all the hairstyles       Check out the answers