Morning Toilette

by Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, 1740s

The little miss is dressed up for an outing in cool weather with a cap, mantilla and a muff.

The mother (or maid?) wears a sack-back dress under her hooded cape. On the wide red and blue stripes shows a pattern that could be gold. Unlike a lady, she wears no matching jupe, but a simple, brown and not very wide petticoat a common style, it seems, among French commoners.

As a housewife needs more freedom of movement, she has pulled the hem of the robe through the pocket slits from the inside, which is only possible because she wears no hoops.

Where the hem is turned inside out, we see a white lining or at least a width of fabric that protects the lower part of the skirt from soil. The way the skirt hangs shows that the fabric is relatively stiff.

The woman imitates the upper class by wearing engageantes - sleeve ruffles - which shows that she is spared from dirty work. She may even have a maid and cook. (Compare to the turnip girl and kitchen maid.) Of course, her engageantes only consist of lawn, not lace.