Suddenly, Baroque fashion and other retro trends are back in fashion thanks to Netflix costume dramas like ‘Bridgerton’. The past is all the rage right now and the dress styles of yesteryear are not only beautiful to look at but also make us feel sexy when we wear outfits inspired by times gone by. Here, we take a look at these new fashion trends and where they came from.
What you need to know about Baroque style
Baroque (pronounced ‘Bar-rock’) was a popular style of fashion, music, architecture and art that began in Europe in the 17th century. Ladies wore corsets and huge, swathes of velvet, along with puffed sleeves and embellishments. Men wore tights to show off their legs, they preened their goatee beards and everyone wore rich fabrics and huge collars.
Hair was over-the-top big, shoes were made of embroidered silk and the look was extravagant, sexy and told the world that you were rich, important and part of the in-crowd. Over the last three hundred years, the key features of Baroque style have reappeared in the form of ruffled collars and sleeves, impeccable tailoring and luxurious velvet garments.
The devil in the detail
Baroque style is all about detail. Embroidery and embellishments, in the form of buttons, trim, lace, ribbons and gold thread, featured strongly in the designs. Pattern is also a key feature and it is easy to recognise Baroque style patterns in curtain fabrics even today. These swirling, repeat themes are richly adorned and add a sense of opulence to the overall look. Paintings of the time always feature people dressed from head to toe not only in rich fabrics but also patterns of many types.
Best foot forward
Shoes were of particular importance to the Baroque look, and some are designs we would want to wear today. Ladies shoes featured a small heel, which made the wearer look elegant and added a little height to protect their long dresses. Both male and female shoes would often have a heel and a large tongue. Buckles, high boots and pointed, tapered toes were popular features. Shoes were fancy, decorated and sometimes covered in embroidered silk. The design of Baroque shoes is still very wearable, even now.
No Baroque look could be considered complete without the correct accessories. Big, glitzy, tasselled necklaces and earrings were a must-have, but above all else was the pearl. The word ‘Baroque’ actually means ‘pearl’ in Portuguese, and these little white gems were to be worn on the ears, neck, hands, fingers and were even sewn onto clothing.
Feathers, flowers and even fruit also featured strongly in the Baroque look and it was popular for women to adorn their head with them. Men wore jewellery far more than we would now, and it was common for men to wear many rings and have jewels sewn into their jackets.
Baroque was nothing if not sexy, and whilst men had long hair and tidy beards, women desired smooth, clear, pale skin, rosy cheeks and full, kissable lips. It was fashionable to be plump, because it showed you could afford to eat well, so this look favours larger ladies and makes being voluptuous sexy again. Hair was generally big and slightly messy, so a tousled up-do would look great if you are planning to work this style.
Baroque DIY top tips
Baroque is such a fun style to try out for yourself. The high street is full of Baroque-inspired ideas, from jewellery to jackets, and a quick search through Granny’s wardrobe might yield some 1980s fashions which would really look the part. Even repurposing a pair of lurid curtains as a dress or scarf would add a pinch of Baroque to your wardrobe.
Try coupling an old frilly shirt with a fitted jacket covered in brooches. Think detailed, extravagant and velvet! Show off your legs and wear coloured tights, a garter and a cute pair of delicate heels. Team this with bright red lips, loads of gloss, blusher and a messy French pleat. Ditch the fake tan and embrace being pale for once. Add a pair of oversized pearl earrings and you are well on your way to nailing Baroque style!