Fashions for Elizabeth Cass

Mantua of 1708 now in Metropolitan Museum of ArtSadly, no statue was made of Lady Cass, and neither is there any description of what she looked like. However, we can have some idea of the kind of clothes she is likely to have worn.


As the wife of a wealthy merchant, Elizabeth Cass would have had the choice of all the best fabrics and dressmakers in London. Her shift would be fine linen, perhaps with a decorated corset and petticoat over it, and a mantua – a robe worn open at the front – over that. On other days she might wear a “closed gown” – a one-piece dress. All ladies wore their hair long and curled into the chosen style, perhaps with a fine linen cap over it. When going out on cold days she would wear a hat and cloak. Her stockings would be silk and her shoes had pointed toes and high heels.