In the early decades of the new century, formal dress consisted of the stiff-bodiced (= corpetto rigido) mantua.
The mantua was a large gown (= abito) or overgown. Ladies wore it over stays (=corsetto), stomachers (= pettorina)and petticoats (= sottogonna).
For informal occasional the fashion was a closed (or “round”) petticoat, and an apron (= grembiule).
The sack-back gown was a gown with pleats (= pieghe) which fell loose (= libere) from the shoulder to the floor with a slight train (= strascico). On less formal occasions, these gowns had a pleated (= con pieghe) back, but the pleats were sewn down (= cucite) to fit (= adattarsi) the bodice to the body to the waist.
Either gown could be closed in front (a “round gown”) or open to reveal a petticoat.
Open-fronted bodices could be filled in with a decorative stomacher.
Sleeves (= maniche) were bell- or trumpet-shaped, and caught up (= strette) at the elbow to show the frilled (= voulant) or lace-trimmed (=con merletti e stringhe) ) sleeves of the shift (chemise; = camicetta) ) beneath. Sleeves became narrower (= più strette) as the period progressed.
Strings of pearls (= perle), ribbons (= fiocchi) or lace frills (= voulant merlettati) were tied high (= legati) on the neck.