A fichu (from the French "thrown over") is a large, square kerchief worn by women to fill in the low neckline of a bodice.

Descriptive drawing.


It originated in the United Kingdom in the 18th century and remained popular there and in France through the 19th with many variations,[1] as well as in the United States.[2] The fichu was generally of linen fabric and was folded diagonally into a triangle and tied, pinned, or tucked into the bodice in front.

A fichu is sometimes used with a brooch to conceal the closure of a décolté neckline. The fichu can thus be fastened in the front, or crossed over the chest. The cross-over fichu sometimes extended all the way to the back. Some models include a large over-the-shoulders back piece.[3]

The fichu found in several traditional cultures resembles a poncho that covers only the shoulders and chest.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Elizabeth J. Lewandowski, The Complete Costume Dictionary (Scarecrow Press, 2011), 107, available online, accessed January 3, 2014
  2. ^ Dorothy Denneen Volo and James M. Volo, Daily Life in Civil War America, 2nd edition (Greenwood, 2009), 298, available online, accessed January 3, 2014
  3. ^ "fichu | Fashion History Timeline". fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-21.


  • Baumgarten, Linda: What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America, Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-09580-5
  • Cunnington, C. Willett and Phillis Emily Cunnington: Handbook of English Costume in the Eighteenth Century. London: Faber, 1972.
  • Payne, Blanche: History of Costume from the Ancient Egyptians to the Twentieth Century, Harper & Row, 1965. No ISBN for this edition; ASIN B0006BMNFS
  • Ribeiro, Aileen: Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe 1715-1789, Yale University Prison, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09151-6

External linksEdit