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French maid is a strongly modified style of servant's dress that evolved from typical housemaid's black-and-white afternoon uniforms of 19th-century France (and their later use by stereotypical soubrette characters in burlesque dramas and bedroom farces). The designs of the French maid dress can range widely from a conservative look to revealing. It is often used in cosplay, sexual roleplaying, and fetishism. Depending on design details, some forms can be classified as lingerie.
Though not strict to historically accurate uniforms, the French maid outfit has an easily recognizable pattern and black-and white theme that remains the template for other forms of the costume.
The typical French maid costume includes:
- A black with white trim one-piece dress with a full skirt at or above knee length.
- White half-apron, usually with ruffle or lace
- A ruffled or lace headpiece
- Long stockings or tights. These can be white or black and vary from design to design.
- High heels
- White lace garter
Optional accessories depend on design and context:
- Choker necklace
- Other cleaning equipment
The outfits are frequently worn to costume parties, and also used in drama/theater.
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