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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). Some styles are conservative while others are revealing. The French maid costume is often used in cosplay, sexual roleplaying, and uniform 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 dress with white trim, 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
- Feather duster
- White lace garter
Optional accessories depend on design and context:
- Choker necklace
- Other cleaning equipment
The outfits are frequently worn to costume parties (fancy dress), and also used in drama/theater.