Regency Friday Fun

It’s Friday so it’s time for some Regency fun, this time of the fashion kind.  I love the clothing from the Regency period, although styles did change considerably from the end of the Georgian period to the end of the extended Regency.  Here’s a formal portrait of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who was a leader of both society and fashion during the 18th century.

As you can tell, there’s a lot of fabric and elaborate draping in this beautiful dress, and the headress is very structured.  During the Regency the fashions were greatly influenced by Classical Greece, leading to an era of great simplicity in dress.  Waists moved higher in the Empire Style, and thin, flowing fabrics like muslin were used.  Here are a few lovely dresses I came across in my internet searches, from the Digital Collections of the University of Washington Libraries.  I love this white day dress from 1812:

And here’s a gorgeous, straw-colored evening dress from 1813, although I’m not totally sold on the lace trim for the shoulders:

And I’m always a sucker for a good riding habit:

Things did start to get a little crazy around the end of the Regency period, though, as you can see with these walking dresses from 1828:

These dresses are so elaborately insane they make Georgiana’s dress look like a simple nightgown!  Even worse, take a look at what happened to some of the men’s clothing toward the end of the Regency period:

Can you imagine your average Regency hero decked out in that?  No, thank you.  I’ll stick with the breeches and cool leather boots instead!

6 thoughts on “Regency Friday Fun”

  1. My goodness, he looks so feminine with his nipped in waist and flared trousers around the hips. And are those leg-o-mutton sleeves on his coat? 0___O It’s like an anticipation of 80s androgyny.

  2. Vanessa –

    The first thought that came to my mind when I save the fashion of the Regency hero I thought of Elton John and some of the outfits he used to wear! I was a teenager during the 1960’s and believe me us “older folk” had some really strange fashion sense in our era as well!

    I have a friend that is a seamstress that recreates fashion for her clients for special occasions that would love the woman’s dresses you showed from the Regency. She has had some really bizare requests for period pieces and said one of the hardest things is making something that is actually “wearable” because of some of the restrictions she faces because woman today want to be comfortable and imagine trying to be true to the era. I for one haven’t had an 18″ waist since I was a teenager!

    Can you imagine any of us today wearing some of the women’s fashion on a hot July day with no air conditioning? Not just the gowns themselves but also the undergarments they wore during the Regency must have made it difficult to appear “fresh” at all times. No wonder so many young ladies were compromised on the terrace!

  3. Yes, Jeanne, I think most of us would be appalled at how uncomfortable the clothes were, although Regency garments were definitely a plus in that respect. The stays (or corsets) were much lighter than those worn in the Victorian period, and then the women usually just wore a chemise under their stays. And I’m sure that did lead to all kinds of interesting encounters on terraces!


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