regency-era-fashion

Regency Era Fashion Timeline ― 1809 - 1828

Fashion in the Regency period saw the final triumph of informal styles over the brocades, lace, periwig, and powder of the earlier 18th century. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, no one wanted to appear to be a member of the French aristocracy, and people began using clothing more as a form of individual expression of the true-self than as a pure indication of social status. As a result, the shifts that occurred in fashion at the turn of the 19th century granted people the opportunity to present new public exterior identities that provided insights into their individual private selves. For women’s dress, the day to day outfit of the skirt and jacket style were practical and tactful, recalling the working class woman. Women’s fashions followed classical ideals, and tightly laced corsets were temporarily abandoned in favour of a high-waisted, natural figure. This natural figure was emphasized by being able to see the body beneath the clothing. Visible breasts were part of this classical look, and some characterised the breasts in fashion as solely aesthetic and sexual. 

In Britain, Beau Brummell introduced trousers, perfect tailoring, and unadorned, immaculate linen as the ideals of men’s fashion. In Germany, Republican city-states relinquished their traditional, modest, and practical garments and started to embrace the French and English fashion trends of short-sleeved chemise dresses and Spencer jackets. American fashion trends emulated French dress, but in a toned down manner with shawls and tunics to cope with the sheerness of the chemise.

Incorporated in this new “natural” style was the importance of ease and comfort of one’s dress. Not only was there a new emphasis on hygiene, but also clothing became much lighter and more able to be changed and washed frequently. Even upper class women began wearing cropped dresses as opposed to dresses with long trains or hoops that restricted them from leaving their homes. In a sense, women were influenced by male fashion, such as tailored waistcoats and jackets to emphasize women’s mobility. This new movement toward practicality of dress showed that dress no longer was a way to categorize between classes or genders; dress was meant to suit one’s personal daily routine. It was also during this time period that the fashion magazine and journal industry began to take off. They were most often monthly (often competing) periodicals that allowed men and women to keep up with the ever-changing styles.

one of my favorite fashion history things ever is court dress during the regency era

When ladies (and gentlemen) appeared at Court on formal occasions they were required to wear Court Dress, which was a very formal, very specific type of garment that was not worn anywhere else. Rules of Court Dress were rigid and dictated by the current monarch or his Queen. During the Regency, those rules produced a type of female garment that appears perfectly ridiculous to modern eyes, but which was taken quite seriously by those who wore them and by the designers who made them.

The rules of Court directed that ladies should wear skirts with hoops and trains, and that white ostrich feathers be worn in the hair, attached to lappets which hung below the shoulders. These rules had been in place long before George III took the throne. In his predecessor’s day the skirts were enhanced with panniers that stood out very wide on either side, but leaving the front and back flat. The intent of such odd-looking dresses was to display a broad swath of beautifully embroidered fabric, some of which had pictorial or floral scenes that used the entire front of the skirt as a canvas.

Side panniers had been replaced by normal round hoops by the time George III came to the throne in 1760. In the last decade of the 18th century, the fashion for wide skirts began to evolve into the slim, vertical line associated with Regency dress. Queen Charlotte, however, held firm on the rules of Court Dress, and ladies were forced to adapt those rules to the current style, which produced a very odd-looking garment with the high-waist under the bosom and a full hoped skirt.

IT’S THE SILLIEST THING AND I LOVE IT

4

Short-sleeved ball gown comprising of an underdress of silk satin and an overdress of machine-made silk net embroidered with metal and trimmed with blonde bobbin lace.

The dress has a low oval neckline, puffed short sleeves, a wedge shaped front bodice panel and a medium high waist. The skirt has a central front panel, wedge shaped panels and the centre back panels are tightly gathered at the waist. The lining is padded at the hem with a frill of blond stitched to cover. It fastens with a tape at the neck and hooks at the centre back.

2

Both white & empire: 1 covered w/ tiny tambour embroidered dots & sprigs, wide hem insert in serpentine foliage & blossom pattern, cross-over bodice, apron front & long sleeves, L 53”, (several holes & mends); 1 covered w/ small boteh-like embroidered motifs, short puff sleeves, back draw-strings, L 53”, (many holes & large mends) both fair.

Source

La Belle Assemblée
April 1817
“Court Dress with the New Hoop”

Described in the magazine as follows:

“Full suit dress of pink satin, finished round the border with fine blond interspersed with pearls, to which are added rich cordons and embossments of white silk, in an embroidery of a novel kind, mingled with artificial flowers. Superb drapery of embroidered net, trimmed with blond of an unrivalled pattern and workmanship, and drawn up with full wreaths of artificial flowers. Train of pink satin, elegantly finished with silver lama; short sleeves of pink satin and blond, caught up to the shoulder with full blown roses. Head-dress feathers and diamonds. Diamond necklace and ear-rings. White satin shoes; and white crape fan, the outward sticks studded and fastened with diamonds.

“N.B The attention of the nobility and gentry is particularly appealed to on the newly invented Court hoop, which enables a lady to sit comfortably in a sedan, or other carriage, while the hoop is worn, with the same ease as any other garment; and by this unique and unrivalled novelty the splendor and dignity of Court costume is not only preserved, but considerably heightened.”

Source