A Beginner's Guide to Regency Fashion || How it Changed Over 30 Years

Hello and Welcome to Enchanted Rose Costumes I’m sure you’re familiar with the classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice Emma Vandy Fair or War and Peace. One big thing that all these have in common is that they’re all set in the Regency era now when you think of the Regency I’m sure there’s a specific look that comes to mind long white gowns with the high empire waistline and cute little bonnets and well for the most part that is true there is a lot more to the Regency that meets the eye so if you’re interested let’s get started so what is Regency what we recognize as Regency is in fact part of the late Georgian era the Regency is in fact a sub era which actually lasted nine years from 1811 to 1820 it was during this time that King George the 3rd was deemed unfit to rule so his son the Prince of Wales ruled in his place as Prince Regent Hence the name of the era there are several different names for this period depending on your location Georgian Regency Directoire Empire Federal all of these relate to what we know as the Regency era but for the sake of today’s video just to keep things simple I am going to refer to it as the Regency before the Regency era the fashionable silhouette was a conical torso with a focus on the hips and rump the waist wasn’t particularly small but with the padding around the hips and the fuller skirts it helped create the illusion that it was smaller The fashions really started to change towards the end of the 18th century in the 1780s Marie Antoinette popularized the oh so shocking Chemise a la Reine while the chemise caused quite a scandal when it was first introduced as it greatly resembled undergarments it soon gained popularity and was worn by many ladies Neoclassical fashions inspired by Grecian dress were slowly becoming more popular as a way to kind of push back against the excess of Rococo fashions but it was during the French Revolution that the neoclassical styles became extremely popular as wearing the aristocratic fashions of old France could get you guillotined so what did these styles look like? Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t all just white frocks with the high waistline and the cute little bonnets well that style was extremely popular the Regency period lasted for over 30 years so the Styles changed drastically during that time so I broken my research down into three different fashion phases now this is not extensively broken down it being broken down much more than this but just for the sake of the length of today’s video because I don’t want it to be 20 hours long I’ve just kind of kept it in three sections where you can see the fashions drastically changing from one to the next also as a side note this is mostly focused on English fashions as English fashions were different from France and America so the first phase was from 1795 to 1805 so this phase is the most inspired by Grecian styles but it is still transitioning out of the 18th century so the styles kind of blended together leading up to the new century these gowns were very reminiscent of the Chemise a la Reine the back of the bodice was usually very fitted but the front closed on drawstrings creating a nice gathered effect across the bust ladies were also filling in the lower necklines of the bodice with a kerchief or fichu giving the gowns a slightly rounded pigeon bust during this time the waist lines of the gowns weren’t under the bust quite yet they were still transitioning out of the lower waist into the higher bust between 1795 and 1805 the gowns were also becoming more slim fitting and in some cases more revealing there were many satirical prints comparing the styles of old to the newer fashions coming in. By 1805 the waistline had risen to about the middle of the rib cage sitting just below the bustline between 1795 and 1799 there were some ladies who took the new styles of fashion to the extremes and they were known as the Merveilleuses (or marvelous women) they were the lightest of muslins gauzes and linen gowns that were in many cases quite sheer now unfortunately for many of these women when the colder months moved in so did sickness and with the sickness came pneumonia which in many cases led to their deaths this then became known as the muslin disease Now there were rumors that ladies like to wet their gowns to further accentuate their figures I personally haven’t found any historical evidence to support those claims but if you have information on it please leave it down below during this time white was the most fashionable color for these gowns as it mimicked the statues that inspired the styles but they’re often trimmed with colors along the hemline more and over top of colorful petticoats or under colorful short gowns or tunics other popular colors during this time were yellows blues greens roses and light purples yellow in particular was a very fashionable color and came in several different shades such as Primrose, Jonquil, or a Straw Now the basic clothing

layer were relatively simple compared to the era that came before it so for those of you that are just getting into historical costuming Regency is a great place to start The first layer was the chamise followed by the stockings The chamise was made out of linen or cotton and for the most part was cut fairly similar to the shift of the 18th century but with shorter sleeves it was knee length and could have a drawstring in the neckline to help contain the bust the next layer were the transitional stays in the 1790s the stays were fairly similar to their predecessors one of the biggest changes was the shape of the bust cups and gussets were introduced to the stay is to create more separation in the bust compared to the mono shape that was popular before The breasts at this point we’re still very much at a natural level with very minimal lift it was at this point that they started their journey north and for the next 20 years they would continue on that journey until they could quite literally go no further another change was the length of the stays as the waistline moved up these days also became shorter the next layer was the petticoat now one of the problems that came with the higher waistline was the petticoats actually had nowhere to sit naturally without falling down to solve this problem they added straps to the petticoats or bodice –is to keep them in place the petticoats were usually made of a cotton or linen or cambric even a finely woven flannel for warmth in winter next was the dress now the exact look of the dress actually depended on the time of day it was born so instead of listing each and every individual one because that would make this video ten hours long I am just going to give a general overview the day dress bodice was usually gathered in the front and had around a V or a crossover neckline during the day the lower necklines tend to be filled with a high cut tucker, kerchief or fichu. The sleeves at this time tend to be is still longer either full-length or about elbow length at this point the skirts are still gathered all around creating kind of a rounded figure coming from the new waistline but as time went on fashion slowly changed and the gathers moved to the back of the gown during this time skirts can be either a trained or hemmed evenly just depending on what the activity was For evening wear tunics over dresses or long trained robes wear a popular addition to the wardrobe and the necklines tend to be much lower compared to day wear for undergarments lady has had several different choices they could wear a Spencer or a Pelisse or a Cloak or Shawl moving on to accessories there was a large array of them that a woman could use to complete her look from bonnets to caps turbans gloves coral necklaces were quite popular fichu chemisettes or tuckers these are all things that were interchangeable between outfits Ridicules were also starting to become popular before a woman could have carried her things inside her pockets during the 18th century but now that the new silhouette had come in and pockets didn’t really fit under the new silhouette so the ridicule became a popular item among ladies so they could continue carrying their things with them As we’re moving further into the 19th century empire waist line of course is still rising and these skirts are becoming much drapier with long sweeping trains bringing around the ever-so-popular Regency pose The Wedgie so many wedgies and by 1805 the Regency silhouette has really come into its own Now around this time women could choose between either wearing the shorter stays or corset or the new corded corset to help them achieve the Regency silhouette The courted corsets with just a few minor changes would continue in use until about 1840s the second phase was from 1806 to 1817 Now this is the phase that most of us are most familiar with as it tends to be used in Regency dramas the most the skirts have become narrower the busts higher and the sleeves shorter in 1806 the English fashion magazine “La Belle Assembelee” assembly published its first edition reproducing French fashion plates from “Le Journal des Dames et des Modes” I think that’s how you pronounce it please forgive me if I just completely butchered that anyways the magazine tended to be slightly behind current fashions in France by a few months up to several years and this was partly due to the war with France at the time now the amazing thing about magazines like “La Belle” or “Journal des Dames” or even “Ackerman’s Repository of the Arts” is that you can still find these magazines today by looking online and these make amazing primary resources because not only did these magazines print fashion plates they also have descriptions of the clothing and they also published poetry and fiction and nonfiction regarding politics for sciences of the day so amazing resources definitely recommend you check those out if you are looking for primary sources now between 1810 and 1814 the waistline did slightly lower but then a continued rising with a renewed fervor until about

1816/1817 it was then that it reached the highest point it could go without moving above the bust and then started to descend for the lower portion of the gown the trains had actually started to disappear in France at the beginning of the century but in English garments the trains actually continued on in day wear until about 1809 and full dress until the 1814 mind you not all the dresses would have had trains but they weren’t completely discarded like the French fashions it was during this time that the hem actually began to rise the skirt was cut with more flare and the fullness continued moving around to the back of the dress creating a closer fit over the front and hips of the skirt the layers of Regency dress were still relatively similar to the first phase still began with the chamise stockings longer short corset and around this time ladies also had the choice of a Regency brassiere A new addition to the under layers were the drawers or pantalettes these came into fashion around 1806 and by 1811 even Princess Charlotte was wearing them as mentioned in the Glenbervie journals quote “She was sitting with her leg stretched out after dinner showing her drawers which it seems she and most young women now wear” end quote before this time only a woman with looser morals would have ever dared to wear something that resembled breeches as they were considered a masculine article of clothing the drawers or pantalettes were usually plain white and not extravagantly trimmed they were made of two separate legs that were held up by a drawstring around the waist now later on I don’t know the exact dates they were actually visible beneath the Regency outfits kind of giving a bit of a Bo Peep look as you can see them peeking out beneath the bottom of the skirt a funny story there’s actually an account of a young woman who lost one of the legs of her drawers in the street and deemed it too improper to pick it up so she just left it there now she was rather upset because the lace that adorned the bottom of her drawers had cost her six shillings a yard and she regretted even more when she spied the mean Mrs. Spring wearing her lace as a tucker the following week now the dress at this point was still fairly simple the choice of the neckline was either round the heart-shaped V or the square which had actually come into fashion around 1804 In 1809 the horizontally pleated bodice with a band down the center first started appearing but 1817 a wide neckline was very common even in morning dress In 1806 the skirt was still cut quite close to the body but by 1809 the hemline had begun to rise a little bit and was cut more into a slight a line but 1814 trims had become a lot more elaborate along the hems of the skirt ranging from a simple ruffle to VanDyke points to elaborately embroidered hems or gathered lace and netting and puffed ribbons by 1816 the skirts were now being supported by a few layers of petticoats that had been stiffened by ruffles or pleats and starch the hemlines were still rising and by this point the ankles were visible the outdoor garments were still fairly similar to the last phase but the cut of the garments had changed slightly as the gowns underneath them evolved so moving on to the third phase this is 1818 to about 1829 during this phase the waist lines were now falling from the extremely high empire waistline to the natural waist line the skirts are being cut much wider as the one slim-fitting regency frock embraces the transition into the wild fashions of 1830s Now Mourning Dress was very prominent in fashion from November 1817 to July of 1820 as four prominent members of the royal family had died during this time first was the beloved Princess Charlotte who died in November 1817 she was the only daughter of the Prince Regent Next was Queen Charlotte she passed the following year also in November she was the mother of the Prince Regent The third death was Prince Edward the Duke of Kent he died in January of 1820 he was a brother of the Prince Regent and he was also the father of the future Queen Victoria And the last death was King George the third who also died in January of 1820 just a few days after his son now depending on the relationship with the deceased the length of mourning varied if it was a spouse it would be two years and a day for parents it was one year for siblings it was six months for brother and sister-in-laws it was three months for aunts and uncles it ranged from two weeks to six months and for cousins it was about two to four weeks For a widow the first year in a day would be spent in full mourning she would have worn all black matte fabric and little to no jewelry anything that reflected light would not have been worn at that time after the full mourning period had passed she were transitioned into the half mourning colors of lilac lavender gray and a combination of black and

white and fabrics that had a slight sheen could once again be worn after the death of King George the third the Prince Regent actually reduced the mourning period time for those that were outside of the royal family as the mourning fashions were having a very bad effect on the trade economy so the layers of dress are still fairly similar to the last two phases the base layers of course are still chemise the stockings the corset and the petticoat at this point more than one petticoat would be worn and the petticoats were getting fuller to support the new emerging silhouette by 1820 the bodice had lengthened and the new waistline was sitting once again around the middle of the ribcage the neckline was creeping slowly to the edge of the shoulders and pushed the sleeves so it created a more horizontal effect as the waistline lowered the skirts continued to get fuller and fuller the hems were now padded and they were decorated to the nines as the decade drew to a close the simplicity of the Regency gown was left behind making way for the new extravagant fashions of the 1830s So before I wrap up this video there’s actually one style that I haven’t mentioned yet because I wanted to save the best for last this style lasted from the beginning of the Regency all the way up to 1820 and it only took place in the English courts court dress was determined by the reigning monarch or his queen and when appearing at court these Styles were required the rules of court directed women to wear skirts with hoops and trains and to have ostrich feathers adorning her hair now these rules were set in place before King George the third took the throne in 1761 so you can probably imagine where I’m going with this now the Regency look was obviously quite different than the style of 1761 but Queen Charlotte was all for tradition and so she held fast to traditional court dress and thus the Regency Court dress was born just enjoy this feast your eyes this. *giggle * Now these dresses were ridiculously expensive but it was an expense that many high bore families had to pay if they wanted to present their marriageable daughters at court the style continued at courts until 1820 when King George the 4th was crowned and he abolished them bringing an end to this rather amusing style I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s video on the English ladies Regency fashion and there is so much information about the Regency that I couldn’t include in today’s video so if you want to learn more definitely check out my links that I’ve listed below or do your own research this video marks the beginning of my foray into the Regency styles so get ready for more Regency coming your way over the last several months I’ve had some people messaging me wondering if I was going to be opening up a patreon account at all and after giving it some thought I finally have I don’t want you to feel obligated in any way shape or form I will still be providing content that will be free for everyone to see if you do want to support me though on patreon I will have the link down below some of you have actually already noticed that patreon and already subscribe so you guys are amazing thank you so much for patron also I have opened up a PO BOX so if you guys want to send me snail mail I will leave the address down below and send as much snail mail as you want now if you do want to send items just let me know in advance because my box is rather small but yeah snail mail is amazing and letters are amazing I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s made it this far in the video you guys are awesome I know a lot of people kind of stop watching when I start doing the talking bits at the end um so yeah thank you for watching this far and I hope you enjoyed today’s video also to let me know that you watch this far and to completely confuse people who are watching this and just didn’t go this far let me know what your favorite fruit is down in the comments because I love completely confusing people it’s it’s fun oh and a pineapple ridicule totally counts that is everything for today if you haven’t subscribed and you are new to my channel feel free to click that button I post a new video about once a month and that’s everything so thank you everyone I will see you next time bye hello and welcome k, lets just start again Tuscon regency federal it’s that one it’s that one direct wark fire and by 1795 the emergency emergency emergency the emerging regency silhouette urgency or emergency why can’t I say emerging so this period *gibberish* them become a lot more elaborate along the hems of the skirt ranging from

simple stiff why do I keep saying Sifl ruffles with petticoats that had been stiffled stiffled stiffled stiffled stiffled with ruffles