Fashion of regency England Brenna johnson

Women's dresses were often simple yet elegant.

During the time period of regency England 1790s-1820s the Jane Austen era, the fashion was more simplistic and elegant. This fashion was adopted from the French, who had gained inspiration from Greece and Rome. For women's fashion there were lighter white cloths, layered with petty coats and paired with parasols, bonnets, or fans. People who can from more wealthy families were expected to dress nice and "presentable" if you did not your wealth would be questioned. People, mostly women and girls were expected to me tidy as well, their cloths should be perfect with no mud or stains. This time period had a lot of rules that we do not have today, women always wore gowns, and normally layered gowns, the better quality fabric you wore the richer you would appear which was a good thing back then.


Petticoats were worn by women during this time. They were made to be worn underneath a woman's dress, A petticoat is a garment that hangs from the waist. Petticoat is any separate skirt worn under a dress, nightgown, or jacket. They were most commonly white as most gowns were during this time. Petticoats served to keep the wearer warm, or to give the dress a certain fashionable shape. These are also mentioned in Jane Aston's Pride and Prejudice after Elizabeth walks to the Bingley's in the rain she gets her petticoat covered in mud, this leads to Bingley's sister making rude remarks about it she says "Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain; and the gown which had been let down to hid it, not doing it office " and "To walk three mile, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above her ankles in dirt,"(26) This leads on to the fact that women we meant to look clean and tidy during this time. It also shows how women were expected to be clean and "put together" more than men were. Women we supposed to appear perfect to the world. And also how judgmental society was to those who did not follow these rules.


The word parasols comes from the french para meaning shield and sol meaning sun. Many higher up women would carry around parasols during sunny days to block the sun. There were also parapluie, para in french meaning to shield and pluie meaning rain. Although it was not as common during this time period as to later on, they still were used by wealthier people.

Tambour Work

During the Regency era in England, there were many different way of making a gown more embellished. There was printing or painting directly on the fabric, adding lace and other accents, or even embroidery. Tambour Work, which is a form of embroidery was very popular for its easy application. Tambour in French means drum, and this refers to the method of creating the embroidery. It was a much faster and easier way for women to embellish their clothing. Tambour work made this process 140 times faster than the older ways of doing this.


A typical gown was at least ankle length and they had a very high waists. Some gowns would have trains in the back that would be pinned up while the girls would dance. Early in this time period many dresses were sleeveless. The sleeves would normally be short or wrist length both of these styles were popular at different times during Regency England. A few sleeveless gowns were seen earlier. The fabric would normally be light with white used and worn most often in this period. Small patterns would also be popular. People normally would use lightweight cotton for their gowns so they were not to stiff and the would be able to drape this is also true for silk. Also popular were ribbons or scarves to pair with the gown.

Bonnets, Shoes, Stocking

Bonnets were the most popular, hats for ladies during this period. Bonnets were long and scoop shaped, sometimes they were compared to a coal scuttle for its appearance. Critics of the times fashions would show women in both satire and cartoons running around in their underwear with comically long hats. Low leather shoes that were lace-up with a heel were what women most commonly wore at this time. Women's stockings were often made from silk or cotton and went up to thigh level.

Men's Shirts

Typically men's top were white and made from muslin . The shirts were pulled up and off over the head they did not have buttons all the way up the front. The collars were high, they normally reached the chin. Some neck and sleeves would have ruffles. You never would really see and man's shirt any other color than white or black during this time. Men would also wear a ribbon type of bow tie.

Men's Pants

Men had many varieties of pants with different lengths and tightness.They did not have a modern zipper, however breeches were opened with a flap which would open in the front would be closed with buttons. There were two types of pants that would determine the width of the front panel these were broad fall or narrow fall breeches. Breeches were knee length pants that men wore with stocking. During this time men did not need to wear belts due to the cut of the pants and the cut of their coats.

Waist coats

Over their shirts men often wore waist coats especially in a public setting. Waist coats are similar to vest, however these had a high collar and could be double breasted but were usually single breasted. Tailcoats would also be double or single breasted, they also would have a distinct M shape to their tails. The most common colors for these were blue and red. It was also common for there to be leafy patterns in men's vests.

Men often wore hats while they were out. The two main hats that men wore during this time are topper hats and beaver hats. Topper hats could come in many different styles these four were the most commonly seen. Beaver hats were much like topper hats but with a much wider and flatter brim.

Children's fashion

Children tended to dress similar to adults. In a child's early years of life they were dressed with no regards to their gender. They would often wear loose white light weight dresses that were commonly paired with a few ribbons. A child's look would often stay very simple with littler patterns, colors, or ribbons. As girls become older their dresses become less plain, they often had morning gowns and evening gowns. This appears in Pride and Prejudice a number of times on being "At 5 o'clock the two ladies retired to dress."(25) This is showing just how women usually would change a number of times throughout the night, normally three times. As girl reached their teen years they still wore mostly white, but they now would wear more layers and have ruffles and more ribbons.

Boy's cloths

For boys their look changed immensely. As the boys became older they dressed very close to adults, they wore the same style of pants, shirts and even coats. As with the others these cloths were also white. Most cloths for the day to day wear during this time were white or close to it.

Works Cited

  • Reeves-Brown, David and Jessamyn. "Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion: Children's Clothes." Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion: Children's Clothes. N.p., 2002. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
  • Koster, Kristen. "A Primer on Regency Era Men's Fashion." Kristen Koster. N.p., 05 Aug. 2016. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
  • "Women's Fashion." Jane Austen. Jane Austen, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
  • Scott, Lord . "We Make History: An Introduction to Ladies' Fashions of The Regency Era." We Make History: An Introduction to Ladies' Fashions of The Regency Era. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.
Created By
Brenna Johnson

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