34 thoughts on “Costuming Pride and Prejudice (1995)

  1. Wow, it’s funny how much like twins — in facial structure, not just costume — Joanna David (as Mrs. Gardiner) and Dorota Czartoryska née Jabłonowska (of your picture) look!

  2. My all-time favourite Austen adaptation. Darcy is perfectly attired. I love how the Bennett sisters’ clothing seemed so light and airy. Free even and how Lady Catherine’s and the Bingley sisters’ clothes seemed more confining and constricted movement. Less freedom no matter how beautiful they were. It said something about Regency society. What about a week devoted to Colin and Darcy?

  3. This was delightful! But I am curious about the dove grey/silver cloak that bride Jane wore at the end – I just adored it and always thought it was a great way for a winter bride to partially cover up when outside – I always suggest it to friends who are marrying late in the year, which results in me getting very odd looks. It is just so elegant. But is it accurate?

    Also, please do the hats! I must now! I love the bonnets worn at the wedding, and I swoon when I see Lady Catherine’s bonnet with the high tapering crown. Like a fancy-schmancy with hat!!!

  4. I watched this at the same time as Jean Hunnisett, and we exchanged comments. She felt that some of the spencers could have been less plain, with more trimming, but on the whole thought it was pretty well done. (She thought some of her patterns had been used!)

    1. Hi! Having made a few of the costumes for this production when I worked at Cosprop, all the patterns were made in-house by individual makers, so didn’t use anyone else’s patterns….

  5. Talk to anyone interested in historical costume movies, and you don’t even generally have to mention “1995” for them to know which version you’re talking about: COLIN FIRTH. JENNIFER EHLE. The version that takes its time telling the story, and tells the story RIGHT (no pigs here).

    The 1995 was a television miniseries that was almost six hours, not a movie. So naturally, it had the opportunity to take its time in telling Austen’s story.

  6. I’m sorry for the double post, but I wanted to respond to the following:

    When it came time to making the pièce de résistance, Elizabeth’s wedding dress, Collin was careful to make sure that her dress was believable given the Bennet’s station (although something tells me Darcy kicked in a bit of money towards this dress): “We checked archives and visited museums to find out exactly what a girl would have worn. If their family was short of cash, a bride would often wear her best dress, but if you could afford it you had a white wedding dress specially made”.

    White wedding dresses did not exist in that time period. They did not become popular until Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. All brides – even those from the upper classes like Elizabeth Bennet – usually wore their best dress or one specifically created for her wedding.

    1. I know this is some time ago however, I thought it might be helpful to address your comment on white wedding dresses. You are correct in that a white wedding gown was not popular until Queen Victoria wore hers in 1840. It is not correct to say that there were no white wedding dresses at all. Ackermann’s repository has one for 1816 and “Le Journal des Dames de Modes” has one for 1813. Women in general, probably wore their only best dress unless they were wealthy when they would have viewed their wedding as an opportunity to have an entirely new wardrobe including wedding gown. Certainly Mr Darcy would not have wanted his wife to be wearing her “best” gown for their wedding and I can’t see Mrs Bennett not wanting her daughters to have a new gown at least.
      So, the point is, there WERE white wedding dresses, though not common; women DID have new dresses made specifically for their wedding (and probably reused them afterwards, maybe even had them made over to be more adaptable); and yes White Wedding dresses only became the norm/very popular/the must have gown after 1840 when Queen Victoria effectively endorsed it.

      1. You are mostly right, but I just wanted to note that they didn’t become any more popular after Victoria’s wedding! I have never come across any evidence pointing to an increase in white wedding dresses after 1840; if anything, we have a higher percentage of later Victorian wedding dresses that aren’t white. I’ve seen the idea that she popularized it in several different fashion exhibitions, but there’s nothing to back it up.

        I actually submitted an article on the topic of the popularity/idealization of the white wedding dress pre-Victoria to Dress (the Costume Society of America journal) and was turned down for a few reasons, once of which being that the concept was deemed obvious and unnecessary for the scholars who subscribe to the journal.

  7. One of my only pet peeves about this one is Wickham’s uniform. Throughout the novel and movie, it’s made very clear that he serves in the Militia. Yet the pattern of the uniform is completely based on the highly prestigious 1st Regiment of Footguards, very hard to get in socially, and highly drilled (they needed to be, guarding Buckingham Palace and all). Definitely not something Wickham could hope to aspire to. Also, he wears the belt that his sword is supposed to be on completely wrong, showing the adjusting buckle where the regimental belt plate ought to be.
    But, like I said, that’s about it ;-)

  8. Interesting article – I always saw the fact that Kitty and Lydia weren’t dressed “appropriately” a lot of the time, with occasional forays into what would have been considered “proper” with the chemises and high necklines as indicative of the fact that their mother was completely under Lydia’s thumb and unable to exercise any authority over the youngest girls. Their few times when they’re covered were, to me, the moments when she thought about it for long enough to put her foot down and insist! :-)

  9. No, I think your initial evaluation of Elizabeth’s low-necked outfit was correct. The “afternoon promenade dress” illustrated in the fashion plate was for afternoon wear, which would have been different from — and more formal than — typical morning wear. The outfit Elizabeth is wearing in the photo is the same one that she wears as she is walking home with her family after church, so I assume that it’s meant to be day dress. The problem is not so much that the spencer is low-necked, but that there is no chemisette to fill in the neckline. Of course, low-necked morning gowns are so commonly used in films set in the Regency era that it’s hard for me to criticize P&P too harshly for this inaccuracy.

  10. I know this is a late post, but I love love love the dress Mrs Phillips wore when talking to mr. collins at a party. it had a maroonish base, but looked like it had various layers of creme netting or lace over it, which rendered various hues of maroon. I can’t even describe it properly, and can only find one small photo of it online.

      1. I am another latecomer to the party having just discovered this blog the other night. After watching the DVD and examining the dress going frame by frame I made a discovery: the netting overdress is a separate garment. Mrs. Phillips wears the dark red dress with the netting overdress in Episode 2 during the card party at the Phillips house. She wears the same dress minus the overdress in Episode 3 during the Christmas party at the Phillips house.

        The dress itself appears to be a deep red with a dot pattern which I am guessing is woven in. The dots catch the light as she moves and are visible in both scenes. The skirt is unadorned but the bodice is trimmed with what looks like narrow gold ribbon or lace under the bust. The sleeves and neckline are edged with wider gold lace with a scalloped border. The sleeves themselves appear to be puffed by securing them front and back with a vertical line of three flowers, two light pink or white and one darker pink at the bottom, with a broad gold ribbon below the dark pink flower. Most of these trims are visible through or below the overdress in the card party scene, particularly when they are sitting at the card table and Mrs. Phillips reminds Mr. Collins that hearts are the trump cards.

        I posted some frames on my Pinterest board:


  11. What is the odd type of hat that Darcy, Bingley, and Mr. Hurst put on their heads when they arrive at the assembly near the beginning of the movie?

    1. That’s a cocked hat, or a ‘chapeau bras’, which folded flat to take up less space at the opera or when held in a carriage. As adults had to wear hats when outdoors, these were typically worn only between the coach and the front door. The fold-flat style of hat became the collapsible opera top-hat later in the 19th century.

      The army officers’ bicorne hats (worn before 1812) were a similar style, worn most famously by the Duke of Wellington

      The fore-and-aft style is almost never worn in portraits is it obscures the face too much (I can’t find a single portrait where the sitter is actually wearing the fore-and-aft hat, whereas there are several with the earlier side-to-side style) The picture linked below is of an officer of the 61st Regiment, one of those which served in the Peninsular War 1808-1814, and illustrates why these hats aren’t worn in portraits.

  12. Has anyone else noticed that, in the scene that takes place in the inn at Lampton, where Georgiana invites Elisabeth to dinner, they are both dressed in the same colours? I’ve often wondered if that is symbolic of the close relationship they are to have in the future.

  13. I’m watching the 1995 version of P & P right now. I absolutely love “The Walking Dress.” Thanks for posting about that dress and the others in the product. I’m scanning the internet now for more pictures. The whole outfit is lovely but I like what look like long strings or ties.

  14. I love the costumes in the 1995 version but I’m always taken aback by the seeming seasonally wrong clothing choices. There’s snow in the wedding scene but Elizabeth’s chest is so bare I’m positive she’s going to die of pneumonia before they get to the honeymoon. Mr. Bennett returns from London on a rainy SUMMER day wearing a caped winter topcoat. Elizabeth returns home after Lydia’s elopement wearing twice as many clothes as she wears on a Fall or winter day. Are these clothing choices historically accurate?

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