I’ve long said that Regency or Empire fashions are not my favorite, even though I enjoy stories set in the period and the history of the time. I love Jane Austen movies and TV adaptions, and I’ll watch tons of 1800-1820s histories onscreen, it’s just the clothes that leave me cold. In particular, I’ve ranted about the boring little white nightgowns, and I also agree with what Kendra said in her post about Austen flicks — being a historical costumer, it’s also how I feel about wearing Regency clothing:
However, Bridgerton changed the game for me personally because the costume designs mostly ditched those little white dresses and went with all the colors, all the bling, and crazy embellishments! That’s more my style, plus it distracts from the “classic” “elegant” slim line in a way that I find more flattering for my curvy shape.
But looking back through my viewing habits, I realize Bridgerton isn’t the only one, it’s just that all those demure Austen adaptions have obscured some truly fabulous Empire frocks! So here are five that I’d happily wear.
Immortal Beloved (1994)
Gorgeous movie, great acting, and some stunning costumes in rich colors by Maurizio Millenotti! I want them all but especially this purple number.
Sense & Sensibility (1995)
I’m allllll about Fanny Dashwood here! Her whole wardrobe, by Jenny Beavan and John Bright, is my Regency fashion goals so picking one was hard. #RegencyBadGirls4Life!
Vanity Fair (2004)
This is the somewhat Bollywood-ized adaption by Indian director Mira Nair, which is the only one I’ve enjoyed as a result! My fave of the lux costumes by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor is, predictably, this black gown.
OK, so not really intended to be historical, but hysterically fun! I love the all-pink wardrobe of Elizabeth Charming (Jennifer Coolidge) because it’s so OTT crazypants, but also because it looks good on her curvy figure. Good job by costume designer Annie Hardinge. This riding habit is my fave.
As I said, this show made Regency fashion appealing to me (thanks, Ellen Mirojnick!), so I’m cheating on my own list and including both a daytime and evening look worn by Lady Danbury. She’s my favorite character in the show!
What Regency or Empire style movie or TV costumes would you wear?