What Goes Around Comes Around

A few days ago I was bumming around Pinterest as I often do, and came across a couple of dresses that made me do a double take…Regency on the Runway? Then again, the empire waist has come and gone throughout time and this is the most recent interpretation on the style. These dresses imbue the decadence of the Regency ball gown.


For comparison here are a couple of Regency era ball gowns.


I am by far no fashionista; however, even my untrained eyes can see the similarities in these dresses: the deep v cut in the bodice, the use of metallic lace and thread, an overskirt that compliments the underskirt. Here is a snip-it from the January 1812 issue of  La Belle Assemblee: For gala dresses and the ball-room, the habiliments of the fair are yet more diversified; white and gold is still very prevalent, and lace gowns, both black and white, over various coloured satins: white satin, ornamented with a rich trimming of coqlelicot, with cornelian ornaments, for coral is now only worn in a morning, or to receive a small dinner party: pale pink gossamer satin, with pearl ornaments; and white crape and leno frocks for the younger part of the assembly, form the most prominent features in the annals of full dress. Humm…The description seems to apply for dresses 200 years later!

Out of all the ball gowns and wedding dresses the world has seen Princes Charlotte’s wedding dress (Jane Austin’s World has a great post on this) is one of the most decadent. It was described by La Belle Assemblee :”The manteau was of silver tissue lined with white satin, with a border of embroidery to answer that on the dress, and fastened in front with a splendid diamond ornament. Such was the bridal dress”

Of course, I could not resist searching the interweb for more modern and not so modern Regency style. For example, the maxi dress and all of its interpretations can be found anywhere at all price points. I own at least five of these jersey dresses in every imaginable color and prints. They remind me of the simple muslin day dress  of the Regency era.


For comparison here are a couple of Regency era day dresses.


There are no overt similarities in these dresses; however, they are all very simple dresses with a high waist line. Here is a snip- it from Ackermann’s Repository regarding the photo below: “Walking Dress [standing]— Robe of White Indian muslin, with Spanish vest and Flemish skirt, ornamented at the bottom, bosom, and sleeves with needlework, or appliquéd lace; antique cuffs, pointed collar, fastened in the center of the throat with a topaz broach. Bonnet á la Mary Queen of Scots, composed of intertwined crape and straw, and lined throughout with rose-coloured sarsnet; the extremity of the crown finished with Vandyke scallops in white satin, the edges terminated with straw; a small bouquet of autumnal flowers in front, blended with bows of white satin ribbon, and tied under the chin with the same. French tippet of leopard skin shag. Shoes and gloves of rose-coloured kid.

Candice Hern has a wonderful collection of Regency fashion on her website.

These are three dresses are from around 1912; amazingly, they could  fit right in, either now or the Regency era. It is fascinating to me how fashion reinvents itself yet stays so similar.


Unfortunately,  men’s clothing has not seen the same renewal and revival as women’s clothing has over the last 200 years. I don’t understand how the handle bar mustache can come back and yet men’s Regency fashion has not.  We need more men in tight breeches and cravats. *Sigh* Oh well, I shall just end this post with some Regency era eye candy!!