A Quick Costume List for the Well-Prepared Lady:
- High-waist dress
- Shawl, cape, or jacket
- Flat Shoes
Regency style– also called Empire or “Jane Austen” style after the famous author– is one of the simplest casual costumes to put together and can be made visually accurate with very little effort. The most important aspect is the gowns silhouette. While super-high waistlines were haute-couture, any waistline above the natural waist is acceptable, especially if you have a larger chest. Pleasantly plump ladies were quite in vogue! For shoes, you can modify a simple ballerina flat with some ribbons. Satiny, silky materials are best or leather if you want to wear your gown in winter. Stick to flat ankle boots for walking shoes. If you want to be a real Regency lady, don’t wear lace-up boots that go above your ankle! I recommend raiding vintage shops, thrift stores, and your older cousin’s closet for vintage pieces if you don’t want to make your own. The empire silhouette resurfaced during the 1960s and 1970s and some top-notch vintage examples can be found ready-to-wear! (Plus, they usually have a good punch of personality)
High Waist Dress
Shawl, Cape, or Jacket
Notes, tips, and tricks:
Want to wear a cropped jacket but don’t have the money? Buy an inexpensive jacket with a top half you like and trim it to just below your dress’s waist. Then use iron-on hemming tape to finish the edges.
For an Austen look on a budget, buy any full-length sundress with puff or caps sleeves and tie a wide ribbon around it just below your bust.
To complete your look, curl your hair, put it up in a twist, or both!
For more information about Regency style visit The Regency Lady: Upper Class