Weekly Quote

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pride & Petticoats: Regency Era & Lolita Fashion

I watched Pride & Prejudice a few nights ago, the version with Keira Knightley as well as the version with the dashing Colin Firth! I have grown to love Regency fashion quite after watching these films and reading Jane Austen's novels.  Much of my great disdain for it was caused by my long time admiration for Late Baroque and Rococo fashions, specifically that of France.  Though, that will always be my favorite, Regency is coming to a close second. In this post, there is Regency fashion, empire waists, Lizzy Bennet's Classic coordinate, and bonnets, lots of bonnets!

From OTT Sweet 18th Century to Classic Regency
If put together, Regency and late 18th Century fashion would look remarkably different. However, during the turn of the century, early 1800's, there is this morph of the two fashions.  This example can be most clearly viewed in the 2005 film, Pride & Prejudice. It was the director, screen writer, and costume director's decision to have some remnants of fashion of the end of the previous century to remain because Jane Austen wrote Pride & Prejudice, in the late 1790s (though published almost 20 years later).  I suppose that is why that movie is so pleasing to my eyes, because if incorporates two eras of fashion that I have grown to love so much.

Though, I like to think that the late 18th century fashion, especially in France, was OTT sweet and Regency is more classic, perhaps a little sweet too!

The silhouettes of the Regency era are much cleaner and elegant than that of it's predecessor. Gone were the bony, long corsets and up went the waistline!  Empire waists and a more naturally fitted dress allowed for movement and freedom for the female body.  P&P heroine, Lizzy Bennett, loves to walk and no wonder she would, it would be so much easier in a Regency dress than that of robe à la française!

The two images below, one a painting, and the other a fashion plate, show the delicate, elegance of the fashion. I do love the simplicity of the women in the painting; wearing a solid white dress with lace and ribbon in her hair - so elegant!
Detail of a painting of a woman looking through an artistic portfolio, by Constance Mayer, 1801 (possible self-portrait?)
Credit to Pemberley.com

Fashion plate showing short overdress over long underskirt, from Costume Parisien 1813
Credit to Pemberley.com
Please visit CostumersGuide, for images of costumes worn by the cast of the 1995 Mini-series and the 2005 film!

Lizzy Bennett...a classic Lolita?
I was thinking of a new coordinate for the summer that could transition in the fall and I kept thinking how wonderful a Regency inspired one would be. Of course, Lolita fashion is not an exact replica for Regency fashion, though there are some great similarities and I believe the elegance and beauty of it can be achieved with any coordinate!

There are plenty of brand and off brand fashions that have empire or baby doll waist lines, but I think the trick is to look mature and elegant and less sweet or young.  For example, there is the square neck baby doll JSK by Innocent World. (All images credited to Innocent World)

The dress is beautiful, but too young for such a mature outfit, now if you were inspired by Lizzy's younger sisters, such as Kitty or Lydia, this would be a great match. Of course a darker coordinate, perhaps more Gothic than Classic would suit Mary well!

The Original Lace Empire JSK, also by Innocent World, reminds me most of Jane and Lizzy Bennet, it is mature, still has some fine details for a young lady of their age, but it can change with accessories and hair style to a more mature coordinate.

Bonnets...there must be bonnets.
No essay on Regency fashion, especially that from the world of Jane Austen can be complete without the mention of bonnets.  An accessory that is still regularly used in Lolita fashion today with great enthusiasm. I have seen beautiful coordinates from all the Lolita styles and sub-styles with beautifully adorned bonnets.  The look can give the appearance of a porcelain doll, adding that innocent elegance to the outfit.

Credit to JaneAusten.co.uk
Lolita bonnets 
Bonnets can be worn alone or adorned with flowers, bows, ribbons, or whatever else suits your fancy.  I do love the combination of flowers the most, especially for Classic Lolita.  I have seen some adorable OTT sweet coordinates with bonnets that is simply delicious. The wide range of color palettes for all these styles allows any Lolita to really "go to town" when it comes to her bonnet and what she wants to add to it.

Takarano Arika Antique Doll Bonnet 
With corsage (sold separately) 
Antique Doll Bonnet Hamiel

Innocent World makes gorgeous bonnets, the attention to detail and the quality is always a characteristic of theirs that does not go unnoticed. It is on my wish list to own one of their bonnets and try a similar style with flowers. 

If you wish to have a similar bonnet to Regency era ones, Metamorphose makes (though quantities are limited) one, titled the Marguerite Wreath Bonnet. (Pictures Credited to Metamorphose)

Other Brands that periodically sell bonnets - not the whole list, there may be more shops than this!
Baby, The Stars Shine Bright
Innocent World
Angelic Pretty

Make your own Regency Bonnet!

Regardless of where you take your inspiration for your coordinates, every dress, hair accessory, wigs, and other accessories makes the outfit your own. You feel beautiful and pride in your coordinate, which is what makes Lolita such a wonderful fashion, hobby, or lifestyle. I hope you enjoyed this post on Regency/Jane Austen fashion with a Lolita perspective and that it inspires and informs you in a great way! 

Here are some questions for you !
Who is your favorite sister? Do you wear bonnets, if so which style is your favorite? What do you think of empire and baby doll JSKs and OP silhouettes in Lolita? How do you coordinate that style of dress into a Lolita outfit?

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to do so. I am always looking for suggestions on topics to research and write about and criticism too!

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