A ladies Regency dress is a long ankle length dress, with a high empire waistline, resting just under the bust. This gives you the long classically Regency silhouette. Sleeves can be short or long covering the shoulders. Day dresses are normally made from cotton print fabrics, with ball dresses made from silks or more luscious fabric.
A Regency lady would normally wear a chemise, or petticoat as a base layer, with stays/corset over the top. The stays create that shelf look and the high waistline silhouette. A 21st Century brasserie also creates a perfectly adequate shape too of course, for those people who don’t wish to suffer in a corset all day! Stockings would also be worn.
Spencer Jackets/Pelisse Coats
Over the top of your dress, for an added layer out of doors a short Spencer jacket would be worn. A long Pelisse coat is also very fashionable, again with the empire high waistline.
A Regency bonnet is normally a basic straw made shape, covered in fabric, and with added feathers, flowers, and other accessories to create a decorative hat. Ribbons tied under the chin hold it in place on your head.
There are endless options to accessorise an outfit with, depending on what event you are heading to.
A Reticule, the Regency version of a clutch bag, is a good idea for keeping those 21st Century valuables close to you at all times, but concealed inside a period authentic bag.
Although it might not “always rain in Bath”, a practical item to add to your Regency outfit is a parasol or umbrella to keep yourselves cool or dry as you need.
For a Ball then your essential items are gong to be long, above elbow length gloves, normally white.
Ballrooms in Regency times were crowded hot places with lots of bodies dancing around, so a hand-held fan to cool yourself with is very necessary.
A shawl is also a great idea for those chilly evenings as an extra layer. Good for acessorising an outfit with, for a grand entrance into a ball.
Regency footwear for ladies depended on what activity they were partaking in.
When attending an event that includes dancing is it always a good idea to wear comfortable flat shoes. Little pumps, ballet shoes, trainers etc. are the best things to wear. High heels are not a good idea as Regency dancing can involve quick footwork.
For outside wear little heeled, lace up ankle boots are practical, especially if you’re a lady who enjoys a long walk on a fine day.
A lady’s hair in the Regency period would always be up, never hanging loose. Curls were fashionable, a few tiny curls to frame the face, and the rest of the hair would be piled up on top of the head into a bun. Little embellishments such as flowers, jewelled pins or braids were popular for balls and evening activities.
A few Regency hairstyle rules to follow are: Centre parting, high bun on top of the head, a few tiny curls to frame the face, and a clean bare back of the neck, this was to elongate the nape of the neck, as was considered slightly sexy in Regency times!