Life&Style writer Zenna Hussain looks at the increasing popularity and origins of the ‘Regency-core’ fashion trend
Attention, dear readers of the ton – a new scandal has appeared: the re-emergence of Regency-core fashion.
While fashion trends do tend to cycle, the return of regency attire is an unexpected, but not unwelcome trend. The rise in regency-inspired clothing could be owed to the fashion’s influence upon the costuming within the second season of Bridgerton this year. As any historical fashion lover will tell you, Bridgerton is influenced by, but not totally anchored in regency fashion. Like Bridgerton, ‘Regency-core’, takes inspiration from the era, without being closely confined to floor-length gowns and exceedingly tightly coiled hair. Instead, the trend seems to approach the historical style more playfully, focusing more on the period’s general aesthetic than historical accuracy.
The TikTok hashtag #regencycore has over 40 million views, illustrating the style’s popularity. Bridgerton had roughly 104 clothing changes for just Daphne in the first eight episodes, and now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, people are no longer cooped up as they have been for the previous several years, allowing regency-core’s performance-driven, extravagant style to thrive.
To give a brief history of the style: ‘Regency’ refers to a period in the early 1800s when King George III was judged too ill to lead, allowing his son George IV to serve as prince regent in his place, hence the name Regency period. The epoch is distinguished by poets and authors like as Keats, Shelley, and Byron who flourished throughout Romanticism, as did elegant, ornate attire and art. People utilised fashion to demonstrate their social rank and riches during the period. The emerging middle classes, in particular, embraced fashion to indicate their social climb, distinguish themselves as an upwardly mobile social standing, and reflect their individuality.
With the popularity of various romantic, idealised, and feminine aesthetics such as cottage-core, we can understand the attraction of regency core as a more elevated form. It speaks to a larger commentary on society’s obsession with nostalgia and vintage-inspired fashion. It keeps the best of the past, while ignoring the more problematic characteristics. Such vintage styles mix historical themes and aesthetics with current motifs and sensibilities, to create an entertaining and performance-driven aesthetic.
Regency-core is a hyper-feminine style that is similar enough to cottage-core that only a few things will need to be added if you have participated in that trend. The beauty of regency-core lies within the simplicity, as you only need a few essential elements. A dress with an empire waist, corsets, puff sleeves, and accessories ranging from delicate gold necklaces to pearl decorations to dress gloves. You may dress these up with a delicate pastel palette, flowing materials, and flowery, attractive designs to go from Winterbourne to a society ball, and perhaps even attract the attention of a rake!
How to become a diamond of the first water (wear Regency-core):
Corsets have been popular since before Bridgerton’s debut, but with the season’s release, they are now available everywhere. The beauty of a corset is that it can be worn up or down, with a pair of trousers for a night out, a flowing dress for a romantic, soft image, or a suit to seem powerful. Corsets defy categorization, serving as both outerwear and innerwear.
Empire waist dresses:
This is most likely the simplest way to include regency core into your everyday wardrobe. You don’t have to wear a full-length gown or attend a ball, but an empire waist dress or a baby doll dress will give you the exquisite royal look that the ton—in this case, Selly—will have to adore. Any pastel, flowery dress will provide those cottage core vibes, but for the elevated regency core look, puff sleeves are a requirement and should be accompanied by delicate accessories such as imitation pearls, diamond embellishments and of course….
These showy accessories are the ideal way to spruce up an outfit, lending a regal appearance to even the most modest look. They may be the most unexpected Bridgerton trend: showy, impractical, and the perfect antidote to lockdown slobbery.
To complete the look, an updo is essential, with softly curling locks, to frame your face, and achieve the hyper-feminine look, and minimal makeup that looks like fresh, dewy skin, with a dab of mascara.
So rewatch Bridgerton, Austen, and the Romantics, and embrace the look. While cottage-core is pleasant for day-to-day wear, embrace opulence, hyper-femininity, and elegance with regency-core.
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