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Regency Dress - Jane Austen Costume for Ladies

Updated on September 6, 2015
The delightful clothing from the Regency era.
The delightful clothing from the Regency era. | Source

Dress Like a Lady from a Jane Austen Regency Book

Ah, the Regency period, such a romantic era. The movies and TV mini-series such as Emma, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice inspire many to join Jane Austen societies, attend Regency balls or dress in Regency costume for Halloween.

The movie Becoming Jane, about Jane Austen's life, added to the fascination for all things Regency. If you'd like to create a costume suitable for a Jane Austen character, check out the videos and information below.

Whether you aspire to being Emma, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy or some other character, you'll want to dress the part well.

Costumes 1821 Regency Fashions by AntiqueImages on Zazzle

Make a Regency Dress from a Modern Dress - Converting a Thrift Shop Dress into a Jane Austen Costume

I was delighted to discover this YouTube video which is quite helpful. It takes a thrift store dress and converts it into an outfit you could wear to a Regency event like a Jane Austen party or for Halloween.

Note the style with the high waist, short capped sleeves or puffed sleeve, and a low neckline.

A Video Tutorial for Turning a Thrift Store Dress into a Regency Gown

Sew a Regency Dress from a Pattern

The Elegant Lady's Closet Pattern
The Elegant Lady's Closet Pattern

Take a look at these patterns for sewing your own historical costume for a Jane Austen character. There are patterns for dresses and some for underthings too.

 

Watch a Segment of Pride and Prejudice to Get Costume Ideas

Get more ideas for your Jane Austen costumes and enjoy the various treatments of the novel with this YouTube. You can watch these on your computer.

I'm fascinated by the styles shown here. What a beautiful era it was for women's clothing.

Pattern for a Regency Evening Dress

Reconstructing History Pattern - RH838 - Regency Evening Dress
Reconstructing History Pattern - RH838 - Regency Evening Dress

This is a pattern by Reconstructing History. It's full-size for an evening dress that would be worn in 1805.

 

Look for Regency Gowns on eBay - to make your Jane Austen costume

What a sweet scene - straight out of Emma or another Jane Austen novel.
What a sweet scene - straight out of Emma or another Jane Austen novel. | Source

The graphic above is from Zazzle: Vintage Valentine Greeting Card by Celebration4all

If you don't want to sew, you'll find ready-made and even custom made for you Jane Austen costumes on eBay. Here's a current selection of these. Don't miss the deadline for bidding on these. Just one more day.

For Those Who Don't Sew, Check Etsy and eBay for Custom Made Regency Dresses

The dresses available on the site may change, but if you really like the one shown here, probably she could custom make it for you.
The dresses available on the site may change, but if you really like the one shown here, probably she could custom make it for you. | Source
Note what is worn as accessories for this dress. there are long white gloves, a simple necklace, and a ribbon headband with fanciful leaves entwined with it.
Note what is worn as accessories for this dress. there are long white gloves, a simple necklace, and a ribbon headband with fanciful leaves entwined with it.

A Cape to Wear with the Regency Dress

This beautiful velvet cape is lined and adds a lot of drama to your costume (besides keeping you warm).

Beautiful Velvet Cloak

Artemisia Designs Renaissance Medieval Lined Velvet Cloak Burgundy Wine One Size
Artemisia Designs Renaissance Medieval Lined Velvet Cloak Burgundy Wine One Size

If the weather turns cool, have your hooded cape at hand. Great for a carriage ride too.

 

Slippers for the Regency Costume

Ladies from the Regency era would love this selection of slippers and shoes to go with their gowns. They range from higher priced dance shoes to budget priced slippers.

Slippers for Ladies

Capezio Women's Pedini 321 Shoe,Black,8.5 M US
Capezio Women's Pedini 321 Shoe,Black,8.5 M US

Notice in the pictures of Regency ladies, they'll wear shoes that look like these. You could get away with simple dance slippers or those black Chinese slippers made of cloth with a strap across the instep.

What I'm showing here would be top-of-the-line. You have to decide how much you are willing to spend on your Jane Austen costume and then make your choices based on how much you'll use it and how important it is for everything to look authentic.

 

Jane Austen Hair Styles

Create a Regency Hairstyle - These Video Tutorials Tell You How

These YouTube videos are quite detailed and helpful in creating a hair style suitable to go with the dresses shown on this page.

Braided Regency Style Hair Do

Are You Going to Try a Regency Era Hair Style?

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What the Jane Austen Character Wears on Her Head

How to Tie a Regency Turban - YouTube Tutorial

Make Regency Style Bonnets or Turbans - Types of Hats: a turban, a stovepipe bonnet and a poke bonnet

These videos do a marvelous job explaining how to make Jane Austen style headgear. You can do it, I know you can.

You don't even have to be very crafty, just watch the YouTube videos a few times and I'm sure you can make one of these bonnets.

How to Make a Poke Bonnet - YouTube Tutorial

Make Your Own Bonnet with These Items from Amazon - for your Regency era costume

If you watched the video above, then you are ready to select a straw hat, some flowers and ribbon to make your own Regency bonnet. If you want more guidelines, I've included a pattern and a book for Regency hats.

Pattern for a Regency Era Bonnet

Regency Period Bonnet Pattern
Regency Period Bonnet Pattern

Here are patterns for Regency bonnets, in case you want something on paper to guide your millinery efforts.

 

How to Make a Stovepipe Bonnet Frame - YouTube Tutorial

You Can Get Custom Made Regency Fashions from Etsy

Graphics used with approval from Fashions from the past. I have no affiliation with this craftsperson, but admire the work and received permission to feature it here.
Graphics used with approval from Fashions from the past. I have no affiliation with this craftsperson, but admire the work and received permission to feature it here. | Source

Regency Era Accessories

Parasols, Purses or Reticules

Make a Reticule or Purse from the Regency Era - to go with the Jane Austen costume

Aren't these a delight. You can match the fabric of the reticule to your dress.

Add a Parasol for the Jane Austen Costume

When you see a period fashion card like this, it inspires you. I'd love to have that parasol. Luckily for Austen fans, they still make lacy romantic looking parasols.

There's nothing more romantic than a lacy parasol.

Delightful Lacy Parasol

Romantic Battenburg Parasol with Embroidery and Lace Gloves, Blue
Romantic Battenburg Parasol with Embroidery and Lace Gloves, Blue

This one comes in a variety of colors. Want to see more? Click on the picture. You'll find many variations on this style.

 

Regency Era Undergarments

Make your own corsets and other underwear

Make a Regency Corset - or undergarment

If you want to be authentic, make a corset to wear under your Regency gown. You'll want a chemise as well.

What Do You Need for Your Regency Outfit?

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© 2011 Virginia Allain

What's Your Favorite Austen Book or Character?

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    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 3 years ago

      Emma for both book and character. Great collection of information!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 3 years ago

      I love all the Jane Austen books, but I have a particular fondness for Persuasion - maybe it's the dashing sea captain. I would be thrilled to have a beautiful Regency dress.

    • Oikouros profile image

      Oikouros 5 years ago

      I just love Ellinor Dashwood!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This is lovely! I love this style of dress. We used to wear them a lot in the late 60's and early 70's. It is a very youthful style.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      These are such lovely costumes! I love watching the movies from this era.

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      I agree with Rosaquid and writergrey. I love Elzabeth Bennet too.

    • writergrey profile image

      writergrey 5 years ago

      I love Elizabeth Bennet, of course, but am liking Anne Eliot more and more.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      I love them all. Emma and Elizabeth Bennet are tops.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 6 years ago

      I just watched the youtube video of how to dress like Jane Austen again, love this lens!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Probably the most comfortable old fashioned clothes! and pretty.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      @Rachel Field: That is so special, Rachel, that you might want to document it in a lens about making the dress. Best wishes to you!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      That's a hard call. My favorite man is Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility. And my favorite leading lady has got to be Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. I like her spunkiness. The dresses are so pretty and simple. I love to see them worn during the dance scenes in the movies.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      Lovely lens.

      I'm currently making the 1804 - 1812 Regency Gown Pattern for my wedding dress!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I love the fashions of that era. Now I want to rent the Pride and Prejudice, again!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      That's so pretty, it makes me think like an aristocratic and charming Lady with big caps and flowing gowns- "Beautiful collections". Love them.