Julia Quinn Presents Bridgerton Couture

Welcome to the Bridgerton couture collection.  With the help of Candice Hern, Regency author and expert extraordinaire, I’ve selected dresses from her collection of Regency fashion plates that I think my heroines might have liked.

While you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Candice’s website. You’ll find a wealth of information about the Regency era, especially on her Regency World page, and her collections are not to be missed. And as for her books–they are simply delicious.  If you’re looking for a new author to try, look no further. She’s one of my absolute favorites.

Warmly,

Julia Quinn

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jq_sophie

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Unlike the other Bridgerton heroines, Sophie would not have had a stylish wardrobe until after she married, and even then she would not have had much use for fancy ball gowns.

I myself am not that crazy about the ornamentation at the bottom, but I think that after years in shabby clothing Sophie would have loved it.  This would have been just the sort of dress she’d have worn to entertain company at her home in the country with Benedict.

Here is the description of the print from La Belle Assemblée, March 1817 (“Evening Home Dress invented by Mrs. Bell”):

“Frock of white tissue gauze over white satin, ornamented round the border in a novel and unique style with white satin flutings. Opera hood surmounted by a full garland of roses and lilies of the valley. Blush colour or pearl grey slippers; and white kid gloves.

“This dress, though very prevalent at the Opera, is also much worn as a home costume, to receive rout company or other dress parties.”

 

I just love this walking dress for Sophie!  She’d have gravitated toward the green to match her eyes, and the dress has gorgeous detail without being too fussy.  Plus, the boots would have been very practical for country life.

Here is the description of the print from La Belle Assemblée, April 1817 (“Walking Dress”):

“Round dress of fine cambric, under a pelisse of emerald green reps sarsnet, ornamented and faced with flutings of green and white satin, elegantly finished by British silk trimming; the waist girt by a rich silk cordon of the same manufacture, with full tassels. Spring bonnet of green curled silk, the crown and ornaments of white satin and emerald green to correspond with the pelisse. Green satin half boots and Limerick gloves. Berlin ridicule of green and white satin.”

 

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jq_kate

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For Kate, fashion is all about economy. The Sheffields don’t have money to burn, and Kate will need to make her fashion budget go as far as possible.

I like this ensemble for Kate because it’s not too frilly and girlish.  Kate might be in her first season “out,” but she has always very much seen herself as Edwina’s older sister, and she would have felt uncomfortable if she dressed in as youthful a fashion.  Plus, the model here has her hand on her hip, which just seems so Kate.

Here is a description of the dress from La Belle Assemblée, May 1814 (“Duchess of Angouleme Bonnet and Spencer”):

“This elegant spencer is worm over a walking-dress of jaconet muslin; it is made in rich primrose twilled sarsnet, shot with white; the back, which is full, shews the shape to much greater advantage than any spencer we have lately seen, as it is not so unbecomingly broad at the bottom as they have been worn; the front, as our readers will perceive, is tastefully ornamented with small fleurs de lis of chenille, the colour of the spencer, only a shade darker, which has a very striking effect. A full quilling of broad, soft ribband, to correspond, goes round the neck and down the front of the spencer; this trimming round the neck is in the ruff style, but much more becoming; a rich primrose silk girdle and tassels finishes the waist; the sleeve is ornamented at the bottom with a fancy trimming to correspond. The Angouleme bonnet is indisputably the most elegantly appropriate to the promenade costume that we have yet seen; it is composed of an original and novel material, which is put together in a manner equally novel and ingenious; the shape is a happy medium between the simplicity of the cottage and the dashing style of the small walking bonnet; it may be worn with or without strings, but the former is most general; the feather is placed rather on one side. Gloves slippers, and parasol to correspond.”

Walking Dress, Ackermann, October 1814

The next two are different dresses, but there are enough similarities that a young lady might use the same accessories (doesn’t the bonnet look the same?)  Kate is practical at heart, and I like to think that even after she became the fabulously wealthy Viscountess Bridgerton, she would not have spent lavish sums of money on her wardrobe.  Also, after two blue covers for The Viscount Who Loved Me, I can’t help but see Kate wearing blue clothing.

Here is a description of the first dress, from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, October 1814 (“Walking Dress”):

“An evening primrose-coloured French sarsnet petticoat, trimmed round the bottom with a double border of clear muslin, drawn full with narrow ribband of corresponding colour to the petticoat; high body of jaconet muslin, with reversed drawings; long sleeve, drawn to correspond. A silk ruff. A silk net handkerchief-sash, tied in streamers and small bows behind. A Shipton straw bonnet, tied under the chin with a net handkerchief crossing the crown, and trimmed with a band of the same silk net. Sandals of evening primrose-coloured kid. Gloves to correspond.”

Walking Dress, Ackermann, November 1814Here is a description of the second dress, from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, November 1814 (“Walking Dress”):

“An Italian striped sarsnet lilac-cloured dress, ornemented round the bottom with a double quilling of satin ribband; short full sleeve, trimmed to correspond; the fronts of the dress cross the bosom and form an open stomacher; a Vandyke French ruff, and full bordered cap to correspond. The satin straw hat, tied under the chin with a check or striped Barcelona handkerchief, crossing the crown with a small plume of ostrich feathers in the front. French shawl, a white twill, embroidered with shaded scarlet and green silks, and fancifully disposed on the figure. Gloves, Limerick or York tan, drawn over the elbow. Half-boots of York tan or pale buff kid.”

Promenade Dress, Ackermann, September 1813A book makes a great accessory for a serious-minded young lady, but Kate’s actually got Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers tucked inside.  (She doesn’t like to admit that she loves reading it, but trust me, if she were alive today, she’d be devouring US Weeky at the supermarket checkout line.)  This dress is from 1813, but the Sheffields would not have had enough money to completely redo Kate’s and Edwina’s wardrobes in 1814.  A simple day dress like this would be where they would be most likely to cut corners and economize.  I adore the green, too—it’s one of the colors I chose for my website.

Here is the description of the dress from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, September 1813 (“Promenade Dress”):

“A white jaconet muslin high dress, with long sleeves and color of needlework; treble flounces of plaited muslin round the bottom; wrist and collar confined with a silk cord and tassel. The hair disposed in the Eastern style, with a fancy flower in front or on one side. A Vittoria cloak, or Pyrennean mantle, of pomona green sarsnet, trimmed with Spanish fringe of a corresponding shade, and confined in gracefulfolds on the left shoulder. A white lace veil thrown over the head-dress. A large Eastern parasol, the colour of the mantle, with deep Chinese awning. Roman show, or Spanish slipper, of pomona green kid, or jean. Gloves of primrose or amber-coloured kid.”

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jq_daphne

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Daphne’s not exactly a tomboy, but nor would I call her a girly-girl, and I always pictured her wearing clothes with a simple elegance.

Evening Dress, La Belle Assemblee, Hanuary 1813This evening gown gets its glamour not from frills or flounces, but from the simple drape of the yellow over-dress.  The bows on the side add a nice touch, but without being overbearing.  And something about the hair seems just perfect for Daphne!

Here is a description of the dress from La Belle Assemblée, January 1813 (“Evening Dress”):

“Evening Dress. Plain white satin, with a demi train made extremely low and quite square in the bosom. Epaulet short sleeve, which is set without a shoulder strap. Over this dress is a short one of white lace, in the form of a drapery, which is one of the most elegant and becoming things that we have seen for some time; it comes nearly to the knee in front and is sloped to a point behind, where it is about a quarter of a yard shorter than the under dress. It is fastened down in front by rosettes of pearl, and trimmed round with a rich but not very broad lace; a very light and elegant trimming, of either real or mock pearl, goes round the bosom and sleeves, and as our Readers will see by the Plate, is so contrived as to trim both without being divided; a band of the same goes round the waist. The hair is dressed in the same manner in front as last month, only rather more full, but the whole of the hind hair, which is fastened up behind, falls in light ringlets from the top of the head to the neck. A bandeau of small flowers, which is formed of pearls, goes twice round the head. Pearl necklace and earrings; white satin slippers, and white kid gloves; crape spangled fan. A rich tissue mantlet is thrown loosely over the shoulders by some of our elegantes.”

Carriage Costume, La Belle Assemblee, December 1813I’m not sure why this carriage costume seems so perfect for Daphne.  I think it might be the color, which reminds me so much of the cover of The Duke and I.  I can see her wearing this after she is married, in her new life as a young duchess.

Here is a description of from La Belle Assemblée, December 1813 (“Carriage Costume”):

“Kutusoff Mantle. Pink or scarlet cloth mantle, trimmed with a broad velvet ribband to correspond, a spenser of the same materials, one sleeve of which is concealed by the folds of the mantle; the collar, which is high and puckered, fastened at the throat with a broach; and a long lappel, which ends in a point, falls considerably over the left shoulder. A Kutusoff hat of pink or scarlet cloth, turned up in front, with a little corner to the right side, ties under the chin, and is finished with a pink or scarlet feather; a full puffing of lace or net is seen underneath. Plain cambric high dress, and pink or scarlet leather half boots. Our readers will be able to form a much better idea of this very elegant mantle from our Plate than from description; its effect upon a tall and graceful figure is amazingly striking, and it is, for the carriage costume, decidely the most elegant cloak that we have seen for some seasons back, and does the greatest credit to the tasteful fancy of its inventress, Miss Powell, successor to Mrs. Franklin, Piccadilly.”

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