Netflix’s Bridgerton is a fun 19th century Gossip Girl-esque series set in Georgian England. Sparkly gowns, puffed up shirt sleeves and wigs higher than the Empire State building abound in Bridgerton. Let’s explore how the gorgeous costumes of the show stack up to their historical counterparts.
Women’s Fashions in Bridgerton
For reference, the first season of Bridgerton is set in 1813. The Regency Era was in its early years, and the fashions changed with the times. Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the heroine of Bridgerton, is frequently seen wearing long, colorful gowns with a high waist. This style appears to be the main fashionable pick for ladies of the era hoping to make a suitable marital match.
In contrast, Queen Charlotte of England (Golda Rosheuvel) is never shown in this popular style. Charlotte can be seen wearing more structured gowns with thicker petticoats, longer sleeves and a lower cut waist, which was a popular 18th century fashion for ladies. The fashion choice for Charlotte makes sense given that she was born in 1744 and would likely favor styles from that period.
Charlotte’s fashions in the show do seem to match up with historical portraits of the Queen.
Although Daphne’s dresses are definitely more free-flowing than Charlotte’s, she still can’t seem to escape the dreaded corset. In one scene were Daphne is being dressed there are scars on her back, presumably from corsets digging into her skin. Thankfully she’s able to get a bit of leeway with shorter sleeves, although Daphne can be seen wearing elegant white elbow length gloves for social events.
Daphne does appear to be on trend historically for the Regency Era, matching the styles of fashion plates from the period.
Hair was elaborately pinned to the top of the head, and hair accessories like ribbons, turbans and plumes were considered in style. Daphne is shown wearing a tiara for some events, which was another historically accurate hair accessory for Regency ladies.
Meanwhile, the Featherington girls can be seen wearing large plumes during their audience with the Queen.
Queen Charlotte was apparently a stickler for ladies following the rules of Court Dress. So while the Featherington girls correctly wore plumes and white gowns (Court Dress dictated ladies must wear Ostrich feathers, and unmarried ladies were required to wear white gowns), they failed to wear dresses with hoops or trains. This would not have gone well with the Queen.
As demonstrated in the first episode of Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte’s approval of a young debutante was simply everything.
Were the men of the era tied to strict fashion rules as well?
Men’s fashions in Bridgerton
The men of Bridgerton are frequently seen what could be likened to a a modern three piece suit. There’s the waist coat, shirt and undershirt. It’s highly unlikely to see a proper Bridgerton man without a cravat topping off his look. Cravats are the neckpiece that almost look like a bow, and is the ancestor of modern bowties.
Tricorns were out and top hats were in for head wear. (You can buy a full Regency costume complete with a top hat through the Historical Emporium.)
The Bridgerton men do appear to succeed in historical accuracy clothing wise, according to these fashion plates from the period.
Boots were acceptable for the day, but not for the evening. As for the lower half of mens wear, breeches were slowly fading out of style and trousers were in.
Historical accuracy in period pieces is not mandatory, but certainly helps aid in the believability of whatever era the characters are in. Bridgerton costume designer Ellen Mirojnick made 7,500 costumes for the series. She did a great job in creating a colorful, historically accurate world in the clothing alone, which is no mean feat.