In honor of Pride & Prejudice week, this edition of Stylebook is going retro... VERY retro. The Jane Austen era of fashion brings to mind bell sleeves, bell skirts, empire waists, bonnets, and layer after layer. A few of these can be worn again and some can’t. (Sorry, bonnet lovers, it’s not your time.)
The trick is to choose one of the Regency styles rather than all of them. For example, you can do the long maxi dress with the empire waist OR the bell sleeves with the short dress. If you do all of the aspects in one look, it's overkill, and you're likely to send Mr. Darcy running off in the opposite direction.
If you’d rather go by Ms. Austen than your real name:
You for sure need caps on those sleeves. The shoulder is obvs super sexy… we mustn’t show the boys, even though our chests can be up to our ears! In order to properly cover your shoulders and arms but stay on trend, you can’t go maxi. Keep it short and cover the arms with cap sleeves or, for the more adventurous, true bell sleeves that pair with a fitted skirt or skinnies.
Don’t feel like going full Austen throttle?
Try a peasant top. These come in every price point and look great on a variety of body types. During Jane Austen’s time, fabric manufacturers were starting to make very small prints on their garments, which became very popular. Try a printed peasant top or solid and pair with jeans or a cute skirt.
Another option that’s quite popular today are long maxi skirts. You can’t go wrong putting these with a fitted tank or basic tee tucked in, but when you start adding long sleeves, it can get complicated.
It's nice to know that you can incorporate some Lizzy Bennet in your wardrobe without needing Mrs. Hill. Now, if we can only figure out a way to get those perfect curls and score our own Pemberly...