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Episode 58: Regency costuming in Jane Austen adaptations with Historical Costumer Shannyn Dadvar @wisteria.and.lace

Ever caught yourself daydreaming about twirling around like a character in a Jane Austen novel, decked out in those fancy Regency-era outfits? Well, I am joined by Shannyn Schack Dadvar from Wisteria and Lace in this episode, and we are diving head-first into that dreamy world.

We chat about the enchanting costume designs in Jane Austen adaptations and get down to the nitty-gritty details of period costumes! We are breaking down "Emma" and "Pride and Prejudice," discussing the costume choices that reveal way more about the characters than you might think. Shannyn is ready to bust myths about corsets and dress reform, giving you the lowdown on how film adaptations either nail historical accuracy or, well, unravel it a bit.

So, whether you're a seasoned seamstress or just curious about empire waistlines, this episode is a goldmine for anyone who loves a bit of elegance from the past and those timeless tales spun by Jane Austen. Come join the fun, and let's celebrate the art of historical fashion together! 🌸👗✨

Hilary Davidson: Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency FashionArticle on 2005 Pride and Prejudice and the Importance of Costume StorytellingFrock flicks article

Where can you find Shannyn?Instagram: @wisteria.and.lace


Izzy Meakin: 0:00

We are going to talk all things Jane Austen adaptations, and particularly about the costuming. So we're talking gowns, we're talking dresses. I'm super excited for this. In terms of historical context, I think everyone listening knows not necessarily my expertise, but Jane Austen adaptations I'm a little bit more hot on that, so I'm super excited to do this with you, Shannon.

Shannyn: 0:20

So excited. I'm so so thrilled to be here.

Izzy Meakin: 0:22

Absolutely so I guess all my guests says what got you into Jane Austen?

Shannyn: 0:26

originally I was on a classics kick when I was younger, I would say like around 13, I would read like it was like the gateway drug, was like little women, do you know what I mean? It would start with like classics for children. And then I was just very interested in Austen. I think I may have seen one of the adaptations before when I was much younger, but I didn't really remember it. So I just started with Pride and Prejudice and then I like obviously fell down a total rabbit hole which has been just completely changed my life. So yeah, honestly, I just started reading them when I was 13. And I was head over heels with the way that people spoke and the way that people paved and this like undercurrent of emotion. Of course it's, you know, a rather more repressed society than we are today, but the way you could, the way people worked around the rules, the way people dealt with things, that they were given the hell the hand, that they were dealt, and of course it's romantic, it's sweeping, it's gorgeous, so I was totally hooked.

Izzy Meakin: 1:26

I love that so much. Yeah, absolutely it's. Sometimes I say to people like sometimes reading classic literature can feel like reading fantasy novels at times, because it feels like so alien sometimes. But then when you get into the nuanced details you're like I actually like some of this stuff is really similar to nowadays. Yeah, yeah, it was me If you want to interact and, like you always see characters like oh my gosh, I know someone just like that.

Izzy Meakin: 1:46

And so I guess that's why it stands the test of time, even though it feels like a different world.

Shannyn: 1:50

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm also now rereading them for the first time since I was like an adolescent and I'm coming to them with just such like different meaning. You know, I've lived a little now. I've really met more of those people. Now I think it honestly like shaped my worldview, which is hilarious to say, but it totally did. And now, coming back to them, it's so fun. I'm honestly really enjoying it. So I'm going in order. I'm starting with sense and sensibility and then I'm going to move on to the next one.

Izzy Meakin: 2:16

This is she wrote chronologically oh my gosh, that's so exciting. I'm so excited for you, yeah. I'm reading them constantly, like every stage of life, and honestly it's. I take new things every time I read them. So yeah, I'm excited for this time for you. It would also be really good to hear about you know how you got into fashion and costume and everything like that, because then itself like its own segment of the Jane. Austen community and also like the historical community right.

Shannyn: 2:44

Yeah, absolutely, I remember this vividly. Ok, so when I was 13, 14, 13, I went to Vienna with my family and I saw in the Hofsburg Palace the iconic portrait of Emperor Sisi in that beautiful white gown I'm sure you know the one I'm talking about. It's got the stars all over it and her hair is, like you know, in this beautiful updo with stars and that as well, and she's kind of looking over her shoulder. It was, it was just, it still is, I think, one of the best portraits of all time. I just think it's absolutely stunning. I think it does the sitter really well, it does the fashion really well.

Shannyn: 3:19

That's just an excellent example of mid 19th century portraiture and that totally like screwed me up girl I was, I was, I was focused on finding everything out about that woman and for Sisi, the painter, winterhalter, and, of course, the dress. The dress was like what drew me initially and so it became this again, just like a total rabbit hole. I fell down, definitely propelled by my use of tumbler back in the day, and so I would. Just, you know, I learned on there at first and then I got books and then I then she started taking like extra curricular courses on this and I really just fell in love with the way fashion can be used, not only a self expression but for political reasons, for for storytelling, the way it's a total art form in and of itself and people really underrated. I think now it's getting more of serious respect in academic circles, but also in popular culture for sure. But I still think we could take it further. It's such a rich medium for anything you know really.

Shannyn: 4:25

And so then in college or university I started a history degree in art history minor, and I basically the way my course worked was that you were pretty much allowed to kind of write on whatever you wanted at the end of each course. So every time I had a history course I would talk about an aspect of the fashion in that era. Right, so you know. But when I did tutor history I analyzed, you know, elizabeth's Queen Elizabeth's gown with eyes all over it.

Shannyn: 4:53

I did my senior thesis on the political significance of British oil wedding dresses and the image of Britannia mixed in them, really fascinating with politics and fashion generally and how you can project a certain image. But yeah, I, that's basically how. And then how I got into actually sewing stuff. I think this is. I took a class in high school of just like costuming for like the theater right, and I just kind of learned basically how to sew and then kind of put it away from for a few years, but I always wanted to. You know, it's such a relaxing and fun activity and then at the end of it you get something that's awesome.

Izzy Meakin: 5:34

So practical as well.

Shannyn: 5:36

Yeah, it's a great hobby. It's expensive hobby, I will tell you that, but it's a great hobby, but yeah, and so it kind of fell off for a few years. But I always really have this love of these clothes and the techniques people used to make them and the meaning imbued in these clothes. And so, over the pandemic, I mean, I was like girl, life is short, let's, let's be your own period on heroin. And so I was like you know, that's fine, I'll just start making these clothes. Literally, life is too short. That's why I was just like, why not? And then, of course, you know there's an incredible community online of people who already do this, which has been really, really fun to kind of delve into and get to know people and all that good stuff. So, yeah, that is how.

Izzy Meakin: 6:16

Oh my gosh, what a journey, though. I love that. That's absolutely incredible and it's really interesting to see you doing like the academic side, and then also it being like this hobby. That's like built on top of that and yeah, yeah, amazing, and also just like one incredible skill I mean, we weren't beautiful and like all the other stuff you share on Instagram, I'm always just like oh my gosh, like how amazing is that? And I guess it's expensive. But also I mean what a blessing to be able to make clothes that you actually want to wear.

Shannyn: 6:44

No, honestly no, you could, you could, so do it. You just stick with your. Like McCalls, learn to sew patterns like you've cut, recta regency specifically so easy because it's mostly rectangles and then you know like a slightly different shape for a sleeve. So really, if you did want to get into it, get some cotton Like you can even hand stitch that, because it's really quite relaxing and it's just straight lines, so there's no series tailoring involved. Well, I mean sometimes for regency. So like, if you wanted to, you could I really believe that I really do.

Izzy Meakin: 7:14

I love this. Next year, this year, maybe I'll be. This is what I'll do. I'll just stop making my own clothes.

Shannyn: 7:18

I love that.

Izzy Meakin: 7:20

Yes, exactly, I actually do have a dress being made like an empire gown because I'm going to the Bath Festival and the Jane Auster Festival. Yes, so yes, the excitement of the clerics, I mean girl. I'll be there together, so yeah, I'm really excited for it. That'll be my first ever one as well, so I'm like super excited, don't expect, don't know what I'm going to look like in it.

Shannyn: 7:45

But for sure it's just a little different and we will hang it's so much fun.

Izzy Meakin: 7:50

Oh my God, so excited. Yes, absolutely, that will be amazing. I love that, yeah, and I just think I mean I feel like the perfect person to talk about this because I thought how fun would it be to chat about some of the dresses, gowns, that are in the Jane Austen adaptations, because we actually have so many adaptations now, so we have so many examples of different dresses. And then also, I feel like across the different adaptations, sometimes they take different approaches, which I think is worth discussing as well. So shall I start with what my my favorite adaptation is.

Shannyn: 8:20

and my favorite dresses? Ok, give it to me, give it to me.

Izzy Meakin: 8:24

This is the one that I'll talk forever about. I want to be like, oh my God, here she goes again. So I love I don't know if you've seen this one the 2009 Emma adaptation. All of her dresses incredible. They put her in a lot of pink, which I love, and I feel like people go for a lot of pink when it comes to Emma. Anyway, you see that with the Gwyneth Paltrow one as well, particularly the pink one, this is what she wears at, like, the Box Hills. Yeah, it's quite dramatic, but obviously she's also in that moment. She's like really flutters and then from.

Izzy Meakin: 8:49

So I love that they put her in this pink color, but this dress in particular, is that classic empire dress right, which is like iconic for regency? So it'd be really good to chat about that, because I read that that started to come into fashion around the 1790s and then it just like progressed from there.

Shannyn: 9:06

This is why I was really initially interested in fashion and politics intersecting, because it's like they're completely inseparable, especially in this time period. So you get in the late 1780s and re-entering that, like Shin-ni, is all a rain, which is that beautiful, kind of white frothy. It looks very light, looks very summery, very pastoral, but it looked much more informal than, of course, what you're thinking of, with, like the big penny Yay, it's a huge hair. She wanted something more natural.

Shannyn: 9:34

And eventually that, in tandem with the revolution that was brewing in Paris and the idea of, you know, yalitay, liberté, fraternité, and this return to kind of really basic Roman Republic ideals kind of culminated in women's fashion, really leaning toward this like empire ways, what we call empire for Napoleon and his empire.

Shannyn: 10:00

But this risen ways, that kind of gives you the illusion of like a column, like I'm kind of I'm kind of wearing one right now. This is like modern version, I made it, but yeah, it does kind of make you look like the column, you know High of, you know like Carol's, like a plant, and then you kind of go down from there and they're really, really drapey at first and they have this really really sensual quality. They're really quite sexy. I think Regency is underrated in terms of sexiness. It really is y'all. And then eventually that goes from really the strict kind of neoplasical look to what we're seeing in Emma, which is more kind of like mid to like I would say like 1806-ish going into the teens before it gets really, really structured and this is like the classic kind of like Regency silhouette. So you get the really long the kind of column skirt and then pretty little puff sleeves which developed I would say like after 1802-ish really, actually after 1800 really they were starting to appear because they were much more fitted before.

Izzy Meakin: 11:00

Oh yeah, I do love that, oh my gosh no this is fascinating Because I saw some kind of like actual Regency drawings of like dresses at the time. They kind of look like these little postcards, but when I looked at some of those they did look like they had a very heavy Roman and Greek influence to them. You could see people with like a vase and it's like draped on and everything.

Izzy Meakin: 11:24

It looks slightly different than what you get in the adaptations, but I can see how it developed into this more structured dress which you see, like you said in Emma, there with the pink ones, and what I love about it as well is obviously they play around with a lot of color in these adaptations as well, and I feel like pink is really fitting for Emma.

Shannyn: 11:42

It's so. I so agree with you. It's frothy, very feminine. I mean, you know what? I'm bringing my own modern perception of that color to it, but so is the costume designer. That's what we're affiliating it with, you know.

Izzy Meakin: 11:54

So you get these absolutely beautiful little, like you know, sprigs of flowers, and the little ribbons as well are very detailed, if you actually can find some photos of those, even when they use colors that they wouldn't necessarily I mean, like I'm going to, like I'm a color expert here wouldn't necessarily be in a color palette, like, if you see, with that kind of more yellowy toned flower dress they often put this like dark blue, like a rich dark blue, pink over the top.

Shannyn: 12:20

The color palette there as well, like that pretty like pale yellow, some navy blues. It's very like. It's very effortless. I just love, love Emma's costume. It's really a dear.

Izzy Meakin: 12:30

I also love as well that they always put her in these kind of long sleeves as well, and I think that shows, like obviously her father's paranoia, that she's like going to get sick, so like every time that she's out like walking, she's always like long, she's got like a long top underneath. Was that quite common that people would layer in this time period with like shirts and long sleeve tops.

Shannyn: 12:48

Absolutely so. There's this thing called a chemise, which you can see in a lot of Austin adaptations, sometimes taken to an extreme, as we may talk about later. So, like I would not wear this neckline during the day. I would probably be wearing something like this, but with this like kind of diggy underneath. So it's like a vest. It goes over your shoulder like that, and then it ties underneath with maybe some drawstring and it has pretty little ruffles. You see them a lot in the Emma 2020 adaptation, with these pretty little ruffles here, and that kind of just made it more appropriate for day wear. But also it looks as like very modern, like literally wearing, you know, a kind of t-shirt underneath, like a shorter sleeve shirt, and then that totally is accurate. You could have totally done that. So, technically, she might have worn something slightly higher neck tier with that under the chemise, but it's still really cute. I really like it.

Izzy Meakin: 13:40

So usually, if you're out every day, you would be a little bit more covered up, and it's only kind of at balls or evening wear that you would then be like a bit more exposed, which I think we do see with a lot of ball scenes, like people tend to have more flesh on show.

Izzy Meakin: 13:52

I think we even see that with, like the 1995 Pride and Prejudice as well Like they have a lot more flesh on show than they do Like usually. They'll often seem wearing long sleeve dresses. Look gloves is that accurate at the time period? And people wearing these like long gloves, oh yeah.

Shannyn: 14:06

Oh yeah, I think it's so chic as well, people who have worn gloves a hell of a lot more than they do today. And actually I was at a ball with the amazing shout out Zach Pencent. It was like really, really hot in the room and I was thinking, oh my gosh, should I take off my gloves? And I asked him and he's like, well, I mean you can, but even at the time that's kind of like a bit dirty. You're relying.

Shannyn: 14:25

I mean, this is a time when hygiene isn't quite as ubiquitous as it is today. I mean, people still bathe, people still bathe, but, like you know, you're relying on everybody around you to also have kind of hygiene. So if you're sweaty and clammy and you take off your gloves and then you touch somebody else, you know there's also an element of that in there. So you would keep them on for propriety, first, two for the for the look girl, and three slightly also for hygiene. You know, you, it's a dirtier world than it is today, so that's a very kind of interesting aspect. So you would have worn gloves all the time during the day, not home so much that like if you go out you would have worn gloves. I love you.

Izzy Meakin: 15:06

Yeah, well, that's actually such a great point. I think a lot of people often think that people were quite like preserved and like the way that they were like physically intimate with people. But actually, if you think about it, you're probably touching way more strangers back then that you do now because you're dancing with different people constantly constantly touching people, absolutely. Absolutely, whereas now, like we're not always touching each other.

Shannyn: 15:27

No, no, I mean honestly people like Touch Star. Now they go to the A soft store to get their hand touched. You know like it's crazy out there.

Izzy Meakin: 15:33

So I'm my nails done. I'm just like physical.

Shannyn: 15:35

I'm like, oh my gosh, this is intense yeah.

Izzy Meakin: 15:38

What's up? The other Emma adaptation that was kind of like groundbreaking right.

Izzy Meakin: 15:43

Like I know, we have like Bridgeton and everything now which obviously is really pushed. Regency is high, like it seems to have just like blown up since then. But the Emma was a little bit more I don't think it's the risque, but it kind of was in the sense that things were a little bit more out there than they are in Bridgeton, right, some of the outfit choices, I mean even that the dress that she wears to Miss Taylor's wedding, it's like that. Yeah, it almost looks. It looks more costuming, I think, than it has done in other adaptations.

Shannyn: 16:11

That's interesting you say that because this is widely considered to be one of the most accurate adaptations in terms of costuming. There are so many elements of this movie that are just like, totally accurate, like, totally accurate to the point where they're copying dresses from, you know, the Victorian Albert collection. The Cure of a Costume Institute Is that pink gown. This is like a classic kind of people in the historical costuming community. This is like. This is like our brand butter this dress, everyone loves this dress. And then Emma 2020 came out and they recreated the dress and it was just such a lovely ode to the period. But also, again, they're showing how they really respected the era Like it was. It was so much fun to watch.

Shannyn: 16:53

As somebody who does actually really love detail and inaccuracy and I totally get storytelling oh my God, I'm not a snob. Okay, like I actually don't mind Bridgeton, I initially was like what is this? But I actually love Bridgeton. But like this dress is, so it's completely accurate. Like they recreated it to a tee, from fabric to the beautiful little trimming on the Empire bus line, to the beautiful sleeves. I mean it's so interesting to see in a modern film with, you know, a digital camera, something that actually really looks of the time and the hair is really accurate.

Izzy Meakin: 17:28

So she wears a lot of hats as well. Was that quite good? Yes, I feel like a lot of people under the impression that obviously bonnets was like that was like the number one thing that you'd wear, but I actually did read somewhere that hats and just like unusual headpieces were actually quite common.

Shannyn: 17:41

Oh yeah, oh yeah, people loved things that look vaguely like turbans. People, of course, look bonnets. People, of course, loved things that kind of look like a beret, and I'm forgetting the name for them right now, but they look a bit like a beret and they're not called that, but to us it's. There's actually a wide variety of headwear, and even within bonnets you get totally different shapes as well. So, like there's a poke bonnet, there's, you know, more of a sun bonnet, there's kind of a thing called Shaco, which is more military inspired, which looks more like a military kind of hat, and it's just so fabulous to see so many different accessories finally being used. And also they're quite colorful, called wintry color in the bonnet as opposed to the dress, like the accessories on this movie are so good.

Izzy Meakin: 18:28

So so good. So that would be interesting as well with accessories. Just because we're on that topic, in the latest persuasion, the Netflix adaptation can I send you a photo of these hats and let me know? Because I was like is this accurate? And with that I hope you enjoyed this video. I don't know if they're accurate either, because they look quite unusual.

Shannyn: 18:46

I said that people wore something like berets. They were called tans. I've remembered the word because I think that they were trying to reference with Dakota Johnson's hat, something like this. But they did it really weirdly and also just. I think the hair throws a lot of people off.

Izzy Meakin: 19:04

I know it's thick. The lipstick throws me all the time. Yeah, the makeup the purplish lipstick.

Shannyn: 19:08

The styling was really weird, I gotta say. I think the reason people didn't like Dakota's costuming is because it just looks 1910s. So later in the 1910s or even in yeah, mostly in the 1910s, I mean you kind of started around like 1909. You get that again the Empire silhouette, but it's much more slim, it's much more like hugging the body and also this is more Edwardian styling it just really is. It's just super weird that they chose to do that.

Izzy Meakin: 19:35

The color in the color in as well, right, gives me more like Victorian Edwardian feel as opposed to. Yeah, I think. I mean I can't say for sure, but when I'm looking at like photos of like Regency dresses, like those little postcardy ones, pastels seem very popular.

Izzy Meakin: 19:49

So you see that in a lot of the adaptations as well. I think one that stands out to me is the Northanger Abbey version with Felicity Jones, and have you seen that one? Yes, I love that one and I love that they look their age in that one as well.

Shannyn: 20:05

They do. I totally agree, it's colorful especially Isabella's costumes.

Izzy Meakin: 20:09

She looks like somebody who would be trouble and like playful and flirty. A good like reference there to like that military style that you run about as well, because some of the coats they do kind of look quite military.

Shannyn: 20:23

Yeah, totally agree. It's interesting that you say that Isabella looks like she could have been more troubled, because this is kind of what I was talking about earlier with that transition from really neoclassical to slightly more just like generally Regency. If you look at that first image, isabella has an item called an open robe on. That is much more early Regency. So open robes were like like 1795-ish to about 1800. People didn't really I mean, you know everything, things within reason, you know people still wore their clothes if they had them, but people would often update them as well. But you know that that's an earlier style which, in my opinion, the earlier Regency is much more overtly sexual. It's much draper, it's much, there's much more on display. She probably still would have worn some kind of shimmy set, but if she's really going for that 1790s, very sexy neoclassical look, that's like much more accurate. And then you look at Felicity Jones next to her and that's like way more mid to late Regency. You can see the difference. You can see how it's developed. It's gone from this very kind of drapy garment to something more structured.

Shannyn: 21:31

But in terms of color there is a conception, misconception, that there was exclusively pastels in the Regency era and I think people think the same about the Rococo as well. I think that's because of, like Marie Antoinette 2006 with Kristen Dunst, because she wanted a specific palette for that film and because they did a really good job with the costumes, a lot of people just think, oh okay, they really only wore Macaron colors, you know. Or with these adaptations, they really only wore, you know, slightly more muted, slightly paler, more pastel, but the Regency was super colorful, like truly. I've seen some bonkers color combinations out there, but it kind of depended on region, et cetera. So I think a lot of these choices were probably made because, realistically, I don't really know if, you know, somebody in the countryside would be wearing something bright orange all the time, you know.

Izzy Meakin: 22:19

Interesting. So talking about that then coming back to the 2020 Emma then. So some of those color choices very bright, the yellow coat sound like to me, so fun oh my gosh so bright so bright and colorful. It looks so good, so how would people actually color clothes back then?

Shannyn: 22:36

You know, that's where I have a weak spot. I don't know the actual scientific specifics but they had, like, various dyes. You know there was still this was still before the advent of Aniline dyes, which were synthetic essentially. So like, if you think of, like, I mean if you can think of, you know, mid, mid, like 1850s, 1860s, when it starts to get really brightly colored, you know, civil War era or Gone with the Wind, those have been really brightly colored dresses because they were synthetic dyes at that point, or at least more chemical dyes. They were still using natural dyes here.

Shannyn: 23:09

So of course, to get really bright colors you probably also had to spend a little more. But at the same time muslin, which is this beautiful flowy white fabric that you see pretty much in every Jane Austen adaptation, was like the height of the day. And to get really fine, really sheer, really see through muslin could be quite expensive, because I was coming from India, you know so the shipping charges, production charges etc. But it's just a matter of quality and it's the same with dyes Like you could probably find, you know, really bright yellow clothing if we're slightly cheaper. But it would it be that good of quality. You know, question mark. But yeah, totally, that's why.

Shannyn: 23:51

that's why a lot of people in the cultural costuming community absolutely love this adaptation because they show the full spectrum of the region, see, in terms of color, day, night accessories, bonnets, like the whole thing. It really went there and I love that for it.

Izzy Meakin: 24:09

It's interesting what you were saying about muslin as well, because I read that actually, in a practical sense, muslin was better because it laundered better than like still yeah, for sure, for sure.

Izzy Meakin: 24:18

The only issue that most people struggled with it which actually a lot of people didn't wear white because of this is because that was the most difficult to keep pristine, like it was difficult to keep your white clothes white, so a lot of people didn't wear white and apparently if you went out in society in white, that showed that was like a status thing, in fact.

Shannyn: 24:34

Yeah, yeah, absolutely, it was, absolutely it was. It became more popular during the region, see, because I think this is true, I'm pretty sure it's true. But there's a rumor that Napoleon loved to see Josephine in white right, and they were like not just the leaders of French society, but also you know fashion really at the time, and so Napoleon loved to dress her in really empire waist gowns, but really lots of whites. He just thought it looked really fresh, and so that's why you get this kind of popularity of white in the era, in evening wear especially. But also it's just like kind of versatile. You can really style white much easier than you can, you know, a bright orange gown, so you can wear it to more balls, you can be, etc. Etc. I'm just thinking of a dress that I absolutely loved. What's it called? I have a soft spot for her anyway, mansfield Park, you know the 1999 one.

Shannyn: 25:29

Mary Cross, mary Crawford. Thank you, mary Crawford.

Izzy Meakin: 25:34

Yes, I picked some of her dresses as well, because she has some great ones.

Shannyn: 25:38

She slayed, she's laid very hard. I love Mary Crawford. I think she's extremely misread. Jane Austin even writes she was generally governed by good instincts, by a good heart. So, and also the novel is written from, in a way, fanny's perspective. But also Fanny is this like insane imagination, you know? And she's also only human. So we're kind of reading everything Mary does through her eyes. But she's still not a bad person. I mean, her biggest, like you know sounding. You're speaking to the converted, trust me, real practical.

Izzy Meakin: 26:12

I love it. Honestly, everyone will be laughing because they'll be like you're speaking to the converted like Izzy's hair with Mary Crawford.

Shannyn: 26:17

I like her.

Izzy Meakin: 26:18

I love her. There was a dress, a black lace, sleeve.

Shannyn: 26:22

Yes, yes, yes. I'm looking at that right now I'm putting it in the chat I am obsessed with this dress. It's so chic. There's definitely examples of people doing really fun things with sweeps at the time, so it's technically it could be accurate. I just think it's a really good storytelling as well. It's so different to anyone else in the movie wears she actually loves the 2007 one with Billy Piper.

Izzy Meakin: 26:47

Have you seen that one? Yes, yes, I have, so I hate everything that Billy Piper wears in that one Horrific.

Shannyn: 26:52

I don't even.

Izzy Meakin: 26:53

I don't know what's going on with half of those outfits, but Mary Crawford's dresses do look quite accurate and they are really nice. Again, those dark colors like she wears, like maroon and just like she just looks very special, right?

Shannyn: 27:07

Yes, I love that dress Actually. And now that if we focus on that maroon dress that you're talking about, where she has like big feather plume in her hair, that's accurate. I mean, you would have done fun things with the sleeves, you would have had crossover bodices. I've made one you know like.

Izzy Meakin: 27:21

I feel like Fanny looks slightly medieval, though I don't really get what's going on, yeah.

Shannyn: 27:28

So that that blue dress especially, that's just 18th century. That literally is just from like 30 years before this movie would have been taking place, really, or you know. But I think maybe they were trying to show like, oh, she's the poor one, so she's getting all the hand me downs. But even in that case, like people wanted to reuse fabric a lot. So, like you, you would have a dress from you know 1775, but you have a lot of fabric in that dress. You could just take that to your dressmaker and ask her to like unpick and Update the silhouette with the same fabric. So like, maybe they're. There are probably always cases.

Shannyn: 28:10

I mean, again, people have clothes and would wear them. You know, like I still wear my stuff from 2011, if I, you know, if it's not bright, mid-green, but who knows, I might be coming back, um, but but people would have updated their stuff. Like that's why it's always so weird that, like people think Queen Charlotte We's like always in 18th century dress no, girl, she wore regency clothes. In fact, the one actual gown we have survived, hers, is from like the 1800s, with that updated that bus line. I don't know why she's wearing that. It looks weird. And also, girl, push your hair up. What? Why is your hair down and scraggly girl?

Izzy Meakin: 28:47

Just doesn't look funny, stay right. I just find that really confusing because I'm like clearly I mean, maybe you're right, maybe it's that that sense. It's like they couldn't afford to change it. And that brings me on to another film that people have speculated this about as well, and that's how Mr and Mrs Bennett addressed in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. Yeah because apparently there's like a decade earlier.

Shannyn: 29:08

Yeah, it's like way earlier. They do. You know, with old people a lot, which I think is really offensive. Ages Like you guys, just because you get older doesn't mean you don't want to like look right, I don't know. I just think that's so weird. But they told you're so right. They totally did that in a 2005.

Izzy Meakin: 29:26

Pride and Prejudice. In general, this is a great film to think about. I read a fantastic article that I will link below, guys, so that you can go and read it if you want to, but it was basically talking about why a lot of the costumian is not consistent with Regents the era. How a lot of that? With?

Izzy Meakin: 29:42

maybe Joe Wright's choice, because he didn't actually like the Empire silhouette, but there was a great point in this article that said. I have a much bigger problem with the inconsistencies of the silhouette and what those inconsistencies imply for the world building if the costume deviates from history. I think it's important to build a coherent costuming, both in aesthetic and silhouette, and I think that's super interesting because I didn't realize that I read this article, that it's so mix and match, because I actually thought I don't know why. I just assumed that all of it was off and they just come up with their own styles. But actually there's some costuming that is pretty accurate and some that's way off, some that's of different time periods. So I would love to hear your thoughts on this because, yeah, I'm not fully clear on what's accurate, what isn't accurate.

Shannyn: 30:30

I mentioned earlier, there's a hilarious frock flicks article which I will send to you, called the Mean Girls Just Dress Better in Austin. And it's true, they, I mean, but for many reasons, you know, they're supposed to be richer characters, they're supposed to be, you know, more in society, etc. Etc. Etc. But at the end of the day, they get better costumes, in my opinion, and this costume that Caroline Vanley is wearing is such a good example of what we're talking about generally, so like one that is clearly region C. She's got that really high bust line and also she's got some drapery as well. I mean it looks quite modern to me as in a way, in a sense, but also it's, it actually is of the time.

Shannyn: 31:10

People would have known really really quite sexy dresses. So that's like, very like strictly like 1800 you know what I mean like really really of the moment. And then you look next to her immediately, look at her waistline. Where is your waistline, girl? Why is your waistline down there? It's trying to be, I think, 1790s, because you know you have to transition to get up there. You didn't just go from big penyees down here at your hips to just randomly being up there. I mean it did raise throughout the 1790s. It's quite odd, I don't know what to say. It's just really strange and hurt. I mean, I love that beautiful brown dress, with that classic brown dress that she wears while she's reading the book in the opening scene. Yes, again, really 1790s, but like not, they pick and choose really random things to highlight from there and I think also Jane Bennett.

Izzy Meakin: 32:01

She often wears more accurate dresses than Elizabeth does and I do know if this was a choice for styling Kira Knightley in particular, just like what dresses would be more flatter into body shape?

Shannyn: 32:14

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I mean Kira Knightley is also I hope this isn't like me, but she's quite small chested, so in the Regency she wouldn't really have that much to kind of prop up in a sense. That. Sorry if that's me, but you can see, with Rosamund Pike in this little thing I just said to you, rosamund's in like, you know, late 1790s, that looks like something from the era. What the hell is she wearing, girl? What is Elizabeth when it's wearing? I mean I love it, it's very romantic.

Izzy Meakin: 32:43

It's very you know. It's like it's giving me 2022 persuasion again. Like very similar. I know the one you're talking about.

Shannyn: 32:48

I can't look that outfit. This is like, maybe slightly more accurate because in the era you would have had an overdress, say that brown dress was like an overdress, right, that white would have been a shimmy set, but you probably wouldn't have rolled up the sleeves, maybe unless they got really hot and you were like in the privacy of your home. But just the way that brown dress looks just doesn't look like other overdresses from the time. I feel like her costumes in this are like the equivalent of 1995 of Pride and Fragile, when Colin Firth comes out of the lake in a wet shirt Iconics, do you know what I mean, rather than strictly period drama, which I don't mind Because it's totally swept off my feet as well. Girl, I love this movie.

Izzy Meakin: 33:38

I think they do lean into the fact that it is meant to be more cinematic. Also, I feel like they really push that Elizabeth has to blend into the landscape in terms of natural colours.

Shannyn: 33:47

Which I love. Don't get me wrong, I'm all over natural colour.

Izzy Meakin: 33:49

Greens, browns love that. But you look at the difference again. Yeah, with that photo you've just sent the difference between Jane, who looks like she's a ball, and Elizabeth, who looks like she could just blend in to a meadow. It's really interesting the colour choices for them.

Shannyn: 34:05

It's way more historically accurate for the 1790s. I have made a few dresses that were basically it was just a drawstring under your breasts and then a drawstring at the neckline. So you have this kind of gathering here, so that's accurate. And those straight sleeves are way more 1790s. That looks like a dangerous girl. I'm going to put on something a little nicer. Oh my god Look at her sister.

Izzy Meakin: 34:27

She's like a whole queen. She's like a whole queen. She looks real yeah.

Shannyn: 34:33

I don't think Elizabeth would have been wearing stuff from five years ago, from five, ten years ago, that her sister's you know what I mean. You wouldn't have had her in the sense of costumes.

Izzy Meakin: 34:44

No, I also read that about the Bennets, mr and Mrs Bennet as well, because apparently you know, having the correct silhouette was social etiquette.

Shannyn: 34:53

Like it was beyond.

Izzy Meakin: 34:55

it was like beyond, I want to be fashionable. It was more like it actually upheld your status in society, which I get that you know they're struggling for money, but you know they're still landed gentry Like they still would charge society in the correct clothing for the time.

Shannyn: 35:08


Izzy Meakin: 35:09

And also Lady Catherine, her costumes. Costuming seems a little off to you. Why would she not be in the?

Shannyn: 35:14

correct clothing. Oh my god, especially her. This is like my issue with. They do this a lot for older characters. I think it's so offensive. They would have still wanted to look nice Older people just get older. They don't want to look horrendous and 20 years out of date. You know, like I, just I don't get why they did that. Especially Lady Catherine. She's rich, she's really rich. She would absolutely have been decked out to the nines in the finest you know of the moment Regency fashion. I don't know why they put her in like full 1770s. I was like girl wrong. One of my favorite costumes ever, I think it is this one that Lydia Wickham wore in Death Comes to Pemberley. It's like this beautiful red cross over Amazing.

Shannyn: 35:58

But I think if you scroll up in our chat, I think it's the same one that Caroline Bingley wore in 2005 Pride and Prejudice, I think, because they often do reuse these costumes and it looks basically the same.

Izzy Meakin: 36:11

I just love that dress, though you look so similar.

Shannyn: 36:13

I think a beautiful red wrap bodice are beautiful Okay.

Izzy Meakin: 36:18

I want to talk about some outfits that I really dislike. Give them to me. Give them to me, I'm ready. Okay, anything that Anne Elliot wears in persuasion 2007. They just don't do it for me. I'm so sorry they really don't. She's got like a purple dress and then she's got this purple jacket over the top. Now I know these jackets seem quite iconic. Like having these like short cut off jackets, that kind of cut off it, that just under your bust. However, this one I just horrific. I can't bear it.

Shannyn: 36:45

No, it's not my fave. It's not my fave Also because, oh my God, no, it's so bad. I'm just like like let's get it again. Okay. So that's called Spencer and Spencer's could be cute. Like you could have a really cute little cropped little jacket and people are also even still kind of wear like stuff like that. Like I've seen like a lot of girls now like doing that kind of Y2K Bolero vibe, which I think is super cute. So you could have had these cute little crop Spencer's but, like you've seen them in other pics that we've like discussed before they fit, why is this baggy on the bottom? If it had been at all more defined, I think it would have been slightly more attractive. Also, like that defeats the purpose. Like it's supposed to be a tailored garment to keep you warm. Why is it baggy and letting in cold air?

Izzy Meakin: 37:28

Even the ones that fit, though, really aren't flattering, like the family portrait one. That's just not the one I've. I'm just not feeling that. I'm sorry, the coat that kind of looks like curtains, like the pattern on it, just really doesn't do it for me it does. I mean, I guess like having these patterns with that be quite common. Like I see a lot of dresses in with tiny little flowers on. And it was that, would you have fabrics that had patterns on like that?

Shannyn: 37:57

Yeah, absolutely they would have. They're called the X-Prict so they would have been maybe embroidered in. Sometimes they're actually woven into the fabric. But and paisley, like you know paisley, but that was pretty popular in the middle of the 19th century. But there were a few kind of more Indian inspired elements that you would have seen in the Regency, like a lot of shawls had kind of aspects of I'm forgetting the actual term, but you know paisley aspects. They would have looked a little more inspired by Indian aesthetics. I could maybe see somebody wearing it, but like it's just not my thing, girl, it's not my thing, I just don't like it. You're right, it's really horrendous. And then even that one that she wears above it as well, with this like weird little velvet collar, they just didn't do her any favors in this movie and she's a pretty actress, they really just didn't help her out. And the hair as well Just just didn't look good on her.

Izzy Meakin: 38:57

It's like no, it's just not good on her.

Shannyn: 38:59

Oh, my god girl. This is the vibe that you can take me back to yeah. No, I totally agree. She's been seeing you for decades, you can wear a nicer dress.

Izzy Meakin: 39:12

And also, obviously in the book it says that like her youthful glow and like faded or whatever. But, friend, that doesn't go to your clothing. Like your clothing still can hold its own.

Shannyn: 39:20

Let's be clear.

Shannyn: 39:21

I think you know what, but in every I haven't actually seen the 1995 persuasion. I've only seen this one and the recent one, and I absolutely hated the recent one. But in both of them they really like try to emphasize that she's like aging by putting her in these like purples and more muted tones. I'm like there weren't really any like rules about like colored as you age. I mean debutantes, like in high society, would have more white, but that's just like a purity thing. Do you know what I mean? It didn't really. It was a purity and a well thing, of course, because it was quite expensive to keep wearing something that'd get really dirty really quick. But like would they? Once you're married you wear like plenty of colors. If you were like an aging spinster in this case, I don't, I just don't know why they keep putting her in purple. I just think it's really like I get it from a storytelling perspective, but it's just, it's just been a long ride, it's just a it's just like a maturity thing as well.

Izzy Meakin: 40:27

But I actually think a film that does this really well to show maturing and that is the there's an version of is the Mansfield Park we were talking about before. I think it's the 1990 one with the brunette. They actually do a really good job of showing Fanny maturing, because then they start putting her in this long sleeved red dress, which I actually think is really flattering on her. It looks really good. I feel like at the start of the film she's like in like not very colorful stuff, but this shows a maturity to her which I think makes sense, for the storyline is actually really flattering.

Shannyn: 40:58

No, I totally agree actually, and even her like white dress that she wears at her like quote coming out ball I mean interesting little tassel right in the middle but that's like, that's like very much still like what you would have worn in a coming out ball. You would have looked young and fresh and white and you know and pure. You know that kind of thing is a whole separate conversation behind that. But I love that red dress. I know exactly what you're talking about.

Izzy Meakin: 41:20

Are there any of the ones that you want to show me that you want to chat about?

Shannyn: 41:24

Oh my gosh. So one of my favorite costumes hairline bingley in 1995, fried and fried and prejudice has this orange number and I think it is fab. I think it's so fun, it's so the Mean Girls just wear better costumes. They just do. They just do Like look how detailed that is and then like, look at the jewelry as well, and the hat and the feathers and the tassel I don't actually know what that is on the shoulder, but it's so pretty. I just think it's such a good costume and does a really good job of showing how in opposition she is to Elizabeth. Like it's a bright color, it's much more decorated, it's just more intricate and a different color palette than what we see Elizabeth in that whole adaptation to, she just looks maybe slightly more done up and I think that does both a really good job of showing the class difference, showing the character difference. It's a good costume and it's beautiful.

Izzy Meakin: 42:27

And then I think, if you look in comparison to like some of the ones that Elizabeth wears which I actually quite like Elizabeth styling in the 1995 one, because I think it speaks to her character the colors are always so muted, she's always in like brown, like a beige color, or white.

Izzy Meakin: 42:43

Even this like coat, which I think is actually really lovely, this black coat over like this kind of white dress. But she's got like this brown hat on In comparison. Yes, caroline Bingley is always in these, like brighter, bolder colors, and Mrs Haas as well. You know her and her sister. Together they both look expensive.

Shannyn: 42:59

Totally agree. And also I have to say oh my god, what's her name? The actress who played Elizabeth Bennett in 1995? She just looks good in Regency. She has the figure for it.

Izzy Meakin: 43:09

Do you know what I?

Shannyn: 43:09

mean Like she makes you wear Regency. She looks so nice in in those necklines and that Bustle out. It's just so pretty on here. It really is. And hair actually I used to not like the hair in that she had in this movie, but I totally get it now. I think it frames her face really beautifully. She just looks good.

Izzy Meakin: 43:27

She just looks yeah, jen is really made for Regency. Let's be clear, she was made for this role.

Shannyn: 43:33

Yeah, she was role of a lifetime.

Izzy Meakin: 43:35

Role of a lifetime but is there any other Aspects of like Regency costuming that we haven't talked about that you think is like important for people listening to know and people watching to know?

Shannyn: 43:43

just because, yeah, yes, let's talk about underwear very briefly, because it's weird misconception that people were like tight lacing at this period in time. Girl, look at the clothing. It's a waistline that sits under your bust. Why would you be trying to like get the world's tiniest natural waist if your outfit doesn't even show that off? Like just think about it. It doesn't make any sense. Do you know what I mean? Like that opening season scene on Bridgerton where they're like pulling her in this like long corset? No, that didn't happen. Why would you have done that?

Shannyn: 44:19

and even even later in the century when people were, you know, wearing things at the natural waistline again, people aren't tight lacing all day, every day. That's like, imagine if you were wearing like your most Insane shapewear to go to work every day, like no, you wouldn't have done that. You might wear your insane shapewear for New Year's Eve, but you're not gonna wear it all the time. You know, people weren't tight lacing all the time. And also the type of underwear you would have worn in the Regency Um, you'll have to show me yeah, I'll send you.

Izzy Meakin: 44:49

I'll send you. That's such a good point. I didn't even think about that, like why would you be pulling yourself?

Shannyn: 44:54

Why would you hide yourself so hard?

Izzy Meakin: 44:55

Your dress cuts off and it's like a line, isn't it like?

Shannyn: 44:58

full, so you wouldn't need to. So there's like two Main types of underwear in this period. That would have been what we might call the corsets. So first of all, they're called stades in this period. Still, of course, it doesn't really start being called a corset until like, like the mid 1830s, like 1840s, because until then they were stays, which has it's like a holdover from the 18th century, but really like, so it looks like a little balkanette bra. Essentially, that's what you would have learned for a good portion of the Regency Is this like little, kind of like balkanette bra situation. And I have to wear them and when I make Regency costume, girl, they are so comfortable, they're so comfortable, actually like this.

Shannyn: 45:45

This notion that you would have a tight lacing is insanely weird. So you would have worn that for the first bit of the Regency and then later on, when the dresses become slightly more structured and less Flowey, you might have started wearing long stays. But these were corded. So if you think, of course, that you think a whale bone, right? No, not in this. In long stays, which kind of give a similar vibe to corsets, it's like again. So it's like a transition period into the strict kind of Victorian era that we're thinking of. This would have just been made of like mostly cording, and then you see that one piece of wood go down the middle Just to kind of give you like that upright. But it's not an uncomfortable garment, it's actually really comfortable, and you would have worn that over a shift, right?

Shannyn: 46:34

So, um, think about how, like you know, like men in the 50s used to wear like the undershirt and then their shirt and then their jacket, right, right, that's basically what you do here. You would wear something underneath short stays, long stays To wick moisture off your body and also, because that's the thing closest to your body, you're gonna wash that the most. You don't really want to be washing your clothes all the time because it's time and effort and expensive. So, yeah, you would have won a shift and then you would have worn your kind of structural garment and then you would have worn a pedicobra too, right? So, and there's like many examples of pedicodes you can wear something cover your bust. The one I have for regency actually stops underneath my bust and just has like two straps that attach to the back. But, like I just that's the thing. In a lot, of, a lot of adaptations, they just constantly have this like tightly syncing scene and it's like why would you be tightly syncing? It makes no sense.

Izzy Meakin: 47:33

Even in the 2005 one, there's that scene where Lydia's being like Tyra. It's like why, what are you doing this for? Yes, oh, that's such a great point and, yeah, this does look way more comfortable. To be fair, I love that we are saying what goes underneath as well, and that obviously means that you don't have to wash your clothes as regular, which makes so much sense, and also washing that, like you're more like structured garments would be a pain in the bum so I can imagine being like Don't let it touch you.

Shannyn: 48:04

I'm sorry the accurate like laundry yet, but I don't want to girl, it looks hard.

Izzy Meakin: 48:09

So fascinating. I love all of this honestly and I feel like we could talk forever on oh my god, totally, I just love it. We could click on adaptation by adaptation and maybe if people really do this episode let us know, because we could definitely do that right, we could go back.

Shannyn: 48:24

I will tell you great who left no crumbs and who wallowed away. I love it.

Izzy Meakin: 48:31

I feel like that would be so fun to do, like to chat about, but thank you so much for coming on.

Shannyn: 48:36

I have such a blast today. Honestly, how fun to do this.

Izzy Meakin: 48:39

Do you want to let everyone listen and know where they can find you? I'm on instagram or anywhere like that.

Shannyn: 48:43

Yeah, so I'm, um, I'm shannon and I'm at Wisteria and dot lace. So if you search with steria and lace, it will come up. Um, and I just do like historical costuming, like as a hobby, for fun, on instagram. I don't know, I keep it like, I keep it fun, I just like to party in some old people clothes because I think they're really pretty, um, but yeah, that's kind of me, so it's something that's developed from love to a passion, to a hobby. So this has been super fun. I think you totally hear what I'm saying. Like, girl, I just love the clothes, um, so, yeah, you can just find me on instagram. I'm just literally chilling over there, oh.

Izzy Meakin: 49:24

Amazing, and I will. I will take you below so that people can find you easily. That's everything from us today, and I will see you in another episode.

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