Episode 49: Myths of Regency Dress
Think Bridgerton was raunchy? It's nothing compared to some of the styles of dress during the Regency period.
Hear Hazel chat with dress historian Hilary Davidson who busts some of Regency style dress myths including corsets, visible nipples, the invention of the trouser and whether Mr Darcy was correct to wear breeches and shirt when he plunged into the lake back in 1996. All shall be revealed!
Polite note: breasts, nipples and groins are mentioned in this episode.
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Hazel Baker: Before we get going. I would like to point out that we are going to be talking about revealing clothing, bosoms, nipples, corsets and naked men. So if that does not fit in with your own sensibilities, then maybe this episode isn't for you. And I will see you next week. For everybody else; get that cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy.
Joining me in the studio today is the lovely Hilary Davidson. She's a dress historian, a curator, and an archeologist, and she's lectured extensively on the history of clothing and what dress means to people and culture. I'm really excited for this one, Hillary,
Hilary Davidson: Thank you so much for inviting me, Hazel. It's delightful to be here. I always enjoy the chance to talk about dress.
Hilary Davidson is a dress historian, curator and archaeologist, who, amongst a range of specilaisms, spent 6 years researching and writing Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, published with Yale University Press in 2019.
She published, lectured, and broadcast extensively on the history of clothing and what dress means to people and culture. She runs The Bill and Ted Test, a frivolous Twitter account dedicated to judging costuming in Regency screen dramas against the costume of extras in the 1989 comedy film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!
What we discussed:
What defined the Regency style (men and women), and doing a bit of name dropping.
The inevitable (and inimitable) Beau Brummell, Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Jane Austen, the Price Regent, and Maria Edgeworth.
Hilary's book: Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, from where all her Regency fashion knowledge springs!
Differences between the myths of Regency dress - like dampening muslin gowns with water, that women wore no corsets, and died of colds in thin gowns - and the realities for most people.
That's all for now. I'll see you next week.
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