Regency Fashion in Pride and Prejudice Essay Sample

Regency Fashion in Pride and Prejudice Essay Sample

The Mirror of Graces (1811) also termed as The English Lady’s Costume is a masterpiece that was established through writing by a woman who desires to remain anonymous. In addition to that, it covers the manners, conduct, and social customs during her time, that is, the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which also happens to be the times of Napoleon and Jane Austen. The book is committed to a large portion to the “English lady’s costume”. In spite of this, it also constitutes of movement, deportment, the appropriate dances, propriety, and health and beauty aids. Among the first pages, the book relays evening dresses as shown below and this hints on Regency fashion that was prevalent in Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice draws its setting in the Early to the Mid-Victorian timeframe (1775-1850). The costumes which individuals wore was not merely an issue of fashion, however, it was affiliated with social class (Boyle). In this setting, social class was a fundamental concern, and for that reason, fashion is essential. Moreover, this period generated the need for Regency fashion and customers that were the most contemporary and embraced form for the upper and middle class individuals in the societal rank. Daily living involves various costumes as showcased below:
Notably, the book The Mirror of Graces does not only discuss the elements of what should constitute a young lady’s beauty routine, dress sense and education. In light of this, the book can be reflected as a gem not just for its advice for the ladies who belong to the Regency society. This is because it covers intricate details explored with Regency bluntness as it is a reflection of the Regency mindset of the middle class. Furthermore, for Regency romance costumers, writers, and recreationists, the book offers advice on the coordination of colors, accessories, corseting, cosmetics, and undergarments (Boyle). For instance, the author deplores appalling fashion for the increasing Regency hemlines and low décolletage. Nonetheless, she confesses, like an authentic pragmatist, that the society will be much more forbearing of lapses in appropriate taste in the case that the lady in question has a stunning body.

Each and every chapter of the Mirror of Graces is split into “rules”, which function as guides to the regulation of etiquette that is examined. For example, Do not be presumptuous in offering introduction is contained in Rule 1. The illustration is established from Pride and Prejudice’s scene in which Lady Catherine charges with rage into the residence of the Bennetts’ and does not seek an introduction to Mrs. Bennet, who, ineptly, has been accorded the permission to converse with that grand lady in her house (Austen 182). Lady Catherine’s impoliteness towards Elizabeth and her mother is aggravated by her inappropriate manners.

The Mirror of Graces exhibits the elegance and decency that prevailed as a result of Regency fashion. The author indicates that a “walking dress cannot be constructed too simply” (Lady of distinction 113). The advice posed by the context of this book addresses the need to increase the novelty of the women in the society through inkling them to adopt an adornment styles which combines elegance and fashion through a simple and neat way. According to the author, dress is the “natural finish of beauty” (Lady of distinction 114). This shows that fashionable costumes and dressing forms a core factor of appearance, particularly for the women.


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