Period Piece Fashion

The release of period pieces, like the recent Netflix obsession Bridgerton, sparked the trend of period fashion.

Beatrice Kinskey, a junior at Paly, is a superfan of Bridgerton. She binged the show in 48 hours, and is an expert on all things period fashion. Kinskey has watched many period pieces in the past, and particularly loves the Regency Era when Bridgerton is set. After watching the show, she immediately converted her style to mimic its elegant fashion, through beautifully detailed corsets and extravagant puffy skirts. Kinskey is not the only one inspired by the period fashion featured in Bridgerton; period fashion is a surging trend following the release of period TV shows and movies. 

Bridgerton focuses on a young woman growing up during the Regency Era, in the year 1813. A significant element of the show is the fashion; the Regency Era is known for its stunning royal style, complete with ballgowns and corsets. The costumes featured in the show are especially feminine with lace, frills, and pastel colors.

“I loved the fashion, I think it was super interesting to see that much color,” Kinskey said.  “It was also interesting to see all of the very accurate historical pieces that they have.”

As period pieces rise in popularity, style trends in everyday life mirror the styles exhibited in these shows. Tate Hardy, a fashion enthusiast and freshman at Paly, knows all too well how teens constantly search for new styles and follow popular trends.

“I would say that most of what people wear is really impacted by the shows that come out, and the movies, and how other people are dressing,” Hardy said.

Following the release of Bridgerton, clothing items that resemble the Regency Era, like corsets and bustier tops, immediately trended on social media apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest. Viewers of the show craved to be a part of the royal glamour showcased in Bridgerton, and echoing the style is the easiest way to do so. 

After I saw [Bridgerton], I was like, ‘oh, I want to be a princess so bad.’”

— Beatrice Kinskey

 “After I saw [Bridgerton], I was like, ‘oh, I want to be a princess so bad’,” Kinskey said. “My first impulse was to make myself a princess, so of course I bought corsets and a big puffy skirt.”

Kinskey wasn’t the only one that splurged on new items for her closet, post-Bridgerton binge. “I had a few corsets before, but I ordered another one after I watched [Bridgerton] that was more old timey with lace, like the ones that they had in the show,” Hardy said. “I really liked the elegant, frilly style they had and I really want to get back into that, like the big poofy ball gowns.” 

Every show has some sort of influence on its viewers, but what is unique about period pieces is that the viewers did not live through that time and those fashion trends, so they tend to resurface in a new generation. Junior Elizabeth Wong is another fan of period pieces, some of her favorites being classic Jane Austen adaptations like Pride and Prejudice.  

“I just feel like period shows are so cool because I get to watch them as a form of escapism,” Wong said. “It’s kind of like escaping to another realm when I watch shows that are dated back.” 

A key difference in the revival of these old fashion trends is the reasoning behind the style. The storyline of Bridgerton follows a young debutante as she tries to find a husband in an upper class society, which involves dressing in lavish attire and attending balls. However, the meaning behind wearing corsets and other attire like that has changed now.

  “I feel like now when women wear corsets, it’s [more] for themselves and for their own image of themselves, rather than for what [others] want,” Hardy said. 

I feel like these shows are going to influence fashion trends, not just for me, but for our entire generation. ”

— Elizabeth Wong

Like all trends, this return of period fashion will likely die down. However, upcoming fashion will most likely continue this elegant, royal style and adapt as it becomes more popular. 

“I feel like these shows are going to influence fashion trends, not just for me, but for our entire generation,” Wong said. “I feel like even over the past year, I’ve seen a lot of people try to bring back vintage trends, which I think is super cool. So I hope that these shows stimulate that more, and influence vintage clothing to be brought back to our generation.”

Art by Kellyn Scheel