Regencycore Is the Fancy, Regal Fashion Trend We've Been Waiting For
With the second coming (re: season) of Bridgerton arriving on March 25, there's bound to be a renewed obsession around the period series' costumes. Since its initial release in December of 2020, the Netflix show, though set in the 19th century, has had a major impact on modern-day fashion. From causing a corset shortage to the rise of empire waist dresses, even inspiring Draper James' first floral-printed, puff-sleeved Kohl's collection, Bridgerton made fashionistas look beyond the '90s and early aughts. Suddenly, wardrobes were welcoming a whole new aesthetic phenomenon into the mix, otherwise known as regencycore.
There have been countless mood-board-turned-trends that have popped up since the start pandemic. Faircore, light and dark academia, gothcore, and cottagecore have all served as whimsical forms of escapism amidst murky current events. And while we saw elements of the regency era sprinkled throughout some of the aforementioned ways of dressing, regencycore itself is only just coming into its full potential.
"It's regal fashion focused on opulence," says Tara Swennen speaking about the aesthetic. Beyond the popularity of Bridgerton and other shows like The Gilded Age, the Affirm partner and celebrity stylist cites a whole vintage revival. Lingerie-like styles have become a regular part of our wardrobe, while red-carpet pieces, including feminine headpieces and opera gloves, have also become acceptable everyday trends — other details that may have led to the rise of regencycore.
In simplest terms, regencycore is a dressed-up version of cottagecore, and some elements do overlap. For example, statement sleeves and corsets are staples in both aesthetics, but unlike cottagecore, which is reminiscent of cozy prairie life, regencycore is inspired by high-society, meaning these shared styles should be executed more glamorously. An empire waist dress might paired with elevated kitten heels and pearl accessories, says Tobi head stylist Joanna Angeles, rather than slip-on sandals and flower crowns.
Still, the year is 2022, not 1811, so your day-to-day social calendar is bound to look a slightly different than, say, Daphne Bridgerton, whose enjoys the likes of high tea, formal balls, and parlour games. So, how can you make regencycore fashion work with a present-day itinerary — and, um, the rest of your closet?
According to celebrity stylist Soneca Guadara, it's as easy as piecing together a corset with your favorite pair of jeans, or wearing a pair of elbow-length gloves with a puffy shirt and flowy skirt. Fashion stylist Rachel Garrett, founder of Edify (an online destination for ethical and sustainable clothing, accessories, and living) agrees, telling InStyle the key is to start small with "a few accessories," like pearl headbands, dainty gold jewelry, embellished handbags, and paying attention to a garment's feminine details.
"Dresses with layered fabric tiers offer up a flowy and elegant touch that contributes to the regency-era style, and bows will also be key," Garrett says. "Added details, embroidery, and structured lace are other touches you can add to your wardrobe to complete the whole look."
Here are a few more ways to embrace regencycore in 2022.
Think Dainty Details, Ruffles, and Long Gloves
Fendi's Fall 2022 runway was full of regencycore looks, so it's pretty clear the trend is here to stay.
Reach for Puff Sleeves and Corsets
These pieces can be dressed up or down by styling them with casual bottoms, and also pair perfectly when worn together.
Consider Your Accessories
If the rest of your outfit consists of a long, regal dress, a puff-sleeved top, empire waist details, or even satin material, add a pearl necklace to your outfit to complete the regencycore look.
Play Dress Up
Embrace volume, reach for tops with necktie details, and accessorize with elaborate extras, such as gloves or even a golden headband. In the days of dopamine dressing, there's no such thing as going overboard — especially if you're headed somewhere special.