So what exactly is it that has people, (particularly females), so very enraptured with the Regency period?
After all this period in history spanned a mere nine years (1811-1820) which, if one looks at history as a whole, is a pathetically small amount of time, which should not really have made a dent on historian or plebeian minds. Yet this is a period of time associated with romance, ettiquette, fashion and decor. I shall put to one side politics, until at least I have researched them thoroughly, so do not be angry that I am not talking of them in this blog as I know nothing about them at present!
We remember the Regency period for, of course, fat Prinny George. A man whose extravagances were only rivalled by his waistline. He was the creator of the new craze called ‘interior design‘. Carlton House, (a residence given to him by his father), he re-decroated five times! This new fashion of redecoration was taken up by many of the ton, barring of course the aristocracy who were already entrenched thanks to the leisure activities of the period; such as drinking, gaming and of course the famous betting book at White’s.
The Prince may have set the line for interior design and an exceedingly extravagant lifestyle, but it was the infamous Beau Brummel that set the line for fashion. Gone were the frills, ring encrusted hands and powdered wigs and then dawned the predecessor of the modern day suit. Of course to us, Darcy’s wardrobe in the BBC adaptations is nothing like the modern day suit. Instead this wardrobe reminds us of a time when dress was important and needed time taking over it. It reminds us of a time when trying a cravat would take hours and if those hours created perfection it was deemed quite proper. This period of fashion for both men and women was revealing, flattering and modest (provided you were not of course, a painted lady). Dresses accentuated feminitiy whereas Weston’s coats did all they could to promote masculinity.
And of course who could forget dear Jane Austen. A woman whose writing not only shows satire and a comical take on life but also the strength, character and humour of a woman who would undoubtedly may be plain, but incredibly enigmatic. Through Jane Austen we are given a world into which we wish to escape, a world of romance that may start along a rocky shore but that will end in happiness.
My love of this period of time come from the fact that is so contrasts to modern day. When pornography is on the shelves of every 24/7 news agents, girls are falling about drunk on Saturday night streets and a one night stand is the equivalent of courting I cannot blame myself for wishing to immerse myself in a time when, at least for women; morals and propriety were everything, fashion involved covering more than one square foot of one’s body and pleasures were simpler (even if ettiquette was more complicated).