Clothing in the 1800’s

Curious as to what the character’s of Pride and Prejudice would have been wearing throughout the novel?  Here is your very own guide to all things fashion in the 1800’s.  The Bennet sisters would have worn these dresses and both Darcy and Bingley would have worn the coat and trousers on a daily basis, the more formal options being saved for events such as the Netherfield Ball.

Empire Dress: Characterized by a waistline that gathered right under the breast, small capped sleeves, and a full skirt.

  • Skirts moved from being straight and not as full to being spread-out over a large hoop while donning a petticoat.  As the 1800’s progressed though, the “hoop” was removed and a bustle was added to the back.
  • The small capped, sleeves continued to grow in size as the period progressed.
  • Baring shoulders and upper-chest was a style that was only allowed evening apparel and was most commonly seen among upper and middle-class women
  • Younger women chose to wear lighter material whereas the older generations sported satins, silks, or heavy velvets


Coat and Trousers: Although there were not as many changes over the period for men in terms of fashion, the acceptable length for the coast did vary

  • Tightly fitted coats moved to a more breathable and loose-fitting style.
  • Tight form-fitting trousers were replaced by a loose “tubular” style that were then replaced by straight slacks with a crease in the front and the back.
  • A dress coat for the day was replaced by a long frock coat and the dress coat was the accepted attire for evening wear.
  • The late 1800’s brought about, “knickers” were introduced, bringing about a more casual style for daytime wear



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