Fashion in 1809:
Regency Dress in Arcadia


The Regency era is often associated with terms like "romance" or "fantasy." The fashion of the day, particularly for women, reflects this. In 1809, upper class fashion was a topic important among "genteel" ladies. There were many fashion publications, such as Le Beau Monde or The Lady's Magazine that women of this era would have frequently referred to. This was the period of long dresses, extravagant in fabric and make but much simpler than the dresses of the eighteenth century. Skirts were closer to the body and bodices were fitted with most waistlines ending just below the bust. Short sleeves also made an appearance for the first time.

Throughout the play Arcadia, there are many references to "Regency dress." During the second act, the characters from the present day don Regency costumes in preparation for a dance to be held at their own Sidley Park. The inhabitants of Sidley Park would have worn clothing associated with the upper class. The following are examples of some of the types of dresses and menswear that would have appeared in 1809 on the likes of Thomasina Coverly, Septimus Hodge, and others.



Green afternoon dress from an April 1809 fashion plate.


Promenade dress from 1809. This dress would have been worn in the morning and has a short cape over it. The woman carries a parasol for shade to keep the popular pale skin color of the era.


These women wear garden dresses of the era. The man wears traditional high-waisted trousers and short jacket with tails. Notice the helmet shaped hats of the women - this was an attempt at imitating ancient Greek clothing styles (think Arcadia!)

For links to more interesting fashion sites of the era, see:

Fashion and Fun in 1809

The Regency Fashion Page


Art in 1809
Fashion in 1809
Innovative Technology
Important Events of the Time

Return to 1809 main page
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