Episode 49: Myths of Regency Dress

Think Bridgerton was raunchy? It's nothing compared to some of the styles of dress during the Regency period.

Hear Hazel chat with dress historian Hilary Davidson who busts some of Regency style dress myths including corsets, visible nipples, the invention of the trouser and whether Mr Darcy was correct to wear breeches and shirt when he plunged into the lake back in 1996. All shall be revealed!

Polite note: breasts, nipples and groins are mentioned in this episode. 

Listen Now: Apple Podcasts | Spotify |Android |RSS

Get our latest episode in your inbox here

Support us on Patreon from as little as £5.

Gain access to exclusive content including behind the scenes videos, full transcripts, shout outs and mini videotours!

Show notes:

Hello, and welcome to our London history podcast, where we share our love of London, its people, places and history. This podcast is designed for you to learn things about London that most Londoners don't even know. All in 20 minutes. I am your host, Hazel Baker, a qualified London tour guide and CEO of London Guided Walks.

If you like what you're hearing, then please rate and review on Apple or Google podcasts. Thank you to all of you who have left a review. It's really very much appreciated. I read every single one. You've wanted videos. You want podcasts to be longer and also for better quality transcripts. And in light of that, we have made a few changes.

We are now inviting you to become our patron, which will financially support the podcast. You can support our work and the unique content we provide from as little as £5 . For more information of how to support us visit patreon.com/londonhistory

Hazel Baker: Before we get going. I would like to point out that we are going to be talking about revealing clothing, bosoms, nipples, corsets and naked men. So if that does not fit in with your own sensibilities, then maybe this episode isn't for you. And I will see you next week. For everybody else; get that cup of tea, put your feet up and enjoy. 

Joining me in the studio today is the lovely Hilary Davidson. She's a dress historian, a curator, and an archeologist, and she's lectured extensively on the history of clothing and what dress means to people and culture. I'm really excited for this one, Hillary, 

Hilary Davidson: Thank you so much for inviting me, Hazel. It's delightful to be here. I always enjoy the chance to talk about dress.

Hilary Davidson is a dress historian, curator and archaeologist, who, amongst a range of specilaisms, spent 6 years researching and writing Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion, published with Yale University Press in 2019.

She published, lectured, and broadcast extensively on the history of clothing and what dress means to people and culture. She runs The Bill and Ted Test, a frivolous Twitter account dedicated to judging costuming in Regency screen dramas against the costume of extras in the 1989 comedy film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!

Instagram | Twitter: fourredshoes & billandtedtest

What we discussed:

  • What defined the Regency style (men and women), and doing a bit of name dropping.

  • The inevitable (and inimitable) Beau Brummell, Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Jane Austen, the Price Regent, and Maria Edgeworth.

  • Hilary's book: Dress in the Age of Jane Austen, from where all her Regency fashion knowledge springs!

  • Differences between the myths of Regency dress - like dampening muslin gowns with water, that women wore no corsets, and died of colds in thin gowns - and the realities for most people.

That's all for now. I'll see you next week.

Other Episodes

048 Leper Houses in London

047 Victorian Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park

046 Beer, The Bard & Historic Buildings of Bankside

045 Drawing London's Buildings

044 Tudor London & John Stow

043 London Fog

042 John Julius Angerstein: The Man Behind the National Gallery

041 London's Medieval Friaries

040 Charles Dickens in Greenwich

039 London's Frost Fairs

038 The Black Death: London's First Plague

037 Bridgerton & Regency London

036 Brexit in the City

035 A Tudor Christmas

034 London's Old Shops - Food & Drink

033 London's Pillar Boxes

032 Medieval Guilds

031 Abandoned London Underground Stations

030 Quirky Street Names - Little Britain

029 The Harp maker of Fitzrovia

028 The Ghost of Cock Lane

027 The South Sea Bubble

026 The Seven Noses of Soho

025 The British Museum

024 The Walbrook in Roman London

023 London's Historic Pubs

022 The Havering Hoard

021 London Area Names - Animal Edition

020 The Great Fire of London - How It Began

019 London Coffeehouses

018 Victorian Photography

017 The Proms & The Royal Albert Hall

016 Women in 1920s London (From Cowgirl to Congress)

015 Movies Filmed in London

014 Postcards From London's Past

013 London Statues: Medical Women

012 The Old Operating Theatre Museum

011 London's Coffeehouses and Commerce

010 London's Folklore

009 Music Halls and Cabaret - from yesterday to today

008 The Monument to the Great Fire of London

007 True London Spy Stories

006 Hockley in the Hole Clerkenwell

005 The Dragons of London

004 The Crown Jewels

003 Childhood Foods

002 Fantastic Beasts in London

001 An Introduction to Roman London

Some links contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we receive a small commission. This helps support our free podcast. Thank you for the support!


Copyright London Guided Walks and Treasure Hunts