Georgian Fashion Influence on today’s style

Georgian fashion and style has greatly influenced the way we dress today. Georgian period is named after the then ruling king of England, King George III. During his reign, England enjoyed a stable political climate. This was the time when France and England were rivals on the fashion front.

From the extravagant gowns worn by the ladies of the court to the dapper suits worn by the gentlemen, the Georgians were a trend-setting society who left a lasting impact on fashion. Buckingham Palace‘s new exhibition hosted in The Queen’s Gallery, Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians (21 April – 8 October 2023) reveals how the Georgians ushered in many of the cultural trends we know today, including the first stylists and influencers, the birth of a specialised fashion press and the development of shopping as a leisure activity.

Dressing the georgians exhibition buckingham palace princess charlotte wedding gown

Silk wedding gown worn by Princess Charlotte in 1816

18th-century Britain was a revolutionary period of trade, travel and technology which fuelled fashion trends across all levels of society. The exhibition was an eye-opener for me as I delved into the Georgians’ style story and got up close to magnificent paintings, prints and drawings by artists such as Gainsborough, Zoffany and Hogarth from the Royal Collection, as well as luxurious textiles, glamorous dresses, sparkling jewellery, and a range of accessories from snuff boxes to jewelled swords from other private and public collections.

Visitors to the exhibition can see firsthand how the Georgians influenced our fashion over time.

One of the most notable aspects of Georgian fashion was the elaborate gowns worn by women. These gowns were often made of luxurious fabrics such as silk and satin and featured intricate embroidery and beading. 

The exhibition features a stunning array of these gowns, including a beautiful silk wedding gown worn by Princess Charlotte in 1816. This is a remarkable example of the opulence and elegance of royal attire during the 18th – early 19th century. Made with the finest materials, including silk, satin, silk net, and metal thread, this gown – which looks like it’s made out of gold – represented the pinnacle of luxury and sophistication in its time.

One of the most notable features of the dress is its use of silver, which was a common tradition across Europe for royal brides. The silver embroidery and embellishments added a dazzling quality to the dress, creating a shimmering golden effect that would have captivated all who saw it. The use of metal thread in particular would have been highly prized, as it was often reserved for the most prestigious occasions.

The design of the dress was also significant, as it followed the popular style of the time. With its high waistline and flowing skirt, the dress would have emphasised Princess Charlotte’s youthful figure and added to the overall sense of grandeur. The use of silk and satin added to the luxurious feel of the dress, while the silk net provided a delicate touch that softened the overall look. Over time, however, the dress underwent significant alterations that changed its appearance and meaning. As fashion trends shifted and tastes changed, the dress was remodelled into a court gown to reflect the new styles and preferences of each era. This process of alteration, though often necessary to keep up with the times, also meant that the original design and intent of the dress became obscured over time. The recycling or up-cycling of clothing was very unique and is now back on trend considering how much we care about sustainability these days.

Georgian Fashion accessories

Another significant aspect of Georgian fashion was the emphasis on accessories. Women would often wear elaborate diamond jewelry, including pearl necklaces and earrings as well as bracelets to complete their look.

Men’s fashion during the Georgian era was just as extravagant and flamboyant as women’s. Men would often wear dapper suits made of fine fabrics such as wool and velvet. These suits were often adorned with intricate embroidery and featured colorful waistcoats. 

Male Georgian fashion

The exhibition features items of clothing in immaculate condition including a shirt worn by the King, a military suit, and court gowns.

The Georgians also popularised a number of accessories that are still worn today. For example, the exhibition features a number of jewelled swords, which were a popular accessory for men during the Georgian era. The decorated swords were originally worn by aristocratic men at funerals, but it soon became a popular accessory for all men and for formal occasions.

This exhibition at Buckingham Palace’s Queen’s Gallery is a fascinating look at the impact the Georgians had on fashion and daily life. From the elaborate gowns to the dapper suits, the Georgians were a trend-setting group who left a lasting impact on our fashion today. If you’re a fashion lover or just interested in history, this exhibition is definitely worth a visit.

 

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