Ball Gowns: Regency vs. Victorian

When I selected a time period for my book, right or wrong, I picked a time when dresses had the Victorian look, but women had not yet started to wear corsets. It was a time just before Queen Victoria’s reign. Somewhere around the middle to the end of the 19th century was when women began to wear the big hoops under their dresses like you see in “Gone With the Wind”.

In the first chapter of my book (which you are welcome to read here on my blog), my heroine, Cynthia, wear’s a  late Regency dress. I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil the fun of who the dress once belonged to. To get an idea of what she was wearing compared to what all the other ladies were wearing I’ve put together a chart.

Regency

Victorian

Filmy, gauzy material Heavy material
Usually made of muslin Usually made of velvet or silk
High waistline Waistline at waist
Bolder ladies dampened their chemises underneath As many as 6 petticoats and a corset

As I’ve mentioned before, ball dresses were white, but did you know that most wedding dresses were not white? That tradition hadn’t started yet. I’m not sure when it started. I’m sure you can imagine why ladies didn’t wear white dresses. After a year or two of going to balls and having to wear white gowns, I suppose a different color was refreshing.

With the Victorian dress, there would have been an elaborate necklace. Women word their hair up and decorated with a hat often times with a long feather or two sticking out.

Of course, I’m not an expert on what was fashionable for the Regency lady or the Victorian lady. If you know something of interest, leave a comment and tell us. 🙂

Which do you prefer? Regency or Victorian? Why?

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2 thoughts on “Ball Gowns: Regency vs. Victorian

  1. Serena Chase says:

    Both are lovely. The Regency seems more comfy, but on a human it sometimes looks a bit maternity. I say, go fancy. it’s a ball. you don’t have to live in it, you just have to look pretty. 😉

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