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Bridgerton Costumes and the Return of the Empire Waist

bridgerton and the return of the empire waist dress
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a small, or maybe not so small obsession with the new Netflix show, Bridgerton… and I am to bet that you might be in the midst of the same obsession at the moment because well, we’re still locked down with nowhere to go and nothing to do and binge-watching the latest releases to escape reality has become something of a sport thanks to the pandemic. If you have not watched it, I highly recommend that you do.

I, for one, have watched it a few times now and yet one more time tonight to take photos for this post. It was a great excuse to fast-forward to my favorite scenes and favorite dresses because I am not here to write about how dreamy the cast is, or how great the writing is and how it slightly reminded me of Gossip Girl in the first few episodes, or how gorgeous the locations are or the way they ever so subtly integrated new songs into a period piece or how the two leading actors have the most extremely perfect chemistry I have ever seen!

What I AM here to write about is (are?) the costumes, because along with all those other things I mentioned above, the wardrobe is incredible… and it left me wondering if Bridgerton will be the catalyst to the return of the empire waist?

empire waist dresses, bridgerton costumes
If you have any question about it, here is a brief history of the empire silhouette from Wikipedia

Empire silhouette, Empire line, Empire waist or just Empire is a style in clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats. The Empire silhouette contributed to making clothes of the 1795–1820 period generally less confining and cumbersome than high-fashion clothes of the earlier 18th and later 19th centuries.

I then wondered if anyone had already written about it and found an adorable article on Vogue called Bridgerton-Worthy Runway Looks to Inspire Your Own “Coming Out” Style, which I thought quite clever actually, a play on the debutantes coming out in the show and all of us hopefully coming out of pandemic lock down soon.

Read the post if you’re interested because they also share some great empire waist moments from past and almost current fashion, but this was the most interesting part to me (by writer Emily Farra) about Bridgerton costumes…

Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick created a whopping 7,500 looks for the eight-episode run, with “ice-cream pastels, acid-bright florals, acres of ruffles, rhinestone-encrusted puff sleeves, and wigs that could rival Marie Antoinette’s.”

Fantastical? Absolutely. Relatable? Not so much. And yet Bridgerton fashion is trending: Lyst reported that since its premiere, online searches for corsets—a requisite garment in the show—have surged 123%. Pearl and feather headbands have seen a 49% bump, and empire-waist dresses, the defining silhouette of the era, have risen 93% in popularity. Influencer marketing platform RewardStyle has seen similar data through its tool, which tracks users’ searches and purchases. Embroidered dresses were up 1,000% on LTK, with silk dresses further ahead by 3,900%. The nap dress, first popularized by Hill House Home, has spiked 25,000%, likely inspired by Daphne Bridgerton’s floaty cotton nightgowns.

If nothing else, the statistics above summed it up for me pretty boldly. The answer is YES, Bridgerton is indeed bringing back the empire waist dress… and I have to say, I’m not mad about it.

bridgerton costumes
The loose-fitting dresses will be a nice alternative to sweats but just as comfortable, yet will also disguise the possible pandemic lbs we may have gained in the last year or so. I, for one, am so over tight-fitting clothing, I find myself searching my closet daily for anything BUT my tight jeans to wear out. I’m ready for looser fitting pants and floaty dresses and spring can’t come fast enough for me to want to rip off all the winter layers and boots and just throw on easy dresses with any of my sneakers, obviously.

In the meantime, I’ll just be over here with Bridgerton on repeat, fantasizing about wearing regal gowns, living in palaces and well, other things too 😉

A few more gorgeous empire waist dresses from Bridgerton…

…even though the photos don’t do them justice and there are SO MANY MORE…

bridgerton empire waist dresses

The Night Dresses…

No doubt, the costume design is incredible on Bridgerton, both for the women and the men. The thick, supple fabrics and brocades and elaborate beading on the dresses and the deep velvet hues on the men are just stunning, but it’s the night dresses that seem most wearable to me, and may I say, comfortable. Though I’m not one for night gowns, I think as house dresses or “nap dresses” as they became trendy in 2020 will feel wonderful to wear in the spring and summer… like this one

bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
The sweet detailing on the sleeves (above).

bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
I think the one above is my favorite.

bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
bridgerton night dresses and nap gowns
And well, obviously, this was the best costume choice of them all 😉 (below)

Regé-Jean Page no shirt, bridgerton

Happy Sunday Lovecats!

That’s all for now 🙂 bye!

bridgerton stairwell
Sources: a few photos from Bridgerton Facebook, the rest are mine snapped from the TV.

Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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