Regency Clothing

When imagining my characters walking around Regency London or skipping (through the mud) on their country estates, I have to see them in my head. I have to know their facial features, their hairstyles and their manner of dress. I cannot picture ladies and gentlemen entering and exiting a scene—bowing and curtsying—clad in jeans, and a t-shirt that says Keep Calm and Carry On.


Fortunately, I have a plethora of books on the shelves behind me, and a chair that swivels. Not only that, but the Regency period, of only nine years (1811-1820), has had a fair share of literary/movie attention on which I can fasten my imagination. Below are a few inspirations:  sample fashion plates and slice of life paintings by Charles Haigh-Wood.


Regency Occupations

Did you know?


That a Chandler sold candles as well as basics such as cheese and bacon, a corner store type of establishment


That a Cheap-jack sold inexpensive metal objects such as knives at fairs


That a Costermonger sold fruit, vegetables and fish either at a stall, or a cart or barrow while walking street to street


That a Crossing sweeper kept major intersections of London clean of mud and muck for a small remuneration


That Mudlarks walked out into the mud of the Thames at low tide to scrounge for coal, rope, nails etc.


That an Orange girl could sell bootlaces or staylaces as well


That a Packman was a travelling peddler


That a Pieman was exactly that, but whose pies were as likely to be filled with mutton and eel as currants or gooseberries


That a Waterman described two different occupations: a man who rowed out to vessels on the Thames (requiring a seven year apprenticeship) or someone who watered horses