Jane Austen Heroines Are My Summer 2019 Style Muses

It is a universal truth that Jane Austen and the heroines she's created are among the coolest ladies in literary history. From her hilarious sense of humour to the endlessly romantic love stories to her famous quote, "Ahh! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort," there such much to love about Austen's world. Not to mention she gave us the image of Colin Firth emerging from a lake in a soaked blouse.

The brilliant costume designers who worked on the film adaptations of Austen's books—like Jenny Beaven, Ruth Myers and Jacqueline Durran—brought her characters to life in Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice respectively. They imbued Austen's characters with the historical likeness of Regency-period England, as well as a timeless elegance that makes them and their style eternally beloved.

Jane Austen Fashion: The Bennet Sisters in Pride and Prejudice

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This year's Met Gala theme of "camp" has fashion people measuring everything to that aesthetic—and there are none more masterful of "camp" than those found in the grand homes and balls of an Austen adaptation. This is a society based on artifice, where bachelors compete for the largest barouche, fans are used to shield private conversations and the best place to fall in love is on the dance floor.

This extends to style, too, of course. Think of the heavy use of organza and the endless streams of ribbons and pearls. Not only does this list make up elements of a classic Jane Austen heroine outfit but also some of 2019's biggest trends. This connection thrills me! I can't be the only one out there who's dreamed of donning an empire-waist gown and white gloves, pretending to be a long-lost Bennet sister. But really, it's happening. Fashion has come together to create the perfect list of trends that make up a modern Austen-esque style this summer.

Keep scrolling to see and shop the Jane Austen–inspired trends I love (and know you will too) for summer 2019.

THEN: ORGANZA
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice wearing organza

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Organza and thin muslin cotton were used as sheer layers during the Regency period to subtly work around the sleeve-length rules. Having semi-opaque sleeves and details were also considered the peak of fancy fashion. Billie Piper as Fanny Price layered organza under cotton dresses throughout Mansfield Park, while Keira Knightley as Lizzie Bennet wore a sheer organza layer over her white dress to Netherfield Ball.

NOW: ORGANZA

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@saniaclausdemina

Organza blouses are suddenly everywhere this season. New brands like Maison Cléo, Aurore Van Milhelm, Kimhekim and Cecilie Bahnsen have been the leaders of the organza extravaganza, which high-street shops like Zara have caught onto, too.

THEN: STRAW HATS
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe and Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey wearing straw hats

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Where last summer was all about the Jacquemus oversized straw hat, I'm also seeing straw bucket- and bonnet-style hats (à la Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe and Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey) pop up this season from my favourite designers.

NOW: STRAW HATS

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@lucywilliams02

The nostalgic cool style of these hats evokes '90s summertime by the beach. The perfect simple one was recently brought to life by the Warehouse x Shrimps collaboration.

THEN: PEARLS, PEARLS, PEARLS
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Rosamund Pike and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice wearing white dresses and pearls

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In the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Lizzie Bennet iconically dons pearl earrings with pearls in her hair too as she dances with Mr. Darcy for the first time. 

NOW: PEARLS, PEARLS, PEARLS

Photo:

Isabel Mundigo-Moore

In 2019, pearls have maintained the cult status they reached last year. In fact, I find myself just wearing more and more of them at once. The baroque-style pearl, which looks less traditional than classic pearl, is increasingly popular.

THEN: PUFFED SLEEVES
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Gwyneth Paltrow in a Puff-Sleeved Dress in Emma Film

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Puff-sleeved dresses are common throughout all Austen adaptations, be it at Emma's picnic lunch or Netherfield ball. Yes, long sleeves were only just becoming widely popular at this time.

NOW: PUFFED SLEEVES

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@ada_oguntodu

This year, we (the fashion people and I) have become truly obsessed with puff-sleeved dresses and tops. They're flattering on everyone and make a statement without getting in the way.

THEN: LINEN
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice wearing white blouse and linen dress

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Linen was a popular fabric during the Regency period because, like muslin, it was cheaper than silks. It wore well through damp winters and was worn commonly as an empire-waist dress, as well as long jackets and smocks.

NOW: LINEN

Photo:

@alicecatherine

Linen is gaining popularity this year because is a sustainable choice. Linen "is super low-impact and is an inherently more sustainable fibre because it doesn't grow on fertile soil; it doesn't need pesticides because it's a hardy crop; it doesn't need to be irrigated, and you can blend it," according to our report on sustainable fabrics.

THEN: DAINTY FLORALS
Jane Austen Fashion 2019: Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan as Lydia and Kitty Bennet in Pride and Prejudice wearing floral print dresses

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It wasn't all delicate white muslin in Austen's time. With England on the verge of the Industrial Revolution, intricate patterns and prints began to become more widely used and delicate florals became the favourite. 

NOW: DAINTY FLORALS
Jane Austen Fashion: Hannah Almassi in Daisy Floral Print Pink Dress and Ganni Bag

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@hannahalmassi

From the prairie dress trend to the Urban Outfitters x Laura Ashley collection, it looks like everyone is craving dainty floral dresses in a major way this season. And it has my full support.

There you have it, Austen fans. The proof that wearing Austen-esque pieces is really just being on trend this summer. If we also want to make fans and indoor gloves a thing, I wouldn't argue.

Next Up: 24 New-In Summer Items Our Editors Have in Their Saved Items