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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.