A Quick Guide to Our Regency Stays
A certain Netflix series, *cough* Bridgerton *cough*, has been generating a lot of interesting discussion lately, and has inspired a new wave of Regency costume enthusiasts. Perhaps the brightly colored costumes have you wanting to make your own Regency confection, but you don’t know where to start? Or maybe you loved the detailed stays they wore in the show and want a pair for yourself?
We might be biased, but Redthreaded has three different styles of regency that would make the perfect foundation for any early nineteenth century historical or historical fantasy costume. If you want to skip right to making your dress, you can find our Regency Long Stays, Regency Short Stays, and 1790s Transitional Stays ready-made in standard and plus sizes in our shop. Or, if you want to make your own version, we have individually sized paper patterns and print-at-home digital patterns available.
Transitional and later Regency stays from the Kyoto Costume Institute.
Though the fashions shifted dramatically over the 25 year period known as the Regency (roughly 1795–1820), the general aim was to have a natural, rounded bust, in contrast to the conical silhouette of the previous century. This was achieved through a myriad of different stay shapes and styles. Particularly in the early part of the period, there was an attitude of experimentation, as seamstresses and stay-makers played around with pattern shapes and materials to create the new transitional fashions.
By 1813, when Bridgerton is set, most stays lifted and separated the bust, usually with the use of a busk and gussets, and smoothed the stomach and hips. However, there wasn’t the same emphasis on the waist that was seen in the earlier 18th century and later Victorian periods. The fashionable waistline ended below the bust, and the longer stays provided an elegant canvas for the classical-inspired, columnar gowns.
1810 Progress of the Toilet by Gilray
Our Regency Long Stays follow this line, and are appropriate for styles from the early 1800s to the late 1820s. Made from English cotton coutil and cotton sateen, they feature a removable wooden busk, steel boning, and gussets to raise the bust and smooth the torso. These are very similar to the styles seen in the show and would look beautiful made up in a brightly colored silk or cotton sateen! Or try dyeing one of our stock corsets yourself!
While waist or hip-length stays were common in extant examples and period images, there was also a wide variety of shorter styles in the period, including some that experimented with elasticized metal springs!
However, our Regency Short Stays follow the same line as our long stays, with bust gussets and center front steel boning rather than a wooden busk. These are great if you want lighter support, more akin to a modern long-line bra than the other stays. They don’t compress the waist or hips, but they do raise and support the bust.
If you are looking for something a little different, our 1790s Transitional Stays are an interpretation and amalgamation of the earlier experimental styles. They have the diagonal boning and swooping seam lines of 1780s stays, but feature a removable busk and soft bust gores to achieve the new, natural bust shape. These will work beautifully if you are looking for a softer, slightly lower bust line, but still want the support and smoothing of long stays.