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Strawberry filled sunny afternoons are best spent in lavender scented silk turtleneck dresses under lilac trees with books that smell of old love stories.
Elizabeth Bennet’s pride and prejudice meets the relaxed and soft silhouette of a Winter Kate dress.
One might say that aesthetics and principles of Regency England are far from those of the 1970s, and that the affinity for floating and romantic fabrics, such as cotton, chiffons, muslin or batiste is the only similarity. Yet both periods show an inclination towards exotic ornamentation, Egyptian and Greek embroideries for the the beginning of the 1800s, and Indian, African, and Tibetan shapes and fabrics for the 70s. (see more on the fashion of the Regency fashion and 1970s fashion) Fur trims are also popular in these two periods, as well as heavy, rich fabrics like velvet and wool, and flowing robes too.
With so many fashion related similarities, it is no wonder that social parallels can also be found. The 70s represent the peak of the feminist movement that began in the 1960s, as The Times asserts: “feminism has transcended the feminist movement. In 1975 the women’s drive penetrated every layer of society, matured beyond ideology to a new status of general–and sometimes unconscious—acceptance.” (source). Sure, Regency England is far from a true feminist revolution, yet it also touches on issues such as women’s role in society, class equality, and marriage.
If in the 70s “most early feminists […] regarded marriage and family as so burdensome as to approach slavery. Feminism presented the family as a kind of prison, with a working career on the outside as a kind of liberation”(source), Jane Austen surely anticipated the sentiment in Pride and Prejudice: “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” (source) And just like one of the major themes of this lovely comedy of manners novel touches on the subject of class and social status, so did a new belief take hold of mid-70s America, “the belief that women are entitled to truly equal social and professional rights has spread far and deep into the country.” (source)
There are, of course, at least as many differences between these two periods, still both have been highly influential on Western society. And as long as they will continue to fire up the imagination of readers, and designers alike these will continue to have a great influence on our lives, and on fashion trends especially.
Which would you prefer: Elizabeth Bennet’ empire waist floor lenght gown, or the bohemian vibe of 70s Stevie Nicks?

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Winter Kate Dress
Asos Espadrille Wedges
Eric Javits New York Hat
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