The new ‘Emma’ adaptation is starting a Regency-core trend

Images via trailer and Working Title Films

Words by Jasmine Wallis

Soft pastels paired with delicate jewellery are key to the look.

Attention all period-remake fanatics. 

After the whirlwind that was Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, another adaptation is here to quench our thirst for 19th-century drama and soft-boys dressed in top hats. 

Written by Jane Austen in 1815, Emma is a story about a meddling 20-year-old named Emma Woodhouse, a young woman who assigns herself as town matchmaker. The result is misadventures and mischief as the infamously unlikeable protagonist messes everything up. 

The story – which was one of Austen’s last – has already been remade a few times. It received a 1996 remake starring Gwenyth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor and was loosely adapted by Amy Heckerling for the cult classic Clueless in 1995. 

Emma is set in 19th century England, a time of major political change, right before the Industrial Revolution, so the costumes represent the genteel English upper class.

Director Autumn de Wilde and costume designer Alexandra Byrne created a dreamy world of romance that Austen’s novels and its screen adaptations are known for – I mean, who could forget Keira Knightley’s take on Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

The 2020 version, starring Anya-Taylor Joy and Johnny Flynn, is in cinemas now and just the trailer alone resulted in a flurry of think pieces about the fashion in the film

We’re calling it now though; Emma will spark a trend influenced by the Regency-era. 

A little bit of renaissance-core mixed with the simplicity of Little Women’s pioneer chic, Regency-core is all about taking elements of the 200-year-old period and incorporating them into your modern look. 

Think delicate gold and pearl jewellery, nightgown-esque dresses, macaron-inspired pastel clothing and ribbons galore. 

Here are some ways you can explore the look –  minus the horse and carriage and a determination to ruin your friend’s love life. 

Nightgown chic

Look, you wouldn’t spot me on the tram wearing one of these straw hats, but the dress? Definitely. Wearing sleepwear as daywear isn’t a new trend, but the delicate cotton, ruffled sleeves and lace detailing on the dresses in Emma makes us want to lie by a lake reading all day. Move this 1800s look into the 21st century with this linen dress from Sleeper. Basically anything light, linen, cotton, and reminiscent of a Jane Austen heroine works for Regency-core. 

Delicate jewellery 

For centuries, jewellery has shown what class you come from and that’s still the case in Emma. Throughout the film she wears dainty earrings, pearls, thin bracelets and necklaces. The jewellery isn’t overpowering and complements the innocent dresses and hair accessories of the time. 

To work this look in 2020, go for a simple gold chain with a small feature at the bottom such as this Gucci pearl necklace, or channel the heavily religious times of Regency England with this Thomas Sabo cross pendant.

All pastel everything

Much like period pieces of yesteryear – ahem, Sofia Coppolla’s Marie Antoinette – Emma also includes the pastel palette of our dreams. Baby blue, pale mint, and pastel pink feature frequently throughout the film not only in the costuming but also in the set design. 

This ASOS pleated dress is modern in its own right but paired with a hair ribbon and gold jewellery, the outfit is giving us big Regency-core vibes. 

‘Emma’ is in select cinemas now but you can watch the trailer here to get inspired.

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