Jane Austen Heroines Are My Summer 2019 Style Muses

Isabel Mundigo-Moore

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.

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.


Rejina Pyo Sophie Organza Blazer (£575)

Kimhekim Guifei Organza Shirt (£323)

Esthé Organza Dream Dress (£200)

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.

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.


Warehouse Shrimps Straw Bucket Hat (£22)

Cult Gaia Mia Straw Sunhat (£95)

Clyde Linen-Trimmed Straw Sunhat (£200)

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. 

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.


Simone Rocha Ornate Baroque-Pearl Earrings (£295)

Timeless Pearly Mismatched Hoop and Drop Pearl Earrings (£190)

Alighieri The Frozen Sun Gold-Plated Baroque Pearl Necklace (£280)

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.

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.

Sleeper Brigitte Belted Linen Midi Dress (£231)

Simone Rocha Puffed-Sleeve Floral-Cloqué Dress (£995)

Lee Matthews Georgie Puff-Sleeve Dress (£675)

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.

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.

& Other Stories Gingham Linen Midi Wrap Dress (£95)

Norte Arosa Dress in Apple (£175)

Paloma Wool Columba Top (£81)

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. 

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.

Dôen Ruby Tiered Floral-Print Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress (£310)

Sleeper Brigitte Belted Floral-Print Linen Midi Dress (£231)

Ghost Pixie Dress (£120)

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

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