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What Is Bridgerton About?
On December 25, 2020, Bridgerton dropped on Netflix. It's a TV series from Shonda Rhimes and Chris Van Susen that is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn. Season one follows the first book, The Duke and I.
The Bridgertons are a well-known, long-established family at the upper echelons of London society. The eldest daughter of the family, Daphne, is the focus of season one of the show—especially her relationship with Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings (hence the title of the first book).
Bridgerton became a massive success soon after its release. In fact, the series was so popular that its costumes and sets inspired a new style known as "Regency-core."
Daphne Bridgerton's Best Outfits and Looks
This is a list of the best costumes worn by Daphne Bridgerton throughout season one. (I think my head would explode if I tried to rank all of the characters' costumes together, so I'm just focusing on Daphne.) On average, Daphne wears about eight costumes per episode. She has a lot of costume changes and very few repeats of said costumes.
The Basics of Daphne's Style
The Bridgerton family's refinement is conveyed in their styling. Their color is blue, but you will also see the characters wearing pinks and other soft pastel colors. Daphne wears a lot of blue and white; in fact, most of her costumes up until she marries are shades of blue. She starts wearing more purples and some pinks after she gets married. She even wears green once or twice.
I will say that some of her costumes do look very similar to each other, like all the blue dresses with short puffed sleeves in a variety of fabric types. Other costumes vary more; some are quite simple, while others are very over-the-top. However, all of Daphne’s costumes are lovely, even her simplest day dresses.
How I Ranked Her Top 15 Costumes
The costumes were ranked on aesthetics (I can’t help it; I liked a lot of her ball gowns), how they fit the scene, and how memorable they were. My rankings could change over time!
15. The “Burn for You" Dress
This day gown of Daphne’s appears a few times in Bridgerton, most notably when she and Simon are traveling on their way to the Hastings’ estate at Clyvedon. She wears this dress when they share their intimate desires at an inn on their wedding night, professing that they burn for one another.
This gown is the simplest of any of Daphne’s costumes: It’s a blue satin dress with short sleeves. The lack of pattern or any kind of embellishment works perfectly for the scene, as its bare appearance enhances the intimate moment when Daphne and Simon admit their feelings for one another.
14. The Layered Dress
This is another day costume for Daphne. She wears this dress in the third episode when Simon gives her insight into what happens at night in a marriage and what she can do at night herself.
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The costume has a coat-like over-layer made from patterned satin in a grayish blue color and a darker blue satin under-dress. The neckline of the over-layer is a Queen Anne neckline that allows the rounded scoop neckline of the under-dress to be visible. The over-layer has three-quarter-length sleeves and a crystal brooch attached to the bodice. Daphne completes the look with some sheer white gloves.
At other points in the series, Daphne wears similar costumes in this over-layer style with the same type of cut—but with slightly different color combinations and patterns.
13. The Gambling Gown
After Simon and Daphne are married, Daphne combines their signature colors (red and blue) in her wardrobe, resulting in more purple costumes. Since their relationship is strained, the purples are muted. These softer tones can appear either more reddish or more bluish, based on the lighting in the scene.
Daphne wears this muted purple satin gown when she is invited to Lady Danbury’s ladies-only gambling night. The sleeves are short and very slightly gathered; they're not as puffed as in some of her other gowns. The dress is embellished with darker purple glitter details that create clusters all over the gown.
12. The White Glitter Gown
Wearing this glittery ball gown, Daphne plays the game of temptation and enticement. Having been rejected by Simon, thus ending their ruse, Daphne sets her sights on Prince Friedrich. She makes the prince bow to her in a display of both power and seduction.
This gown is white with sheer silver glitter fabric as the overlay. The puffed short sleeves are also sheer, with a touch of glitter on the fabric. Daphne wears her hair in a half-up style, which is a departure from her formal ball attire to this point. Her headpiece also has feathers in it. A white feather fan completes this look as a means of capturing the prince’s attention.
This gown is unapologetically historically inaccurate. Glitter did not exist in the 19th century! The glitter on this gown adds to the fantasy-Regency look of Bridgerton. This costume represents Daphne leaning into her persona as the “Diamond of the First Water” (more on that in the next section).
11. The Debutante Gown
Bridgerton starts with the debutantes of the season being presented to the Queen. During the presentation, all the young ladies wear white gowns with impressive white plumes in their hair. It’s during this scene that the Queen bestows on Daphne the compliment of being “flawless.” She is then called the “incomparable” of the season and the “Diamond of the First Water.” Basically, Daphne is the "it girl" of London society.
Her debutante gown is a classic white dress with gold embroidery embellishments. The sleeves are short with gold embroidery on the sides. There is also a long, impressive train made from the same fabric as the gown. She is perfect in this gown—one could say incomparable.
Since this is the costume Daphne wears at the start of the show, it’s not just her introduction to society but also our introduction to the character. It’s a pity that the costume's appearance on screen is so brief, but there is no denying that it is very memorable.
10. The Wedding Gown
After Daphne and Simon go too far in the garden at the Trowbridge ball, they must avoid scandal and the ruin of the Bridgerton family by rushing down the aisle. For Daphne, an advantageous match has been her ambition for her first season, but she feels guilty because Simon has been quite clear about his desire never to marry. She worries that he feels like he's being trapped into marriage.
Her wedding gown is quite simple, which makes sense, given the speed of the wedding planning. It’s a very classic Regency silhouette with short puffed sleeves. There is a sheer white overlay with a floral pattern; it’s most likely white embroidery to keep the look soft and bridal. Overall, it is a very simple and demure wedding gown.
9. The Vauxhall Ball Gown
After some bad behavior from her elder brother, Anthony, Daphne’s popularity plummets, and her only prospect is an undesirable baron. Things take a turn for her at the ball at Vauxhall when she and Simon enter into their ruse. They form a mutually beneficial attachment: Daphne will seem more desirable to the eligible bachelors of London, and Simon will get ambitious mothers off his back. This plot development was a great way to end the first episode of the series.
The gown Daphne wears to the Vauxhall ball is very similar to her casual outfits and less like the ones she wears to the other balls. It is slightly more fancy, though, as it has floral embroidery appliques. The color is Daphne’s signature shade of blue, a blue-gray known as wedgewood. The sleeves are once again puffed, with floral embroidery appliques on them. The skirt has fewer embroidery appliques, but it does have a tiny amount of sequins sewn on it.
Why would Daphne wear a less opulent gown to this particular ball? She wants to attract less attention to herself, as her popularity has taken a hit. She doesn’t want Lord Berbrooke to notice her, either. (We do see this gown again later on, in episode three, when Daphne is dreaming about dancing with Simon at Vauxhall.)
8. The "Call Me Simon" Gown
Daphne wears this gown at the end of episode two. She is wearing it when Simon tells her to call him by his first name. He then touches her back, their first skin-to-skin contact. She also wears this gown in a scene when she is talking to Eloise about the night their youngest sister, Hyacinth, was born.
Many of Daphne’s ball gowns are white with lots of beaded embellishments. It can be hard to keep track of them; if you’re not paying close attention, they're easily mistaken for each other. This one has flower embroidery all other it, with pearl-like beads sewn in the middle of the flowers. The sleeves are cap sleeves that look very delicate. The neckline is a very Regency-like rounded square shape.
7. The Pinkish Ball Gown
This is another ball gown that Daphne wears in episode two (this particular ball doesn’t have a name associated with it). During the ball, Simon tells Daphne’s eldest brother, Anthony, about how unsuitable Berbrooke is as a husband. Daphne warns Simon that his efforts have not really helped matters.
This gown has a pinkish golden tone with lots of gold beading. There is beading on the bodice, the waistline, the cap sleeves, and the skirt, though the beads are less concentrated on the skirt. It looks like the beading is actually attached to a sheer overlay.
6. The Day Dress for Viewing Paintings
In episode three, Daphne and Simon’s ruse is in full swing. They are shown bonding together, getting ice cream, and generally having fun talking with each other. During an outing to view Simon's family's painting collection, Daphne and Simon bond further as they discuss his mother’s favorite painting while they are alone together. During this scene, the pair holds hands.
This dress is one of Daphne’s day outfits, and it’s a combination of light blue with a sheer white overlay. The overlay has a wave-like pattern. The sleeves are sheer and puffed with a line pattern. A thin light blue velvet ribbon is attached to the waistline and tied in a flat bow at the center.
She wears sheer, wrist-length gloves with this dress. Incidentally, they're the same gloves she wears with the layered dress (outfit #14 on this ranking list) in the later scene where Simon teaches her about the wedding night.
5. The Gown for Meeting the Prince
As a result of the ruse, Daphne’s prospects for suitable bachelors improve, but she finds that most of society’s offerings are not to her taste, as they are not Simon. Enter the Queen’s nephew, Prince Friedrich. He is the perfect foil to Simon; he not only outranks the Duke of Hastings, but he is nice, not a rake, and wants to get married. Moreover, his aunt is pushing him to pick Daphne for his wife. Since the Queen gave Daphne her highest compliment, she decides Daphne is the best match for her nephew.
When Daphne is first introduced to the Prince, she is wearing this very light blue ball gown. Like so many of Daphne’s other ball gowns, this one has capped sleeves. Unlike her other outfits, though, this one has rather heavy embellishments. It has heavy gold embroidery with beading throughout the threads.
It’s less delicate than her other gowns—less like a diamond and more of a bold look for her, though it's still within her typical style of dress. This could be because, on some level, she is not really trying to attract anyone. She is having more fun conversing with Simon at balls than dancing with other men.
4. The Day Dress With Long, Sheer Sleeves
As Daphne enjoys the day with her family and others, the boorish Lord Berbrooke interrupts and proclaims that he is to marry Daphne in three days to prevent the scandal and ruin that could befall the Bridgertons if she doesn’t wed. Daphne resigns herself to this fate until gossip and Berbrooke’s own scandal save her from the marriage.
The day dress she is wearing when she learns that Berbrooke has obtained a three-day wedding license is very lovely. It’s made from light blue satin with a sheer floral lace overlay. The bodice is detailed, while the lower portion has sparser embellishments. The sleeves are long and made from the same lace fabric. She wears sheer white gloves and a matching shawl to complete the look.
This day dress was used in promotion for the show, so it's one of Daphne's most recognizable costumes.
3. The Danbury Ball Gown
The first ball of the London season is hosted by Lady Danbury. This ball sets the stage for most of the plots of the first few episodes of Bridgerton, including when Daphne meets Simon for the first time—a snarky meet-cute for the ages.
This gown embraces Daphne being dubbed by Lady Whistledown as the “Diamond of the First Water.” Unlike the white gown seen later in the show (#12 on this list), the gown that she wears to her debut ball is more delicate and demure.
The gown is white to showcase her status as a debutante. The bodice is heavily beaded, and the beads cascade down to the skirt, lessening as they go. The sleeves are capped and also beaded. Long opera-length gloves, a delicate necklace, and a sparkly headpiece complete this dreamy look.
2. The Hastings Ball Gown
The London season ends with the Hastings ball, which is hosted by Daphne and Simon. As she is no longer an unmarried debutante, Daphne doesn’t dress to impress young men. She instead dresses in her new color of muted purple in a satin fabric.
This gown is less embellished than her debutante gowns, but it does have a restrained amount of silver beading. The beading is most notable on the tulip sleeves. She completes the look with white opera-length gloves, a heavier necklace, and a subtle crystal headpiece in her braided up-do.
Daphne is wearing this gown when she and Simon resolve the issues that have been plaguing their marriage. As the rain falls, prematurely ending the ball, Daphne tells him that she loves him, flaws and all. She loves all of him.
Not only is this the climax of the overall plot, but it’s the last time we see Daphne in a ball gown. It makes this gown part of a very memorable scene that leads to the happy conclusion of season one of Bridgerton. (You may also recognize this gown from a promo for the show.)
1. The Trowbridge Ball Gown
Daphne and Simon's story comes to a head at the Trowbridge ball. Prior to the ball, Simon ended the ruse and his friendship with Daphne. (In fact, we first see Daphne wearing this gown in a scene before the ball when she tells her mother that her relationship with Simon was a lie.) Without better options, she decides to make a go with Prince Friedrich, who (on paper) is the better match for her, even if she is not wholly convinced of the match. She does have a better rapport with Friedrich than with the other men in London.
The Prince makes it clear that he intends to propose to Daphne there at the ball, but before he can pop the pretty little question, Daphne takes a moment. In that moment outside, Simon confronts her about marrying the Prince. Daphne then rushes into the garden, and Simon pursues her. In the garden, they share a passionate moment. Daphne’s brother Anthony interrupts them, and, as Daphne is leaving the ball, a rival intimates that she saw Daphne and Simon in the garden, meaning a scandal is brewing for the Bridgertons—again.
This look is very different for Daphne. She is wearing yet another white ball gown. This one has lots of embroidery all over, with what looks like rhinestones and silver sequins. But the black elements really make this look stand out: She pairs this gown with a wide black velvet waistband and a sheer black shawl with silver sequins sewn into it. The shawl drapes over her bodice and covers the capped sleeves. She also wears white opera-length gloves, the necklace that the Prince gave her during an earlier scene, and a large black velvet bow in her hair.
The use of the color black gives this gown some edge and sets it apart from the others like it. It’s the ideal look for her to be wearing when she and Simon go a little too far and give in to their passion in a moonlit garden. Additionally, this looks fits the theme of the Trowbridge ball, which is black and white.
Are the Costumes in Bridgerton Historically Accurate?
One of the many subjects of discussion (and sometimes criticism) about this show is the costumes and how they are not historically accurate. Let’s be clear: Bridgerton does follow some Regency fashion conventions, like dresses with an empire waist (except for Lady Featherington’s costumes), but the show depicts a fictionalized version of fashion in the early 19th century. It's a historical fantasy series.
In this version of 1813 London society, there are neon colors, plastics, Swarovski crystals, lots of beading, tons of embroidery, glitter, etc. It’s crazy in the best way. Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick said that the show’s overall look was inspired by Irish painter Genieve Figgis, whose surreal art resembles the Rococo and Victorian periods melded together.
So, yes, Bridgerton has a foundation in Regency fashion, but it adds a sense of modernity to create a look that's all its own. You know a costume is from Bridgerton as soon as you see it.