Literature Inspired Fashion: Elizabeth Bennet

pride and prejudice first editionWe all have characters from movies and literature that we identify with and relate to. This is the first in a series of literature inspired fashion – looks interpreted from well-loved books, as well as some you may not have heard of. One thing is for sure, all of them have great style. Avid readers will know the joys of imagining every minute detail written in their favorite books, and I’m going to take that one step further here. The first in the series is, not surprisingly, Elizabeth Bennet, from the book Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813.

Better known as Lizzie Bennet, she and her beautiful older sister Jane (not to mention three other sisters), wore beautiful clothes; and Jane Austen unwittingly gave us an insight into the fashion and style sense of the early 1800s.

The Bennet sisters were not wealthy; they wore demure, understated clothes, but managed to make a statement wherever they went.


The trends at the time were high waisted empire dresses and flowy fabrics in light or earthy tones. Sleeves, if present, were usually puffed sleeves.empire dress with puffed sleeves

A daytime outfit for Lizzie would be a flowy dress, maybe in tones like deep blues, soft browns, or forest green, with a three fourth sleeve.

green three quarter sleeves daytime dress

Otherwise, evening gowns were usually sleeveless, worn with short jackets. Some daring women wore plunging necklines, but that wasn’t Lizzie’s style.


Most women at the time wore ‘sensible’ shoes, and Lizzie was no exception. Flats and slippers were the order of the day. Sometimes, the flats were bordered with lace for special occasions.

asos lace ballet flats


Hair was left loose with a middle part. I know Keira Knightley had bangs in the 2005 movie, but nobody really had bangs or layers at the time. Occasionally, women would wear a beautiful intricate up-do.

middle parting hair


While dressing up for social evenings or dinners, women carried shawls, usually with paisley prints. This would elegantly protect them from the cold. Also, the paisley prints set off a beautiful contrast to the solid coloured dresses.

Here’s how we can interpret this in the 21st Century

The 21st century Lizzie, although understated would nevertheless make a statement with a spunky accessory, be it a funky jacket or cool handpainted shoes. We think she’d be partial to monotones, but still happy to add prints and patterns in subtle ways to her look. So go ahead and Lizzie-fy yourself!

1. A single coloured empire line sleeveless dress, paired with a patterned scarf and pretty shoes. Wear your hair in an updo or a bun.

2. High waisted lacy shorts paired with a flow-y top, and strappy sandals.

3. A monotone dress, worn with a short printed jacket.

Did you love this post? [link_popup id='21550' link_text='Sign up now to get all our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox!' name='Subscribe here']

Image courtesy :

Related Articles
comments powered by Disqus