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‘Bridgerton’ Costume Designer John Glaser Shares Secrets About Gorgeous Season 3 Dresses and More

Learn how the costumes are like a flower garden!

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Bridgerton dresses — and the show’s costumes in general — are truly a feast for the eyes. The wildly popular take on historical romance, which returns for its much-anticipated third season on May 16, brings the Regency era to vivid (if not entirely historically accurate) life with gorgeous colors, sumptuous fabrics and seductive silhouettes. While we can’t wait to see what kinds of drama the many characters will get into, we might be even more excited to see what they’re wearing.

So what kind of fashions can we expect to see in the new season? Costume designer John Glaser gave us the scoop on his inspirations, the use of modern flourishes, ways to bring a touch of Bridgerton chic into your own wardrobe and more.

MUST-READ: Enjoy much more about Bridgerton at our sister site

Inspirations for this season’s Bridgerton dresses

The dreamy Bridgerton dresses look straight out of a painting, so it’s no surprise that Glaser and his team turned to art for inspiration. “We looked at all kinds of paintings, even abstract ones,” he says.

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Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton
Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) in a painterly moment from Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

One particularly quirky thing he learned in his research was that during the Regency era, due to a shortage of silk from Paris, women would wear linen dresses and wet them so the fabric took on a silky, transparent look and clung to their bodies. “We can’t  pour water over an actor,” he says. “So we got the look with layers of sheer fabric.”

He also found much to draw from in nature. “This season, we talked about how we wanted it to look like a flower garden,” he says. “In a flower garden there are soft edges, there are hard edges on the leaves, there are lots of shadows, there are highlights and there’s variance in all the colors.”

Glaser applied these variations in color and texture to the costumes. As he explains, “If you look at any dress, sometimes you really can’t tell what color it is because it’s layers of fabric.” He also notes that the color palette is a bit more subdued than in previous seasons, in keeping with the nature theme.

(L to R) Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton in episode 303 of Bridgerton
Left to right: Hyacinth Bridgerton (Florence Hunt), Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) and Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) wear flower garden inspired dresses in Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Adding modern touches to the Bridgerton dresses

Part of what makes Bridgerton so fun to watch is the playful, contemporary approach it takes to a conventional period piece. Fittingly, Glaser didn’t shy away from adding modern touches, particularly when it came to accessories. “The shoes from that period are flat and we wanted the actresses to have a little bit of height because it looks better and they can walk easier,” he says, noting that they used modern shoes from Ferragamo. Much of the eye-catching jewelry, meanwhile, is from around 1890 up to 1965.

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Hugh Sachs as Brimsley, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury in episode 302 of Bridgerton
Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) and Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) wear vintage jewelry in Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

As for the dresses, “The fabrics are all modern,” he says. “We don’t want to try to use anything that looks like an old fabric, but we put our fabrics together in ways that it doesn’t look like it’s just off the bolt.” He also emphasizes the importance of adding charming details. “We have a very big embellishment department,” he says. “It’s nine people that re-embroider things, make flowers, add layers and make it look like a flower garden.”  

 (L to R) Rosa Hesmondhalgh as Rae, Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton
Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) wears an embellished dress in Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

How the costumes convey character

We’ve seen the Bridgerton characters go through plenty of ups and downs over the first two seasons, and as the focus of the new season shifts to the friends-to-lovers relationship between Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), we’re sure to be in for even more juicy drama.

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(L to R) Luke Newton as Colin and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Season 3, Episode 2.
Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) are the stars of Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

The costumes don’t just look pretty, they also aid in character development. “I don’t like to make the costume wear the actor. I’d rather have the costume help the actor tell the story and reveal the character that they’re trying to show us,” Glaser says.

There’s also consistency across the seasons. As he explains, “Once you find a silhouette that the actor is comfortable in and it looks like something the character would wear, then you start repeating that and making variations of it. Not everything is a brand new idea.”

(L to R) Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, David Mumeni as Lord Samadani in episode 303 of Bridgerton
Left to right: Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) and Lord Samadani (David Mumeni) show off their Bridgerton season three silhouettesLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Making the costumes seductive

A big part of Bridgerton‘s appeal comes from its attractive cast and moments of swoonworthy romance. The costumes add to the show’s sex appeal, and Glaser was intentional about making the costumes seductive in a subtle way. “This season we used sheer gloves so that we see skin, and we’ve taken away a lot of the men’s tight neckwear and opened up their shirts,” he says. “It’s a little more modern. It also loosens them up and makes them a little sexier.”

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Luke Newton as Colin in Season 3, Episode 2 of the show.
Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) wears an open shirt in Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2023

He also makes sure a character’s physicality always comes through. “We try not to hide how a person walks and moves,” he says. “We don’t like to encumber them and that makes it a little more sensual.”

The most important part of adding romance to the costumes is keeping all the elements balanced. As Glaser puts it, “We’ve taken things away from the period and we’ve added things to the period to make them sexier.”

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton
Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) wears sheer gloves in Bridgerton season threeLaurence Cendrowicz/Netflix © 2024

How to channel Bridgerton style

The fashion of Bridgerton is escapist, but that doesn’t mean you can’t channel it in real life! The beautiful Bridgerton dresses have even inspired a trend of so-called “Regencycore.”

Glaser says that while not all the fashion in the show is easy to copy, the spencer jackets worn by Lady Featherington (Polly Walker), Lady Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) are flattering and worth emulating. “It’s just a short jacket, and then accessories like gloves and jewelry are all things you can pick out from the period,” he notes.

Polly Walker as Lady Portia Featherington in Season 3, Episode 1.
Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) wears a spencer jacket and accessories in Bridgerton season threeLiam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

We’ll definitely be trying this look as season three approaches, and we’re looking forward to seeing the flower garden of Bridgerton dresses that Glaser has in store.

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