The Hidden Meaning Behind Penelope’s New Wardrobe in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3

When Penelope Featherington decides to revamp her wardrobe in Season 3, she goes bold. Stepping into the atelier, she gazes into the mirror and declares that she does not “wish to see a citrus color ever again”—the very colorway that has always defined her, her mother, and her sisters. Her mother’s insistence that she’s not beautiful has left her resigned to spinsterhood, deferring to others when it comes to choosing her clothes. At every society ball, she retreats into a corner, preferring to fade into the background. No one notices her, and she remains silent, keenly observing the dancing crowd and listening for gossip, which she then uses in her Lady Whistledown column.

When she decides to look for a suitor, the first thing she does is rethink her wardrobe: not so much in silhouette, but in color. The first ensemble is an emerald green empire-style dress adorned with black decorated tulle. It’s an unusual choice for Penelope, but the colors hint at hope, at change; never mind being the queen’s “diamond of the season”—Penelope is happy to be an emerald. And then there’s the black, which notably contrasts with the pastel shades worn by other young ladies at the ball. Their muted yellow, pink, and green dresses are never as intense or vivid as Penelope’s green and black look. And so, as she descends the stairs at the ball, everyone notices her—for perhaps the first time.

Photo: Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

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