Reimagined Chainmail is the Next Regencycore Trend

Photography courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty Images

Time to armour up.

Natalie Michie

Date February 2, 2022

A chainmail mini dress has long been the It Girl party uniform. But in 2022, we’re wearing flat-out armour.

Quick history lesson: in 1999, supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss famously stepped out in coordinating Versace metalwear dresses. In 2002, Paris Hilton donned a thin-strapped, shimmery dress to her 21st birthday party. And over a decade later, Kendall Jenner, inspired by Hilton, wore an almost identical slip to hers.

This past year, Angelina Jolie and Zoë Kravtiz donned floor-length slinky chainmail dresses to a red carpet premiere and the Met Gala, respectively.

But what was once something only seen on supermodels is now becoming a fixture of everyday dressing. In lieu of glitzy mini dresses, we’re seeing reimagined chainmail wardrobe staples like purses and fingerless gloves resurface on TikTok and Instagram, in addition to epaulet collars and headpieces reminiscent of the medieval period.

Made of metal or metal-like material linked together, chainmail fashion sits somewhere between a disco and a battlefield, evoking feelings of celebration and strength. The trend is fitting as we enter our third pandemic year hopeful but armed with hindsight.

The metal-heavy style is a natural progression of 2021’s Regencycore trend that popularized pieces like corsets, pearls and formal gloves.

Clearly, we’re still yearning for a time before COVID-19 ushered us into an age of protective dressing (take this season’s balaclava trend, for instance). Gone are the days of maskless shopping trips and hand sanitizer-free outings. At the same time, fashion is entering a period of celebration and vitality, with many holding out hope for a second Roaring Twenties.

With its battle-ready structure, chainmail clothing is protective and yet provocative, channeling the boundary breaking fashion set to define 2022.