‘Bridgerton’: Why Penelope Featherington is Always Wearing Yellow, According to Season 1 Costume Designer

The first season of Bridgerton dropped on Netflix in December 2020, and in short order, it became one of the streaming service’s most successful shows to date. The series, which is set in Regency-era London, made stars out of the lead cast members and introduced the world to characters like Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from Bridgerton season 1.]

'Bridgerton' actors Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton
(L-R) Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton | Liam Daniel/Netflix

One fan-favorite character that made a splash in Bridgerton from the start is Penelope Featherington, the eldest daughter of the esteemed Featherington family. There are a lot of layers written into the character of Penelope. As the costume designers for the series recently explained, there’s a very good reason why Penelope is often seen wearing bright yellow dresses. 

Nicola Coughlan plays Penelope Featherington in ‘Bridgerton’

Penelope, played to perfection by actor Nicola Coughlan, is a primary character in Bridgerton. As the best friend of Eloise Bridgerton, Penelope is granted access to the inner workings of the Bridgerton family. While the society in which she lives functions based on the idea of arranged marriages, it is clear from the start that Penelope has feelings for Colin Bridgerton.

As the first season unfolded, it became more and more evident that Penelope had a secret life – and by the end of the season, it was revealed that Penelope was the mysterious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown. Even well into the second season, Penelope was struggling with her feelings for Colin, and viewers have watched as she has changed and grown as a woman in spite of it all. 

Why is Penelope frequently wearing yellow dresses in ‘Bridgerton’?

Penelope is often seen wearing bright yellow dresses and accessories, making her stand out from a sea of cream and pink gowns. That costume choice was by design, as it turns out.

According to Popsugar, season one costume designer Ellen Mirojnick originally chose yellow for Penelope because it represents her deceitful nature (as she is secretly Lady Whistledown) and also ties back to the Regency era, where the show is set, when yellow was one of the more fashionable colors worn by high society women.

In the second season of Bridgerton, Penelope admits that she doesn’t have any particular fondness for the color yellow, telling Edwina Sharma that she is “weary” of wearing yellow. According to the second season’s costume designer, Sophie Canale, the conversation was necessary to show that Penelope is becoming more mature – and over the episodes that follow, Penelope can be seen incorporating more pinks and mauves into her wardrobe rotation. 

What’s next for the character of Penelope Featherington?

With the first two seasons of Bridgerton focusing on other major romances, the upcoming third season of the hit series will be Penelope’s time to shine. In a May 2022 interview, Coughlin revealed that her character’s romance with Colin Bridgerton will be the subject of Season 3.

“Like Lady Whistledown, I have been keeping a secret for quite some time, and I can confirm to you all that Season 3 is Colin and Penelope’s love story,” Coughlin told Netflix’s FYSee panel, as reported by The New York Post. “I have kept that secret since two weeks into Season 2. This is the first time I am saying it here.”

Coughlin has made no secret of her affection for the pairing of “Polin” and has opened up in the months since about her excitement for Season 3. Certainly, there are a lot of fans who are very invested in Penelope’s journey and can’t wait to see what’s next for the daring debutante with a flair for the dramatic.

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