Costume Review: Outlander S1E10 By The Pricking Of My Thumbs.
Another Outlander costume review, that makes two in a row! Sometimes you just need to zone out with some TV between editing photos all night long. A good of an excuse as any right? This episode featured claire wearing - gasp! - actual clothing and not just her roll in the hay wear. Before we begin I'd just like to say two things. I am weirdly obessed with this show. First, I like the costuming in a non-historic way most of the time, and really enjoy the writing. That doesn't mean I'm not allowed to roll my eyes as someone who's done a bit of research for this period. In now way would I say I'm a master of this era though. I can, and expect to be wrong sometimes. Second, all images belong to Starz and I'm simply using them for discussion on the costuming. Let's get into shall we?
First things first, Claire is actually wearing her hair up! The shape isn't too terrible for the time period either. I have no idea what her collar is supposed to be though? I can't recall seeing something like that in the period, but at least it's not knitwear right? Loaghaire is fine, save caps and fichu. But since the last episode I kind of get she's the kind of lady that's totally alright with putting it all out there.
The more I watch and complain about caps and fichus, the more I see the costume department using them as way to distinguish between main characters and background characters, ladies of the house versus the help. While it might help the casual viewer, it's distracting to us that know otherwise. Plus there were some seriously impressive fancy caps at this time. I need more accessories! I do appreciate a good bum roll though, so props loaghaire. What I don't apperciate is that lace on ren faire sleeve. That's not right, and we'll see it again in this episode.
Gellis is back, that wacky little witch. I love love love love love Claire's coat. I can't believe there actually using fur trim well. Especially after the weird fox tail nightmare they used last episode (and you see again in this one). I'm very tempted the make it and wear it to my next event. Gellis on the other hand is always given the most ugly and mangiest furs to wear. The shape of the jacket is fine, but the fabric they used is strange. Here are a few period examples of hoods.
Look! Color. I know why they tamed down the Scotts palette, in fact we'll discuss it in the next scene, but it's just so disappointing. The colors of the time period are so fun!
The costume department is using color to convey the differentials between the Scottish and the English. Almost everyone in the Duke of Sandringham's house, including himself is dressed in pastels and silks, which are a few of my favorite things. While an okay use of story telling, it seems like the highlanders were actually much more adventurous color wise.
See, look at that! The tartans are so bold, and much more defined than on the show. They loved accessories and weren't afraid of a little pattern matching. But in watching this show you'd think they only had access to wool and dark earth tones dyes. Lord knows none of the Scotts in the show know where to get any decent hair powder.
I don't know why Claire is wearing a neck-brace in this scene. It was dark, and hard to tell but I think it's some kind of fur? The closest I could come to finding something similar was the painting above, Madame Sophie by Franz Bernhard Frey (1766). Although hers looks more scarf that's been wrapped around her neck, but I could be wrong. Either way the scale on Claire's is just kind of weird. It's almost tudor-ish? But I really liked her dress at first glance! It's evening wear so fichu be damned! the seaming and print looks nice, and I love a good cartridge pleat. Good job Terry!
BUT THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. I swear I'm going to start a drinking game where I take a shot for every 18th century costume that's rear lacing. Yes, I might die of alcohol poisoning because I swear this is how every costume designer in the world is convinced rear closures pre 19th century are. They're not. In women's clothing in the 18th century only a french court dress would have closed in the rear like this. Everything else would have closed in the front, normally with pins, second to lacings and buttons. This is probably my number one pet peeve in this time period.
Gellis in the same scene. I don't know what the hell she's wearing, it's like a weird example of a Chemise a la Reine, but with an open robe and hip supports? The whole idea behind the Chemis a la Reine was to be "free" from the restrictions of court dresses, so combining them seems weird to me? I would say maybe they were going for more of a Robe à la Turque, but those sleeves are decidedly Chemise a la Reine, see below.
Anyone have any insight on something else they could have been referencing?
The dress that Gellis wears here is fine, save the fabric they used on the open robe part of the dress. I can't tell what it is, I only pray it's not more stray dog fur. Also if she was just hanging out alone in her house after her husband's death, you would think she'd be in more of a sack gown or bed jacket. I don't know why she's wearing such an evening dress at home.
Further proof that only minor characters and house help are allowed to be properly dressed. This costume is actually pretty perfect though. Front closures, fichu, cap, wing sleeves, and apron. More of this please.
Claire, with her knit wear and lace on sleeves. This, while fun to look at, isn't correct. Sleeves in this time period were usually fitted pretty tightly at the armscythe, and have very specific seaming. This is total ren-faire ridiculousness to me, but I'd like to be proven wrong. I just doubt I will.
Until next week, unless I actually take that drinking game to heart, then I might be in a coma.