Costume Review: Outlander S1E9 The Reckoning
As if I needed something else to do with my lack of time, I've decided to review costumes on some of the period pieces I watch. Mostly because my housemates don't understand my gripes with the historically accuracy of costuming on most shows, so there's got to be some internet folks to sympathize with right? A mid season opener of a show probably isn't the best place to start, but it is what it is. Live in the now readers! Anyway, on with the review. All screencaps and the show Outlander are copyrighted to Starz, I'm just using them here for discussion.
This outfit is pretty unoffensive, which is probably for the best considering the scene it follows. I don't plan to get too much into plots points in these reviews by the way, I'm really just here for the eye candy. But you might read things if the costume relates to the scene in a particular way, but nothing too in depth. This dress is fine though, and Claire has worn it before. Pretty standard stomacher, jacket, and petticoat. My only gripe, as with most women on the show is the total lack of caps, and more often than not fichus. As the only woman in the party, and for a daytime look, it's really super wanton of Claire to disregard them entirely. I'd like to think it's because you know, she's from the future, but I haven't seen really any major character in a cap, and only seen a fichu once or twice. Same idea on wearing your hair up versus down. I'm pretty sure this is the only thing we see Claire in besides her shift and birthday suit. I'm positive her boobs got more screen time this episode than the dress anyway.
Here's Latitia, dripping in furs. While I'm not a fur expert, it looks like fox to me. It's a statement piece for sure, but I haven't really seen anything like it to prove it's accurate. Especially for a lady of her standing. It reads more game of thrones than 18th century Clan Leader. I could be wrong, but I feel they could have done the fur in a much more elegant way to suit her character better. See the paintings below for a better idea of highbrow furs in the 18th century.
I think a very thick fur trim would have worked much better for her character. At least her hair is up, but where's your cap woman? I think she's rocking a hair pin or something, but I couldn't tell from the screen caps.
Oh poor little Loaghaire. The dress is pretty bland, and the print on the stomacher concerns me, but the biggest thing is the princess seam on the dress. While there are a few surviving dresses with pieced fronts, they were almost always front closing with no stomacher. I have never seen a dress, with stomacher that had a seam like that. If you wanted to add some interest to the front of the dress, why not add robing or trim? The lack of trim of any of the dresses is kind of disappointing, but robings are simple enough to go with the aesthetic we've been given so far. Robings are strips of fabric, like a collar, you would hide your pins behind when you attached your dress to your stomacher. You can see them here in this painting from the Tate. You know what else that painting has that Loaghaire doesn't? A CAP. Her hair it least isn't completely loose.
This though by far was the most offensive thing I saw costume wise this episode. Sure, Loaghaire is trying to seduce someone, but everything about the way she's wearing those stays is just wrong. First, they would have been spiral laced, not criss-cross style. Also, they should have been laced all the way down, see where they just skipped the bottom holes? While front and back closing stays existed, they weren't super common. Back closing was the preferred style unless you were pregnant or breastfeeding. They did exist though, so free pass there. Even if these would have been her preferred style, there is no way in hell they would have had the lacing gap in the front. The lacing gap is always in the back, to do otherwise creates a very strange, and undesired for the period silhouette. The stays are supposed to create a cone shape, very flat and conical, and this just doesn't jive. Also the stays should fit so that the tabs give way when excess "meat" is pushed downward, create the illusion of larger hips. These, because they aren't properly laced or fitted, just let the tabs hang slack. Stays were expensive then as they are now (can I get an amen from my 18th century reenactors?), so there's no way she wouldn't have been wearing her shift underneath. The shift kept the stays clean and made them last longer. Also wearing stays that tightly against your skin isn't the most comfortable without that extra fabric layer. Had she just been wearing her shift and stays correctly it would have been thoroughly scandalous enough for the 18th century man. I think he would have been concerned that they fit her so poorly if she had really come to him in this. I'm probably just bitter after working so hard to fit and make my own stays, but this is just terrible.
My first review is complete! Is this something that only I care about and should remove from the internet post-haste? Let me know what you think about that, and any of the costumes from this episode in the comments below!