10+ Costumes That Were Made So Historically Correct, You Can’t Find Any Fault in Them


There are numerous films in the history of cinematography that aren’t about some fictitious time period but rather about specific historical eras. Such movies present a difficulty to their producers because historical accuracy is sought, particularly with regard to costumes. Viewers won’t be able to fully immerse themselves in the historical setting if the characters’ clothing has any minor flaws, and they’ll probably give the movie poor reviews.

We looked at motion pictures with both amazing and historically correct costumes. We also questioned the designers’ inspirations when they first drew designs for the clothes.

Emma (2020)

© Emma. / Working Title Films

Alexandra Byrne, the Oscar-winning costume designer, carefully examined historical records, antique patterns, and fabrics from the Renaissance era to learn what hues, materials, and apparel were in vogue in the 1800s.

A common misconception is that throughout those times, people wore drab, uninspired attire. However, the wealthy fashionistas of that era did their best to flaunt their wealth and status through clothing. They preferred vibrant colours and luxurious textiles. Byrne wanted to shatter this common misconception by using a vibrant candy palette in her costumes, ranging from delicate pinks to vivid ocher hues.

© Emma. / Working Title Films© Chertsey Museum

Additionally, Byrne was inspired by museum displays. For instance, the light pink spencer Emma was sporting was actually a popular style throughout the Regency era. Additionally, men were the only ones to wear this short blazer in the 1790s, but it gradually spread to include women as well. Spencers, which were very well-liked in the first third of the nineteenth century, assisted females in diversifying the white gowns they became weary of wearing.

© Emma. / Working Title Films© Friedrich Carl Gröger / Wikipedia Commons

Emma and other female characters frequently made an appearance while donning the then-common chemisettes, which were thin blouses with lots of frills at the neck. Girls used them over their dresses during the day to conceal the exposed neck and throat area.

Another illustration of how intricately designed the outfits were is this light garment. Emma shines in a replica of a vivid silk dress from the 1810s at one of the social events in the movie. The delicate decoration that adorns the garment’s upper and lower portions was meticulously replicated by the design team.

Little Women (2019)

© Little Women / Columbia Pictures

The movie received an Oscar for “Best Costumes” in 2020. There were also several sequences with costumes that were agonisingly authentic for this period, even if Jacqueline Durran let some factual mistakes slip.

For instance, it would initially appear that Meg’s vivid green scarf is improper because the girl couldn’t have afforded such pricey attire in such vibrant hues. However, they actually began producing synthetic dyes on a large scale in the 1850s. And hues like the brilliant blue, vivid purple, and green that Meg is wearing also become accessible to common people.

Titanic (1997)

© Titanic / Paramount Pictures

This well-liked film’s costume designer, Deborah Lynn Scott, won an Oscar for her superb work. Because the plot was based on a well-known historical event, the director requested that she depict the era correctly and with the smallest of details. In order to comprehend the attire that members of affluent society would wear when appearing in public, the costume designer researched the period and devoured a number of etiquette literature.

So, when Rose initially appears on screen, she is dressed in a striped after-lunch outfit that is virtually an identical replica of the attire featured in French fashion magazines of the year 1912. A woman who was travelling in the latter part of the day should have worn this kind of clothing.

© Titanic / Paramount Pictures© Titanic / Paramount Pictures

Scott also paid close attention to what the characters were wearing underneath. Although it is commonly known that women did not wear bras in 1912, it was nevertheless expected that they provide a distinct silhouette when out in public. Because of this, Kate Winslet’s character was had to wear corsets at all times.

The Duchess (2008)

© The Duchess / Pathé© The Duchess / Pathé

Michael O’Connor, a British costume designer, earned a well-deserved Oscar in 2009 for his efforts. For Keira Knightley, who portrayed Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, he made 30 costumes. This historical character was at one point the most in-demand in the aristocratic circles of England.

From 1714 to the middle of the 1800s, a rather large time span is covered by the film’s events. Additionally, the costumes graphically illustrate how fashion changed at this time. For instance, the duchess’s wedding dress was unmistakably influenced by the elegant French attire of the latter part of the 1770s. Here, you can see that the skirt’s ruffles match the blouse’s. Keep in mind that the dresses also share a panier, which is a whalebone framework used below skirts to provide the necessary silhouette and sustain the weight of the heavy clothes.

© The Duchess / Pathé© Thomas Gainsborough / Wikipedia Commons

Georgiana was the first lady to fashion an ostrich feather into a fashionable adornment. The Duchess posed for the photographer while donning a hat with a large brim and feathers. Following then, demand for this headgear increased across England. Naturally, Keira Knightley’s attire also mirrored this fact, according to the costume designer.

Mulan (2020)

© Mulan / Walt Disney Pictures

The undisputed star of this film adaption are the outfits. Designer Bina Daigeler spent three weeks travelling throughout China learning about the nation’s history and drawing inspiration from the attire of the Tang Dynasty (the seventh century to the tenth century). Women wore dresses with long sleeves and a high waist during that time. Additionally, the vibrant colours used in this era’s clothing made a statement. For example, authorities wore purple, blue, and red uniforms, while other outfits wore up to five different colours simultaneously.

Perhaps the most famous costume in the movie is the one Mulan is sporting when she visits the matchmaker. Daigeler used a hanfu, a traditional Chinese garment, to bring the famous appearance to life. Butterfly, magnolia, and dragon embroidery produced by hand is used to embellish it. Making it took close to four weeks.

Do you enjoy watching historical films and television shows? Which one of them, in your opinion, has the most period-appropriate attire?

Preview photo credit Titanic / Paramount PicturesTitanic / Paramount Pictures