Created By: DragonQuestZ on November 13, 2009
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Hollywood Costuming

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The bodice and makeup are more accurate for 1955, not 1255.

Based off this earlier ykttw.

A Sub-Trope of Hollywood History related to period dress. Due to factors ranging from budget, Artistic License, and downright They Just Didn't Care, period costuming in shows and movies is just plain inaccurate half the time (although most of the time there are some minor mistakes).

Sometimes costumes are mostly accurate, but from the wrong time. Sometimes the costumes are based more on the styles of the time the work was made than when they take place. Sometimes the costume designers will just make completely original outfits having almost nothing to do with the historical fashions.

Note this doesn't just included clothing and accessories, but also makeup and hair.

This is actually Older Than Print. Consider a lot of paintings depicting Biblical or mythological scenes in medieval or Renaissance dress, or the fact that many Victorian reprints of Jane Austen's work had new illustrations depicting the characters in modest Victorian clothing rather than the comparatively skimpy light muslin dresses of the regency era.

Note to count, it has to take place in our history, not a neo-historical future or a Fantasy Counterpart Culture.

Gorgeous Period Dress is a Sub-Trope.

Often overlaps with Present Day Past (when the sets, props, and costuming are not historical at all).

Rolling Examples:

  • Quite common during the Golden Age of Hollywood, although still around.
    • Picture comes from The Court Jester.
    • Vivien Leigh's obviously 20th century makeup job as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.
    • This picture of Rose Hobart as Anne Neville (with Basil Rathbone as {Richard III})in 1939's Tower of London.
    • The Laurence Olivier version of Pride and Prejudice with all the women in antebellum hoop skirts (although might be justified if it's true that they were reused from Gone With The Wind to save costs).
  • 300 is an extreme example of this.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman did this, although to a much milder degree than the other historical inaccuracies of the show (in case anybody wants to dispute that, I had a college teacher who's best friend was the historical consultant for that show, and she stopped showing up on the set after she realized they weren't listening to her).
  • In the 1947 film version of Good News (set in The Roaring Twenties), the men's costumes are roughly period-appropriate, but the women's hair and clothes are contemporary.
  • In Auntie Mame (at least the first film adaptation), many outfits don't even try to look like the 20s or 30s.
  • In theater more than a century or so older, there wasn't even an effort to be accurate in the costuming. You would see Cleopatra in petticoats and an ermine cape and Mark Anthony in a doublet and tights.
  • Debatable how accurate most of the costuming in Rome is, but the Egyptian costuming, as well as sets, were totally off. Egypt was a Hellenistic nation at the time, as were many Mediterranean nations after Alexander the Great conquered them.
  • The costuming in "The Tudors" won an Emmy, but if you value your sanity do not claim it's historically accurate on any Internet re-enactment board or discussion list.
  • Christine's frizzy '80s Hair in the original production of The Phantom of the Opera (though, that could be an homage to the 1925 silent film too, which would still be this). Over the years, this has evolved into much tidier ringlets.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • November 12, 2009
    MasoTey
    Just a note, the thing about the Pride and Prejudice costumes being recycled from GWTW is probably an urban legend -- though the out-of-period costumes may be otherwise justified, since that version was supposedly re-set in 1840. (Both those assertions are the fruit of my faulty memory, though; I'll try to dig up some sources.)

    Also, the Rathbone version of Tower of London was 1939.

    Quibbling aside, this is a much-needed subtrope.

    ETA an example: In the 1947 film version of Good News (set in The Roaring Twenties), the men's costumes are roughly period-appropriate, but the women's hair and clothes are contemporary.
  • November 12, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    I corrected the year, noted the P & P example might not be justified, and added you're example.
  • November 12, 2009
    SevenOfDiamonds
    • One extremely mainstream example is that brides are always dressed in white, a practice that was not popularized until Queen Victoria.
    • A Knights Tale does this on purpose, especially with Joselyn's costumes, which were supposed to be reminiscent of a college art student.

  • November 12, 2009
    Duncan
    Shakespeare In Love does this slightly, mixing costume styles from nearby but different times: [1] for more info.
  • November 12, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Would hair styles and facial hair count? Because there are numerous examples for them. The main root of this I think is the mixing of modern fashion trends with the re-enacted historical era. "Why does that 12th century knight have a soul-patch and gelled hair?"
  • November 12, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    I would say hair counts as a form of costuming. I did include Good Hair Evil Hair in the Villainous Fashion Sense index.
  • November 13, 2009
    Arilou
    • The Seventh Seal is quite ludicrous in it's costuming and doesn't match 14th century fashion at all.
  • November 13, 2009
    LickyLindsay
    The last time I tried to start a trope about this with regards to hairstyles, people told me it was just Present Day Past.
  • November 13, 2009
    MasoTey
    Eh. Some examples also fall under Present Day Past. But when it's a matter of substituting the styles of one past period for another, or when the costumes are so fantastic that they are neither contemporary nor accurate to any past, Present Day Past doesn't apply and this trope still does.
  • November 13, 2009
    Antigone2
    The costuming in "The Tudors" won an Emmy, but if you value your sanity do not claim it's historically accurate on any Internet re-enactment board or discussion list.
  • November 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Theater example: Christine's frizzy Eighties Hair in the original production of The Phantom Of The Opera. Over the years, this has evolved into much tidier ringlets. (Weirdly, though, Christine somehow manages to have the same frizzy Eighties Hair in the 1925 silent film too.)
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