Outlander Costume Recap: Season 2, Episode 6

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We’ll be recapping every episode of Outlander this season, both in blog post AND podcast. Kendra and Sarah will be focusing mostly on the costumes — designed by Terry Dresbach — in our blog posts, but probably tackling both the costumes and the story itself in our podcasts.

However, this week is different! Sarah literally just got off a plane to London, and Kendra gets on a plane to Paris at 6:52am tomorrow morning. So, unfortunately there’s no podcast this week, and only Kendra writing the blog recap today. We will discuss BOTH episodes 6 & 7 in next week’s podcast, and we’ll continue to recap/podcast even while we’re in Europe! (Yes, your Frock Flickers may just be going to a costumed event. At Versailles. You can hate us now.)

For those who aren’t regular Frock Flicks readers: this blog and podcast is all about costumes in historical movies and TV shows, and we approach things from the angle of history. So, expect us to be talking about the costumes primarily from the point of view of comparison with the real history of the 1740s. We’ll also talk about costume in terms of story, and the deviations that come with this one having the fantasy element of time travel. But, know that when we talk about that dreaded phrase “historical accuracy,” we’re not doing it to be mean or judgy. It’s just one lens through which to watch this fabulous show.

We start the show with Jamie brooding. Murtagh is all excited about the duel with Jack Randall, but Jamie has to break the bad news, and Murtagh is confused and angry.

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Jamie is practical in his waistcoat…

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…and kilt.

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Murtagh is practical in his waistcoat and trews.

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Great trim on this servant!

Claire is at the hospital. The executioner/urologist warns her that the king is planning to execute a number of supposed practitioners of the “dark arts.” It’s clearly meant to be a warning to pass on to Maitre Raymond, but it might also be for Claire herself as well.

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Claire is in a blue jacket with a pinned-on apron.

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The executioner/doctor is practical in his waistcoat as well.

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Sleeve/cuff closeup.

Claire heads to Maitre Raymond’s to warn him. He agrees to leave the city.

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Claire is wearing an interesting cloak that looks like a dress in back, with a “skirt” pleated to a “bodice”!

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Another series color differential between indoor/outdoor! She’s wearing her fabulous yellow leather gloves again.

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Maitre Raymond has one waistcoat.

Jamie rubs Claire’s feet (GOOD JAMIE!!). He tells Claire that the real reason he agreed to wait a year to kill Randall is so that should anything happen to him (Jamie), Claire will have someone to go to who will love/protect her. He gets Claire to agree that she’ll go back to Frank if Jamie dies.

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Claire is back in her embroidered yellow silk robe de chambre.

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The next day, Claire mixes up some herbs to fake smallpox and tests them out on Jamie. They work.

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Fergus’s coat looks like it has a leather collar, like Murtagh’s.

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Jamie in his kilt and shirt, Claire in the same blue jacket.

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Murtagh sticking with his mustard wool.

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Claire’s jacket buttons down the front and has laced panels under each breast to accommodate her pregnancy… which is HUGE now.

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Close-up of the lacing panels.

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Fitted back.

Murtagh is still pissed. Jamie and Claire agree that they have to Tell Him Everything. Jamie does, and Murtagh (after punching Jamie) basically says “okay!”Outlander 2x06 Outlander 2x06 Outlander 2x06

Jamie and Fergus head off to Le Havre to implement Plan Fake Smallpox.

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Claire is wearing “jumps,” or a sleeveless waistcoat. This is the kind of thing that would be worn at home, without company. Makes perfect sense for maternity wear. The center back is made of solid linen, which is typical for any 18th century garment that’s either worn in private, or worn with another garment over it.

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Jamie in a black (or dark navy?) suit.

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The front of Claire’s jumps is made of a block-printed linen — purple flowers on greenish-beige. It also has lacing vents.

Jamie comes home after spiking the sailors’ wine. He and Claire get shmoopy. Jamie is summoned to Madame Elise’s to meet with Bonnie Prince Charlie. He finds BPC and the Comte Saint Germain stressed out, because some of the sailors are sick. They’ve been hidden for now, but it’s bound to come out soon. Jamie is forced to agree to travel to Le Havre and (bring back?) the wine cargo WITH the Comte Saint Germain.

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Shiny!

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Jamie in his “leather jacket” (aka black silk satin suit).

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The Comte’s suit is made of a silver floral on blue damask.

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Check out those huuuuge cuffs. The Comte’s wig is in a bag in back.

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Chuckie’s buttons are interesting. Are they some kind of woven thread, like Dorset buttons?

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The Comte has glorious lace on his cravat and cuffs.

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Tobacco-colored satin, baby.

Jamie & Co. come up with a plan to further foil the Comte. Murtagh (disguised as a Frenchman) and some toughs will pose as highwaymen and attack Jamie/Comte en route back from the Le Havre. Murtagh is DISPLEASED as having to dress as a Frenchman.

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Claire’s maid Suzette has a cap that seems to be gathered at the crown.

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Claire in something blue.

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Murtagh HATES his shiny French clothes. I like the embroidery pattern on his waistcoat, which includes branches, florals, and birds.

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Murtagh complains about not being able to move in trousers, although I am confused because he wore trews earlier in this episode!

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The finished look. Hey, Murtagh, at least they didn’t put you in pink!

Claire heads to Louise’s for a night out with the girls.

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Claire is wearing a loose robe volante, the earliest version of what would become the robe à la française. The volante (also called battante) was popular from the 1710s-30s, and it makes perfect sense that it would still be worn for maternity.

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It reminds me of this robe volante (ca. 1730s) from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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The main difference between the volante and the française is how loose the gown is in front and back — there’s no fitting at the waist.

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And the back pleats are REALLY wide, from shoulder to shoulder.

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Louise is wearing a fitted-back robe à l’anglaise. She should be in a française, but see our earlier posts for why she’s not.

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More ladies.

Highwaymen attack Jamie and the Comte. The Comte refuses to stand down, so Jamie has to jump on him and push him off the carriage. Jamie “fights” with one of the highwaymen, who knocks him out with the butt of his pistol.Outlander 2x06 Outlander 2x06

Claire is worried about Jamie & Co., and all the women want to do is gossip about trivialities. She tries to get them to concern themselves with the plight of the poor, but they are too shallow. She leaves in a huff.

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Claire’s stomacher is covered in purple lace with a zig-zag pattern.

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This lady’s (right) jacket wasn’t my favorite. The round lace on the stomacher is clunky, and the pleated trim reads as pre-fab to me.

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Louise’s little cluster of flowers in her hair would come to be known as a “pompom” during the time of Madame de Pompadour — and is where we get our modern term “pompom.”

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Louise’s dress…

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…reminds me of this robe à la française (1740s) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Yes, my superpower is remember where we’ve seen that extant (surviving) 18th century gown before.

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The best part about Claire’s dress? It’s a REAL volante, with the hanging back pleats!! This is what the back of most of the dresses should look like.

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Line up of gossipy ladies!

Claire heads to hospital to do something useful. She’s worked herself to exhaustion, and Mother Hildegarde forces her to get some rest. Claire is spotting a bit, but Mother Hildegarde reminds her that that’s typical for this period of pregnancy.

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Claire just throws her apron on over her robe volante.

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Here the back pleats are held down by the ties of the apron.

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A little bit of Claire’s stocking and shoe.

Bonnie Prince Charlie, Jamie, and the Comte all lick their wounds. BPC is despondent. The Comte is suspicious and PISSED.Outlander 2x06 Outlander 2x06

Jamie heads home in the early morning. Fergus and he have a bonding moment about looking out for Claire.Outlander 2x06 Outlander 2x06

Jamie gets summoned to Madame Elise’s again. Chuckie has run up a huge gambling debt and is refusing to pay.

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Suzette’s apron has embroidery on it — or is that drawn thread work?

At Madame Elise’s, Jamie tells Fergus to stay by the door, but he doesn’t and wanders into a room… where a British army officer’s coat is hanging. The door suddenly shuts and Fergus is trapped…outlander-2x06-best-laid-schemes-1080p-mp4_002591606

Claire heads home…

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I liked the feathers on the front-left extra’s hat.

…to find that Jamie is meeting Jack Randall for a duel in the Bois de Boulonge. Despite being clearly exhausted, she piles into the carriage and races to try to stop the duel.

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Here’s where you can really see that Claire’s dress has a true volante/française back, not the piémontaise that we’ve seen in a few of the past episodes (and which is about 40 years later).

When Claire arrives, the boys are going at it, and she realizes she can’t do anything for fear of distracting Jamie and getting him killed. As the fight intensifies, Claire starts experiencing pain. outlander-2x06-best-laid-schemes-1080p-mp4_002908590 outlander-2x06-best-laid-schemes-1080p-mp4_002910106

Jamie stabs Randall in the junk, which is highly satisfying…

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Nice button fly!

…until soliders/gendarmes arrive, Claire doubles over in agony, Jamie can’t go to her, and she whispers to her servant to call for Mother Hildegarde.

We want to thank Outlander-Online.com for their awesome screenshots!

Outlander Season Two, Episode Five, Podcast Recap

No podcast this week, as Sarah just got off a plane and Kendra is about to get on one! We’ll discuss this week’s episode in next week’s podcast. In the meantime, you can listen to our podcast recaps of previous episodes on iTunes!

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

20 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    Episode was action packed. And packed with good fashions.

    I liked Claire’s robe volante.

    More later. Taking mother to doctor. Didn’t realise time.

    Reply
  2. AshleyOlivia

    Heavens, I think I squealed when I saw Claire’s deep blue française! I’m so happy we got to have one authentic française, even if the disaster with the cutters prevented us from having more.

    Jamie is back in his kilts, which I think is a shift from earlier in the season when he was mostly in breeches. I’ve missed Jamie in kilts, and I was hoping we would see more “dressed-up” kilts at some point in France. If I had to guess, this is a subtle nod to Jamie’s feeling more like himself, following his confession to Claire that now he has a lean-to to cover his innermost self instead of being totally exposed.

    Murtagh in fancy clothes was a highlight of the episode for me. That part where he flutters the lace at his wrists… priceless. I didn’t find the part where he complained about not being able to move in his breeches strange. Sure, he was wearing trews earlier, but those are probably fitted much more loosely and he’s probably been wearing them for a decade. Think about changing out of your comfy jeans into a pair of slim-fit cigarette pants or skinny jeans.

    I think I saw on the Starz Outlander page that Louise’s gown is hand-painted calico. I don’t think a mid-eighteenth century French woman would have been caught dead wearing calico (especially prior to Marie Antoinette) and it would have been extremely impolitic considering the Lyonnais silk industry. However, I only know this because I just finished a chapter of my dissertation on political connotations of certain fabrics in the mid-eighteenth century, so I’m pretty sure the number of viewers that would object are like .001. The dress is gorgeous (SO gorgeous!), perhaps my favorite of the season, and I appreciate the experimentation with different fabrics and effects.

    I’m bracing myself for next week. I think it’s going to pull on the heart strings (perhaps an unfortunate metaphor after the executioner’s description…)

    Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      Oh, I would love to read your paper! I do historical reenacting from the 16th to early 18th century and I would find that paper very, very useful.

      Reply
      • AshleyOlivia

        Thanks! I have to keep it under wraps at the moment, because once anything gets loose on the internet publishers don’t want it (why buy the cow…). But, I’m hoping to publish it in the future!

        Reply
  3. Susan Pola

    Back …

    What was my overall impression of the episode? Terry and her team hit it out of the park.

    I am glad also that we see a robe a la francaise with the back pleating. And I accept the reason for the lack of them previously. I’m waiting for the teal brocade francaise to show up later. I also have thumbs up to the expanding front of the blue dress due to ‘Baby Fraser’. What I’ve seen of actual garments, they did expand for the pregnancy.

    I was convulsed with laughter at Murtagh and his fancy dress. He looked good, but not altogether pleased. He probably missed his comfy Scots trews.

    Fergus not listening to Jamie will land him in trouble – more than what happened with BJR. Btw loved where Jamie stabbed him with his sword.

    Back to fashion. Why do I seem to drool over everything the Princesse de Rohan (Louise) wears? Maybe it’s because of the clothes are simply works of art and that they fit the character to a proverbial ‘T’. I agree with Ashley on the calico issue, if that was the actual fabric. But despite this quibble, I really loved the dress. But my favourite of hers is the solid blue she wears when she tells Claire that she’s pregnant with BPC’s baby.

    Any plans on doing a baby blog on the child’s birth? We could chime in on prezzies. Both modern & period.

    Any plans for playing marry shag slap (stab?) for the characters?

    That’s all for now.

    Reply
  4. Adina

    How much time was supposed to have passed between the previous episode and this one, because Claire went from king of pregnant to PREGNANT.

    Reply
    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      I have to say that these fashions were designed to hid a pregnancy easily until almost the 7th month. Terry Dresbach did say that Claire was wearing a pregnancy bump from the beginning of the season. It just took a while for it to become noticeable under the gowns.

      Reply
    • Adina

      “king of pregnant”
      I meant kind of pregnant. I can’t type at midnight.

      Reply
  5. terrydresbach

    Hullo!
    -There was supposed to be a time passage of many weeks, which is why Claire is so much larger.
    Oh that maddening pregnancy. 18th century pregnancy engulfed in 15 yards of fabric, for an audience used to Kimmie K’s spandex belly. Akkkk.

    – Calico. Yes, we used calico. I wanted to see if we could pull it off. A dress that would normally be made of $150 per yard fabric (12-15 yards), made out of fabric that costs $3 per yard. INCREDIBLE!!!!
    Part of my job as a costume designer is to make a hefty budget work. If I can do things like that, it allows me much more latitude with other costumes, or with our poor “boxy” extras.

    – I need to do a blog on extras. So many costumes so little time.

    Reply
    • AshleyOlivia

      The calico gown was divine! And, yes, I can well understand wanting to experiment with a more cost effective fabric for budgetary reasons. Personally, I’ve noticed that it’s becoming impossible to find clothes made of real fabrics like cotton or silk if you aren’t willing to pay $300 or $400 a garment. Even J. Crew and Banana Republic, where pieces are usually $80-$150, are increasingly relying on polyester for everything.

      I shudder to think at the cost of buying quality fabric for a production like Outlander.

      Reply
      • AshleyOlivia

        Edit: I shudder to think of the cost of buying quality fabric for a production the size of Outlander.

        Words are hard.

        Reply
  6. Susan Pola

    Hope Kendra gets time while she’s in Paris to see the clothes at Le Musee des Arts Décoratifs while in Paris. And Sarah gets chance to see stuff at V&A.

    Reply
  7. Ellira

    All the costumes were so fabulous in this episode. And the acting too! If Caitriona Balfe doesn’t get a lot of awards for this episode, she’s been robbed. I *felt* her pain.

    I’m curious if there are any extant or art sources for pregnancy clothing during the time? I’m intrigued by the lacing.

    Reply
  8. Susan Pola

    Nothing regarding episode, but Terry Dresbach on her blog shows what was involved in staging costumes from Outlander at Saks. Most excellent article

    Reply

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