Top 15 Iconic Costumes From The Sound of Music (1965)

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Yesterday, in 1965, The Sound of Music had its U.K. premiere (it premiered a few weeks earlier, on March 2, in the U.S.). In honor of the movie my family used to watch every Christmas, let’s look at the top costumes in The Sound of Music!

This is going to be a highly subjective list, and I welcome your debate in the comments!

Like I said, my family watched this yearly. I remember thinking it was fine and I liked the songs, until suddenly in my mid-teens I realized, “THIS IS THE MOST ROMANTIC MOVIE IN THE WORLD.” I don’t know if I’m a SoM nut, but I do know that I watched the Andrew Lloyd Webber British TV show to cast his new production (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?), and that upon going to London the following year, I went to see the show in the West End (Team Connie, FTW!), and I’ve also seen it on Broadway, and whenever I make it to Austria I WILL be doing the SoM tour. So, yeah. Slightly nutty? I don’t have Captain von Trapp sheets, if that makes you feel any better!

I should mention that the costumes were designed by Dorothy Jeakins, who also designed Samson and Delilah, Niagara, South Pacific, The Unforgiven, The Children’s Hour, The Music Man, True Grit, The Way We Were, Young Frankenstein, and a whole lot more.

So here, from 15 all the way up to Number 1, my list of Top Iconic Costumes in The Sound of Music — filmed in the 1960s, set in the 1930s:

 

15. Maria’s Novice Dress

I have to include it, because it’s the iconic first scene, cover-of-the-DVD-box dress. There’s nothing exciting about it, but it’s THE Sound of Music dress.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

14. Maria’s Wet T-Shirt Dress

When Maria and the kids accidentally flip their boat, they all come out dripping wet. The Captain is Pissed Off, but you could cut the sexual tension with a knife. Maria is covered in about 30 pounds of wool, but you know the Captain is just picturing her in a wet, white T-Shirt.

The Sound of Music (1965)

“I’ll hold your clothes if you’d like to further divest yourself, milady.”

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

The Captain is seriously hoping for some nip-slip action.

 

13. Leisl’s Kiss Dress

I remember being very confused by this dress when I was young. It seemed far too full and short to be a 1930s dress. And while I still think it has some 1960s overtones to it, I can now see something of what they were going for. It’s pretty, it’s girly, and it’s young.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Pssst: Hint to Leisl. Don’t fall in love with a Nazi. It never ends well.

 

12. All the Nuns’ Habits

Admit it. While you might want more bling, the costumer in you was/is strangely attracted to nuns’ habits, because it’s like The Lion in Winter!

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Think of all the chins we could hide inside of those wimples!

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

11. Maria’s Make-Out Dress

Maria comes back to the von Trapps’ house, the Baroness gets out of the way, and the Captain and Maria get it ON. Okay, they sing about having been good as children, and they finally kiss. At night. Outside. In silhouette. It’s pretty damn cheesy, and it’s pretty damn romantic.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

This is always the point in the movie when I wish Maria could quickly grow longer hair.

 

10. The Drapery Outfits

Is the man in your life a jerk who won’t pay child support or won’t kick down for playclothes for the kids? Do like Maria and Scarlett and get creative with the drapery!

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Anything with Gretl is good.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

9. Lederhosen & Dirndls FTW!

Got the man in your life on track with those child support payments? Get shopping at Ye Olde ClothesHaus, home of the lederhosen and the dirndls! You know they make the 14-year-old-at-RenFaire in you happy.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“And after we finish singing, we shall churn the butter!”

 

8. Maria’s Ländler Dress

It’s The Moment… when the Captain realizes that while he could have a hot, sophisticated, gorgeous, rich woman, he’d rather have the aspiring nun with the bad hair. It’s the most romantic thing EVER. They dance. They gaze into each others’ eyes. You could cut the sexual tension with a KNIFE. If the film were made today, they’d throw themselves onto the buffet table and get to sexytimes — but this is the 1960s, so, no sexytimes. Yet.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“I used my womanly wiles to steal your MAN? Oh I’m so ashamed!”

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

7. The Captain in White Tie

Captain von Trapp is a patriot. We all know this. He’s all about rocking the forest green lapels and the slightly traditional Austrian suit. But when he breaks out the white tie for the big party, he suddenly becomes Mr. Suave. Of COURSE all the local nuns are going to drop their bloomers! Wouldn’t you?

"I can't put my gloves on, because then you would all faint. Seriously."

“I can’t put my gloves on, because then you would all faint. Seriously.”

 

6. The Baroness’s Red Evening Number

Just about everything the Baroness wears KICKS SERIOUS BUTT. This one is hard to find shots of, but I think it’s a long slinky evening gown with a matching, beaded bolero. Rowr.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“I’m giving you up, but I’m wearing this number so you’ll never forget me. Admit it. I have better hair.”

 

5. Maria’s Mummy’s-All-Growed-Up-Now Suit

Maria marries the Captain, they go off on their honeymoon, hymens are broken, and suddenly Mummy Is All Growed Up. She can advise Leisel on how to deal with petty man problems, because she’s ALL WOMAN now. Suddenly she goes from ill-fitting sackcloth and sweet but demure dresses, to fitted, sophisticated suits. Hot-cha-cha!

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

So smart!

 

4. The Baroness’s Casual Ensemble

I just want to wear this while lounging poolside in Hawaii with a martini in hand. It’s SO effortlessly chic and sophisticated while being casual. And I don’t even DRINK  martinis! But I would, if I had this outfit.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

3. The Baroness’s Suit

Dude, The Baroness. Can anyone beat her? She is so fucking fabulous. I love this suit, not just because it’s sexxxxxay, but because that blouse coming down around the hips with the big bow says, “Yeah, this is my ass, and it is FINE.”

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“If you’re naughty, I shan’t twerk.”

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“Yeah yeah she’s wet, whatever. I’M OVER HERE MISTER.”

 

2. Maria’s Wedding Dress

While it reads more 1950s than 1930s to me, this dress is the EPITOME of sophistication. Beautiful fit. High neck and long sleeves. Simple with no trimming. Massive train. Massive veil. I wish I had remembered this dress when I went to make my own wedding gown, it would have been great inspiration.

To quote reader Todd, who said on Facebook, “…the fact it’s supposed to made for her by the Nuns is EVEN BETTER.” SERIOUSLY, AMIRITE?

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Perfect, unadorned silk.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Miles of train.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

“You’re right, I DO look fabulous!”

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

That neckline is PERFECT.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

I always loved that the nuns had to stay behind the grill. THE MYSTERIES OF THE WEDDING NIGHT REMAIN VERBOTEN.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

 

1. The Baroness’s Evening Gown

Sorry, kids. Nobody beats the Baroness when it comes to evening glamor. Fight me all you want in the comments, I’ll never budge on this.

She’s a tall, cool, column of ice with a dash of cream for spice. LOVE the gold lame. LOVE the shoulder poufy thing. And while her hair always rocks, it rocks EXTRA HARDCORE when paired with these colors. How the Captain can look at Maria, I have no idea.

The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes
The Sound of Music (1965) costumes

Alright, let’s do this. Did I miss any costumes you love? Wanna debate my rankings? Let me know in the comments! I can take it!

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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. Kendra

    Okay, yes. It is preposterous that the Captain wouldn’t marry the Baroness. I love that she drops the line about boarding schools as though it’s evil — boarding school FTW!

    Reply
  2. bandykullan

    As a kid I really didn’t like the Baroness, but now I just feel sad for her. She doesn’t get the hot man with a mansion, because she loses out to an almost nun. Still I don’t think the Baroness would have been able to emigrate and run a hotel in the US, so maybe it was for the best.

    When it comes to the film itself I love it, but I haven’t been able to stand the musical on stage I think a reason is that the musical versions I’ve seen have been so focused on just Maria and the children, and after all I watch the film because of Maria and the Captain and the tension between them.

    Reply
  3. lagatta à montréal

    How about the Nazis? I don’t remember them in the film (I was a little girl when I saw it) but they were known for both utter evil and very good tailoring.

    Reply
  4. Donna

    Maria’s dress is very nice, but I never really notice it. The reason to not notice it is the best outfit and best scenery in the whole film which you skipped altogether. Christopher Plummer in his naval officer’s uniform. Now there’s serious man candy for this Monday :-)

    Reply
  5. Shari Polikoff

    What about Liesl’s beautiful bridesmaid dress? And so interesting that it’s neither full-length nor waltz-length, with no bouquet, just her gloved hands held in prayer position.

    Reply
  6. Liesl

    Just stumbled onto this recap, and adore it! Having spent my entire life being chased around by this flick, I have to admit that I love it anyway. And it does my heart good to know that the famous Liesl gets her name misspelled all the time, too…

    Reply
  7. DDahl

    I’m attending a black-tie wedding on Saturday, and now I’m sad I didn’t think to knock off the Baroness’s gold gown. /sigh/ Hindsight and all that.

    Reply
  8. Karaliesl

    So I think the Baroness is smart and cool and sophisticated, and in watching this as an adult, I do definitely have great sympathy for her. And yes, Maria’s haircut is terrible. However:

    The Baroness and the Captain have great chemistry but it feels more like platonic chemistry. Doesn’t read romantic or sexual to me. Whereas Captain and Maria have the right chemistry. It’s just different. So I don’t think the wrong woman wins; the right one does. It’s just Maria made the Captain aware that the Baroness wasn’t quite right for him romantically, which I think he (and she) would have discovered at some stage anyway, even if they had gotten married in the end…

    But the Baroness’ gold dress is just AMAZING and I would like one please!

    Reply
  9. Lori

    I’m costuming SoM for a high school and was looking for a picture of the Captain in his military uniform. This pay had me laughing and snoring so hard that my daughter wondered if I required an intervention. Thanks for the belly laugh! And I despise Maria’s hair!

    Reply
  10. Lin

    Are there women in this film? All I ever see is Captain Von Trapp. #christoherplummerisHOT

    Reply
  11. Lori

    Post and snorting that would be. I’ve forwarded the link to others for the mental health value.

    Reply

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