We Are Entertained Weekly by Outlander … Magazine Covers


Entertainment Weekly just dropped another Outlander-themed issue. Cue the internet freakout!

Entertainment Weekly Outlander Season 3

Like the last post I wrote concerning a previous Outlander cover, my problem with all of this has nothing to do with the costumes. Claire’s dress is fine (and it looks like she has the same problem I do when it comes to getting the robings to lie flat when pinned over the stomacher). I’m not even bothered by Claire’s weird, lopsided hairdo (though, I do wonder why the stylist thought it was a good idea). I even kind of like Jamie’s knee-high boots and satin breeches. He’s got fantastic legs, after all.

No, what offends me on a fundamental level is the horrendous post-processing done on this photograph. My digital illustration professor would have laughed me out of class if I’d tried to submit something like this as an assignment (and believe me, I submitted some truly questionable stuff that got me justifiably trounced during critique. I still have flash backs of a particularly brutal crit on an assignment involving the typeface Frutiger and a misguided use of cyan, almost 12 years later).

My graphic design professor, every assignment.

First, let’s address the fact that it looks like both Jamie and Claire are floating on nothing. If you get past the over-saturated tone to give your eyes a chance to figure out how to focus on any one thing in particular, you might actually notice that there’s some kind of bench leg barely noticeable under Jamie. You’re supposed to infer that both of them are sitting on it. Except, because of the awful saturation, the bench leg virtually matches with Claire’s dress, rendering it nearly invisible.

Seriously. This is some Trafalgar-Square-living-statue shit.

Next, there’s the over-saturation, which I can only imagine is some misguided attempt to boost the green of the grass and orange of Claire’s dress to make both “pop.” In fact, this is a great example of what not to do when you’re trying to tweak the saturation in a photo. While, yes, orange and green are a nice combo, the intensity of the hues here are too similar. The end result is that the eye has a hard time figuring out which of the two colors to focus on, creating a visual “vibration” that isn’t exactly pleasant.


Then we have the fact that, thanks to the graphic designer going crazy with the saturation, any shadows in the folds of Claire’s gown that might indicate her seated position on the (nearly) invisible bench are no longer discernible, plus the overall flattening effect of the vibrancy, it makes Claire look like she’s standing next to the seated Jamie, and she’s about 4-feet tall. Seriously. Just look at the image and tell me that it doesn’t look utterly ridiculous. (Fun fact: I am, in fact, very short myself and I try REALLY HARD to avoid this effect in every photo taken of me standing next to anyone of average, or taller, stature. I might be a little sensitive about this one.)

Entertainment Weekly Outlander Season 3

This gets more ridiculous the longer I look at it.

Even his hand on what I presume is supposed to be her knee doesn’t help the situation. In fact, it looks like he’s just extending his hand in front of her dress. Or, as Kendra said when she posted this photo on Facebook, it looks distressingly like he’s indicating “DIS MY BEAVER.”

Editor’s Note: There are actually two other versions of this EW cover, one featuring Jamie solo, one with Claire. To wit…

Entertainment Weekly Outlander Season 3 Claire

All the better for us to make another point…

Kendra here. I’m taking over Sarah’s entertaining post to FREAK THE FUCK OUT ABOUT CLAIRE’S HAIR.

Entertainment Weekly Outlander Season 3 Claire

Now, I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume a non-show-attached stylist did this hairstyle.


*Credit to friend and reader Julia Petrov for this joke. It was too good not to steal.

What the hell

This is what English women’s hair looked like in 1766:

Joseph Wright of Derby: Portrait of Mrs. Robert Gwilym, 1766

Joseph Wright of Derby: Portrait of Mrs. Robert Gwilym, 1766

And don’t go telling me this is some 1940s reference. CLAIRE JUST CAME FROM THE 1960S.

1940s vs 1960s hair

Okay, I will now go shake my fist in impotent rage some more.


This girl gets me.



Are you more outraged by the bad magazine design or do you have issues with the hair or something else?


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

30 Responses

  1. Jenno

    OMG now that I see it I can’t un-see it! She is four feet tall and they are floating. Her solo cover is worse…what the hell is this 18th century dame doing leaning on a stepladder in the jungle? Why is the stepladder in the jungle in the first place? Her cartoon foot is floating on the brick beneath her. Oh, the humanity.

    • Sarah Lorraine

      If I’m feeling generous, I could say I see where the photographer was going with the step ladder. It’s very Vogue-1950s-fashion-spread. And I can’t find the damn photo I’m thinking of, but it’s the one with all the classy models wearing giant ball gowns and one is on a ladder… Because I guess ladders = classy?

      Edit: This isn’t the one I was thinking of, but it’s similar in concept: http://yehyehgrace.tumblr.com/post/1023749714/dior-c1950s

      Edit 2: OMG there are SO MANY fashion spreads featuring ladders!

      • Susan Pola Staples

        I think I remember the one you’re writing about. I believe that it’s in the gorgeous Charles James retrospective book that the Met did.

      • Trystan L. Bass

        Sure, it’s a fashion spread thing, but it’s not an 18th-century gown thing. The cover with the two of them at least pretends to be in a ye olde-timey garden with a period bench. The one of her solo is just fucking ridiculous.

  2. Nifty

    I didn’t like the cover either, but I didn’t really analyze why. Jamie’s weird hand placement definitely caught my attention, and your “DIS MY BEAVER!!” comment had me grinning hugely. I think what bugs me about the cover is that there’s no depth to it. They look like a couple of overly dramatic high school drama students posing in front of a painted background. “Now…Claire, give me haughtily serene; Jamie, drop the chin and spread your legs and give me sultry.”

  3. Patty Marie

    It must have been a lot of work to make such an attractive woman look so…blah. Love the dress though. It’s her face that has had every sign of life erased.

  4. picasso Manu

    Jamie needs to stop channeling is inner Fabio, possibly find a comb somewhere… And also a friggin’ CRAVAT, dangit all!
    Will not adress the ridiculous hairdo (although, Maggie Tatcher cosplay? Good one! Will store for future use) , But… Court dress?
    Puleaaazez tell me they’re not going back to France! begs on knees

    No, really… the last time was very bad for my blood pressure.

  5. robintmp

    Nothing like posing for ridiculous magazine covers that are then Photoshopped to death to erase all the intelligence and sex appeal from two perfectly attractive and intelligent people, eh? Seriously, they seem to be smart, friendly, and funny enough IRL, and have plenty of onscreen chemistry, but you’d never know it here, more’s the pity.

    • Amanda

      Now I can’t unsee! She has so much facial expression on the show and they airbrushed her face so much on the cover that her facial lines and shadows are nonexistent. It makes her look like a vapid tart instead of the strong intelligent woman she is.

      Can we put the cover through the stones so it can go back in the past for a re-do?

    • Susan Pola Staples

      And Cait is truly beautiful. Wonder if they Photoshopped all the beauty out when the did the life out. Can you botox a pic? Bc that’s what I think they did.

      Dress and Jamie’s clothes are nice and wish they’d use the cravat/stock.

  6. Amanda

    Omg yes, thank you so much for this. I hate the covers so much for all the reasons you mentioned and one you didn’t…the terrible pun front and center. I have literally been told that I’d make a good dad someday because of my jokes (I’m a woman…), and even I wouldn’t touch this one. You can’t see me right now, but I’m rolling my ayes (sorry, I had to!)

  7. Barb Donaghey

    The poses are what bothered me. I figured, since Cait used to model, she just naturally falls into standard poses. And the “inner Fabio” comment is spot on perfect.

  8. Amanda

    Entertainment Weekly posted a behind the scenes video on instagram and sadly, they look completely devoid of emotion in it as well. It’s so strange because they don’t look so blank and emotionless in other photos. Wonder if they were directed to look that way.

    Here’s the link to the video: https://instagram.com/p/BbU7eZolAT9/

  9. Andrew Schroeder

    The hairstyle is terrible, the over-saturation looks like the gifs I made in middle school, and I find it hard to believe these are the absolute best shots they got considering Caitriona Balfe was an actual supermodel, so she must have given them something better to work with.

  10. Karen K.

    Those covers are all kinds of terrible. Good thing there’s already a huge fan base, because I don’t think EW is going to attract new viewers.

    And I AM THERE FOR THE ANGRY LITTLE GIRL GIF. She is my spirit animal. (Also is that Aretha Franklin? I love the little half-smile on her face).

  11. Saraquill

    Such shin groping. Or attempting to shin grope. It’s hard to tell in the top photo.

  12. Susan Pola Staples

    Just a thought, Jamie looks like he was sitting sideways on a Harley which was airbrushed out with Claire on the back seat which was airbrushed out, too. Then a very small bench was airbrushed in. Snicker

  13. Deb

    Jaime’s hand on the front of the dress looks like a mannequin hand — not even real. Kinda creepy, in fact.
    And for heaven’s sake, what did they do to Jamie’s glorious legs? Now he looks like one of the silly hipsters with their skinny pants. His legs are much more well-muscled than that! As they would have to be, to keep a Scotsman upright enough long enough to swing a broadsword.