Frock Flick Fall Free-for-All


You asked for it, so here’s an occasional open thread to bitch about anything tangentially related to history, costume, movies, or TV shows! Or whatever else is on your mind right now. Note that URLs are automatically held for moderation, but most anything else goes as long as you’re not bitchier than we are!


A few old standards are coming back to TV this fall, like the final season of Poldark, and the Downton Abbey movie hits the big screen. What are you looking forward too?


Downton Abbey - the suspense is killing me


Bring it!


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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

38 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Downton Abbey movie.

    But I really want to prohibit seeing are 1) women wearing the down if they’re married and it is inappropriate for them to do in the period. 2)Movues where the costumes have no basis in history when it is set – Here’s looking at you Mary Stuart and new Emily Dickinson series 3)actors who do not look right for whom they’re playing – Johnathan Rhys Meyers as HVIII 4)no Bobby pins and not last but what I can think about at present 5)remakes of series/movies like Little Women, etc.

    • Cara

      To point #3 in your comment, it irritates me beyond explanation not only that Jonathan Rhys Myers looks nothing like HVIII but that in the first two episodes of the series, the Duke of Buckingham is played by Steven Waddington who looks exactly as he would have. I feel personally mocked by that casting choice.

  2. Saraquill

    The frock flick I was most looking forward to was slated to appear last year, but still hasn’t come, “Elisabeth” the musical. Sigh.

  3. Jill

    I can never howl enough about how awful the costumes were in Reign. It actually made me want to watch the show, just so I could scoff at it and annoy my friends, who would always say, “Can’t you just enjoy it?” NO, peeps. The show was almost as bad as the costumes.

  4. Trystan L. Bass

    Need to post a mea culpa – we’ve been trying to get Patreon posts together but we keep forgetting that fall is a super-busy time at our dayjobs :( So it’s hard to write up one big meaty post vs. several smaller ones. Hoping to get back on it next month!

  5. Nzie

    Lots to look forward to! Interested in Judy, but may wait for streaming on that one. I am curious about JoJo Rabbit, which is apparently a comedy set in Nazi Germany directed by Taika Waititi (who, hilariously, seems to have cast himself as Hitler), although I’m not sure based on the trailer that historical accuracy in clothing was that important compared to the comedic themes. I’m also very interested in A Hidden Life (rural WWII-era Austria), focusing on conscientious objector (and martyr) Franz Jaggerstatter. I am open to, but not 100% sold on, Midway and 1917—teenaged me might be surprised but I’ve moved on from war movies as an automatic watch.

  6. Charity

    Still trying to find friends go see Downton Abbey with me. May have to go alone. BOO.

    Fantasy-Victorian is so fabulous when done right, and I ain’t finding “Carnival Row” on Amazon done right. It feels lazy, slow, ponderous, and unmotivated. Also, at the risk of angering his fans, Orlando Bloom can’t carry a lead role in a series. He’s dull.

    • Mizdema

      Agree.But I liked the part between Imogen Spurnrose and Agreus the Puck, plus she has got beautiful dresses.

  7. Nzie

    New trailer for Catherine the Great just dropped!

    But WHY do they have to flip the R and N at the end? I know it “looks Russian” but… those letters sound like ya and ee —so anyone who knows any Russian is just annoyed. (end little rant)

        • MoHub

          You’re most welcome. They do similar stuff trying to Hebraicize the Roman Alphabet, which is equally annoying. My dad worked in 6 languages, and I still have all his dictionaries and textbooks.

          • Nzie

            I’m sure! I bet everyone who speaks a language imitated in the typeface of another get that. I just only know Russian so that’s the one that bugs me.

  8. Brandy Loutherback

    I’m convinced they should’ve treated this movie like an official Finale, and set this movie in the Summer/Fall of 1929, or during the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and have Robert and Violet die at the end, treating this as a goodbye to their characters, and paving the way for Cora to become the fabulous 30’s Dowager we all know she will be! I would kill to see Mary and Edith in slinky Vionnet gowns!

    • Andrew Schroeder

      Yeah but then the characters would have to face actual complications and the prospect of no longer being idle rich, and Julian Fellowes would never allow that.

      • Kendra

        I love how DA is completely ignoring the fact that the whole Big House thing was dying in this period, with servants laid off left & right, houses sold off/close up, etc. “Nope! We’re an oasis of 19th century!”

        • Saraquill

          I remember a post WWI plot line where the Crawleys were short on money and were thinking of leaving Downton. Que the deus ex machina that allowed them to stay and justify their 19th century oasis

        • MoHub

          There’s a great P.G. Wodehouse story—”The Fiery Wooing of Mordred”—in which an accidentally arson-prone young man is invited to a huge country home with the hope that he will burn it down so the family can collect the insurance and move to a nice flat in the city.

  9. Brandy Loutherback

    I’m so disappointed that they skipped the General Strike of 1926, I’d love for there to be a Gosford Park crossover!

  10. Kersten

    Anyone else ever-so-slightly worried about Sanditon? There is a shocking lack of hairpins (which looks so silly as it’s on ONE character. Gah!) and I’m getting major Mary Sue-ish vibes about the heroine.

    I just worry about Austen adaptations in the age of P&P&Pigs.

    • Katy

      I’m two episodes in, and there’s been a lot of muttered ‘Can’t wait to great what Frock Flicks had to say about this’.

      • Aleko

        Same here. Many of the costumes just don’t fit – either they were hired and worn without adjusting, or the costumiers honestly didn’t know how to cut Regency. The heroine wears her hair down, and therefore must by definition be “still in the schoolroom” and thus not old enough to be invited to a ball (the only occasion so far that she has put it up). None of the men goes riding, but they all wear riding boots (including the builder’s foreman, FFS!) and nobody is in pantaloons, although it’s 1817 and a seaside resort. The Bad Girl receives a morning visitor with her hair down and wearing some kind of wrapper or negligee, while her brother is in shirtsleeves. Lady Denham at one point wears a straight-up 1770s formal sack gown with ribbon-bow stomacher.

        The dialogue is just as bad. ‘Not a chance, Lord Babington!’ says the Bad Girl. Our heroine calls an unkind remark ‘hurtful’ which in the 18th and 19th centuries meant ‘damaging, noxious, harmful’. Mr Parker’s wide not only addresses him as ‘Tom’ – in public! – but she also refers to him that way to people who aren’t close relations.

        And other facts of Regency life are just wrong. When a pineapple is delivered to Lady Denham, her poor relation has no idea what it is. Now, OK, pineapples were so expensive that she might well never have seen a real one; but for more than 100 years they had been such a desirable exotic luxury that you could buy jelly- and cake-moulds shaped like pineapples; life-size porcelain pineapples for table centrepieces; a stone pineapple topped every fashionable gatepost; pineapples were woven into Spitalfields damasks, embroidered on shoes – there were even pineapple-shaped reticules! She might say ‘Goodness! Is it real?’ but she couldn’t possibly not recognise the shape.

        Can we have the show dissected here as soon as it has all aired, please?

        • Karin

          Yes to all… this has all had me wanting to throw things at the TV! But I’ll keep watching just so I know how it ends. But it’s a wreck!

  11. IASHM

    Have never seen a single episode of Downton Abbey, and I’m not particularly tempted by the movie, either.

    I’ve watched about 2/3 of Little Women (2017) and while the costumes might be good, I just can’t get into it. It has none of the magic of the book or the 1994 version, and I don’t care about any of the characters here.

    The next period related things on my watchlist are both WWII-related. Jojo Rabbit and Midway (which I don’t expect a whole lot of, because Roland Emmerich, but I’m still gonna watch it).

  12. Kaite Fink

    I was looking forward to seeing the movie The Aeronaut coming out later this year. But I’m torn, as I found out that this supposed ‘based on a true story’ piece has decided that one of the characters needs to be female and replaces a very main character to probably create a love interest/get the ladies’ views. It’ll probably be a good film, but I would love to see it be a good film without changing real life people into some false mishmash. sighs

    • Nzie

      Same. The best option is to tell more stories, and get more diversity that way. People take movies way too seriously as history, so I think there’s a stronger obligation there to get it right. Pretending a man was a woman a) gives cover to women’s lack of opportunities and b) erases the actual person who was there. I would rather they find ways to show the lack of opportunity honestly, and tell real stories that are there but get ignored because they’re women/people of color/etc.

      (This is also why I have very mixed feelings on Greatest Showman and haven’t watched it—sure the movie trumpets acceptance, but that was not the reality for the actual humans in circuses; I don’t want to sit there feeling good about a fantasy world when the real world was really awful to those people.)

  13. Amanda

    I’m watching Game of Thrones all the way through forv the first time. Now GoT is not Historical. But it’s inspired by history and the costumes are mostly gorgeous. But it HAS gotten me thinking (mostly when I got a good look at Margery’s cannoli dress – has Game of Thrones had a negative impact on the costumes of shows set in ACTUAL historical settings? Is it Game of Thrones fault for the widespread popularisation of so many of the bad trends we’ve seen since?

    Seems like every Medieval / Renaissance set show is just trying to emulate Game of Thrones’ costumes. I’ve noticed so many cold shoulders and structured necklines it’s really starting to concern me.

    • Bel

      That’s an interesting thought. Looking at the costumes from BBC Robin Hood, though, I think GoT is not wholly to blame! I seem to remember some weird choices there. One of Marian’s cold-shoulder dresses actually looks like a bad GoT cosplay somehow, even though Robin Hood came first!

      • Amanda

        Well I by no means think that Game of Thrones is the originator of the problem. The cold shoulder has been a problem of some long standing. That said the structured necklines are something I doubt recall seeing prior to margaery.

  14. MoHub

    Will you be checking out The King? There’s some very sketchy wearing of hennins with lose hair flowing out from underneath.

    • Aleko

      Where’s Hal’s scar? He got an arrow wound on the right side of his face at the Battle of Shrewsbury serious enough to write a chapter in battlefield surgery and leave a scar so disfiguring that his portrait was only ever painted in profile from the left side!

      • MoHub

        That, too. The Laughing Cavalier (fabulous YouTube critiques, and a big fan of Frock Flicks) points that out in his analysis of the trailer.

  15. Amari Williams

    I’m highly bitter we didnt get a roaring 20s or a harlem renaissance themed series this year or another Regency to romantic era drama set in New Orleans or the West indies, lots of interesting historical events there and plethora of chances to show the varying mixing and costume designs of the eras

    Like how many rehashes of dramas we’ve seen a thousand times before (looking at you shitty tudor books) when there’s so much more RIGHT THERE

  16. ScreenFashions

    Have ya’ll seen A Discovery of Witches? There’s going to be Renaissance era clothing in the second season.