Frock Flick Free-for-All at the End of Year


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!

Well, 2019 is in the rear-view. We’re wrapping things up around here and starting to look forward to another year of frocks and snark.

Poldark - Christmas will come


How are you ending the year?


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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.

34 Responses

  1. Kate D

    I really enjoyed the new Vanity Fair. The costumes really helped show the personalities of the characters and tell the story. I started seeing what I would call “1830s hair” fairly early in the show, like at the ball before the battle of Waterloo. Was this common, you think, or a choice of the show?

  2. Shashwat

    You ladies are doing a really good job,but it would not hurt if you could come up with some purely educational articles(ofcourse pertaining to historical fashion)once in a while,with the movies that did get a particular concept right.It is easy to spot trashy costumes from another continent,but extremely difficult to find the right one when there is ambiguity in the construction of an article of clothing.This would be particularly helpful in analysing costumes in movies set before 18th century,when paintings had a distorted perspective and often allegorical.

    • Kendra

      Thanks for the suggestion! Part of the problem is that we tend to either pick movies/TV that’s current, or just what we’re randomly in the mood to watch. So it’s harder to just think about writing something more educational. That being said, I do think it’s important to highlight those that get things right! So, we’ll keep it in mind :)

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Another part of the issue is that our mission & raison d’etre is to point out inaccuracies in historical costume on film/TV. When we review things that are accurate, it’s easy to just write “yup, that looks good!” & move on. We don’t go into tons of detail explaining why it’s good, whereas our goal actually is to explain why things are wrong. Because if we just said “ew, that’s wrong!” without explanation, we’d just be jerks, lol.

      We have a few tags that highlight the flicks we admire, such as (not many there, eep!)

      And anything where we go into historical research (usually why things on-screen are wrong, but maybe a few why they’re not), gets the ‘actual research’ tag:

    • Nzie

      I have found some of the thematic articles, like the series on hair, in this line and very helpful.

      I also have a book called How to Read a Dress on my wishlist—I haven’t read it (maybe others here can speak to its accuracy/usefulness/interestingness). Maybe you would also find it interesting, Shashwat?

  3. Kate D

    Right now I’m watching the HBO John Adams miniseries. I’m really enjoying seeing Abigail’s at home clothes and apron and the clothes she wears out, like to the trial after the Boston Massacre.

    • Kendra

      We’ve got a Patreon request for a review of this, so it’s on my to-do list… I’ve heard good things, and it’s helpful to hear that again!

    • Amanda

      In watched this for the first time just a few months ago and I’m LIVING for sassy Thomas Jefferson. And also Abigail”s jumps.
      It’s something I could rewatch frequently and I’d love some reviews

  4. Frannie Germeshausen

    I’d love a revisit of The Durrells on Corfu. I know Trystan didn’t like the tone of the first few episodes, which I get. It was pretty grim at first. However, as the relationships grew, the family grew closer and tighter together, and the series became a delight. With some really sweet 1930s clothes and yummy hats.

    • Kendra

      I did enjoy the 1-ish episode I watched, but then got distracted. I’ll think about revisiting it! I’m always down for chic 1930s hats :)

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Admittedly, I watched a few of the very last episodes & I liked that better than the very first eps. And all thru the costumes were nice. But ’30s activewear doesn’t float my boat, so K should take a look :)

  5. Boxermom

    Anyone else looking forward to the new Miss Fisher movie? Don’t know when or where it’s coming out in the U.S. I started watching the show on PBS recently, and enjoy it very much (especially the costumes)!

  6. Brandy Loutherback

    Is anyone annoyed that there’s ANOTHER Emma movie! I would kill to see a not shitty Mansfield Park. Northanger Abbey, or Persuasion movies or a theatrical version of Tenant of Wildfell Hall or Agnes Grey!

    • Trystan L. Bass

      I’m torn — yes, Emma is overdone & there are PLENTY of other things that could be adapted for the first or second time. But the trailer looked sassy & not twee, so I’m intrigued. Argh…

    • Amanda

      Um excuse me, this is entirely unnecessary. The 2009 version gave me everything I could want from an emma adaptation. next please .

      • Kersten

        And the 1997 version! Love Kate Beckinsale. But we don’t need ANY new adaptations of Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, or even Northanger Abbey (after the Felicity Jones/J.J. Field one which was SO cute), at least not anytime soon, because they all have high-quality, even “definitive” versions. Twenty years is not that old when it comes to film!!! Gah!!!

        I absolutely adore Jane Austen and most of the adaptations are fine to excellent, but why aren’t there any quality (for example) Georgette Heyer adaptations? Or some more Elizabeth Gaskell. Or get really Gothic with Anne Radcliffe? There is so much more out there when we talk about female historical fiction and female historical authors! I second you on The Tenant of Wildfell Hall because like Northanger Abbey, although there is an excellent TV version, there are no theatrical adaptations of note. And there’s Agnes Grey, Villette. It drives me nuts that producers are so unwilling to back adaptations of lesser-known, but still very popular, books. See also: WHY ARE WE GETTING ANOTHER DEATH ON THE NILE WHEN AGATHA CHRISTIE WROTE EIGHTY MILLION OTHER BOOKS. AAAAUUUGHH.

        • Kersten

          Not to mention one Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote many other beloved books besides one Anne of Green Gables, and said other books are more awesome because Emily doesn’t give up her dreams to marry freaking Gilbert Blythe.

        • Katie O.

          I love Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, but I would love love love a Georgette Heyer adaptation! I feel like The Grand Sophy would be so fun! (Although they might have to do something with the couple being first cousins, I don’t think that would go over well now lol.)

          At least if a studio decided to do a new Jane Austen it would be nice if it was Persuasion, which I’ve never really liked any of the movies.

        • Lottie

          I agree so, so much! I would love a Georgette Heyer adaptation, but isn’t there some trickiness with her not wanting adaptations (and writing as much in her will, or something similar) after seeing a bad adaptation during her lifetime?

  7. spanielpatter14

    Last weekend, I binge-watched seasons 1-2 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. I was happily surprised that I enjoyed it more than I’d thought I would – good performances, some wonderful scenes and an engaging heroine. But part of the appeal is seeing the fashions that were worn in the earliest years of my life. The silky or nylon nightgown and robe that Midge wears once or twice is very similar to those that my late mother favored – never my style, but hauntingly familiar. I’m watching the third season right now, it just appeared on Amazon Prime…

  8. Nzie

    Would love to chat The Current War with anyone else who’s seen it! Not tons of ladies but loved what I saw generally. I was trying to figure out if it was arguably a transitional bustle or just a large bum pad or a true bustle at the beginning set around 1880, but overall they did have great 2nd bustle era and clear change over time to when it ends in the early 1890s. (But will happily bow to superior knowledge on this.)

  9. Saraquill

    Finally saw Gentleman Jack. Now my brain is itching harder to create 1830s clothes.

    But first, I must work on some 1780s pieces. Including period bat print fabric that reminds me of Tristan.

    • Trystan L. Bass


      I do have a cotton from Colonial Williamsburg that’s essentially purpley-mauve bats on ivory in a very tight repeat. You have to look up close to see that it’s bats, from a distance it just looks like a stripe. I’ve been hoarding it :)

  10. Katie O.

    Has anyone seen Safiya Nygaard’s latest youtube video about trying wedding dresses from the past 130 years? I loved it! I like that she wore actually antique dresses (except one) and did a lot of research so she was basing it off facts and not period stereotypes.

  11. Lexy

    Not historical per se but I watched “A Knight Before Christmas” on Netflix and the parts in the 1300s are not badly done… Almost all the women have their hair up! No hairpin shortage! Just one or two with hair down ( plus the Witch ( TM) but it helps to set her apart, and I felt a pagan vibe about her so it works I think). I would like your opinion on the clothes too!
    ( also that scene: the knight uses a word that is today considered offensive; the main girl tells him so… And he apologize and stops using it. Just saying for the modern men in the back XD )

    • Lottie

      I was thinking the same thing! I am definitely not an expert, but my general impression was that it was not half bad – and could have been waaay worse, haha.

      Yes! I got major Thor vibes (except with less cup smashing) from that scene, too.

  12. Roxana

    All I want for Christmas is a movie about Margaret Beaufort that reveals her true awesomeness. A woman with everything against her who achieved not only agency but power and was beloved by the people around her for her kindness and charity. Jasper Tudor was a lifelong friends and Ally. Her second husband and his family were nuts about her and she managed to win over suspicious Yorkists. Her son loved and admired her, recognizing her steady devotion to his interests in the face of all obstacles and her confessor, St. John Fisher thought she was wonderful, everything a noblewoman should be.