We’re celebrating our birthday (the Frock Flicks blog is one year old this week!) with a look back at some of our most popular posts. Like us, you’re clearly big fans of movies and TV series set in the 16th century. Oh yes, we especially love the Elizabethan and Tudor periods on screen. But alas, even productions with the best intentions get some things wrong. Usually the same things.
Two of our most popular blog posts are all about what movies and TV fail at when it comes to this historical era — first, during Snark Week, we counted down the 9 Things Movies Get Wrong in 16th Century Costume and later, yet just as popular was our Top 5 Costume Inaccuracies in Wolf Hall, about the BBC’s 2015 miniseries. The first piece was a general incitement of all the inaccuracies, shortcuts, cliches, and falsehoods portrayed on screen, while the second one showed how even a TV show that tried to be super-duper historically accurate in so many ways still trotted out a few of those same old errors seen in more schlocky productions.
So let’s review some of the top offenders in 16th-century costume on film and TV…
1. French Hoods
Why does it have to be so hard? We have hundreds of portraits, so we should know how they look and how they were worn by all the upper-class French and English ladies. A French hood should not stick straight up from the head, and the wearer’s hair should be covered by the “hood” part of the headgear. And it’s not just a headband.
Men need them in the 16th century, especially in England. They don’t have to be gigantic, but they should be somewhere in there, especially earlier in the century. A Tudor or Elizabethan man without a codpiece is, uh, lacking, to say the least.
3. Men’s Shoes
If a man is riding a horse or doing outdoorsy things, sure he would be wearing boots. But otherwise, if he’s an upper-class gentleman, it’s far more likely that he’s going to be wearing shoes, not boots.
This is, of course, the tip of the proverbial iceberg! Check out the original posts and the comments for all the dirt.
What irks you about 16th-century costumes in historical movies and TV series?
What irks me most? The fact that so many shows seem to fail to recognise the changes in fashion over 100 years. “The Tudors” was the worst, with high Elizabethan fashions where there should have been the wide-shouldered, narrow-waisted, broad-skirted look Henry VIII.
What drives me bonkers about any movie is people wearing their hair long and loose and it always looks perfect. I run, dance, rockclimb, do yoga, and weightlift, and wearing my hair loose for that is awful. I can’t imagine doing that in combat with someone trying to kill me.
Any woman who’s been trained to fight knows better than to give her opponent a handle. And she also knows how to cope if she is grabbed by the hair.
I have actual high hopes for the Spanish TV show “Carlos Rey Emperador” based on what I have seen of the costumes, both in the instagrams of the actors and the promos that have been released. In one of the first pictures that were ever released, the actor who plays Charles I was wearing shoes instead of boots (I cried of joy), the actor who plays Francis I of France actually posted a photo of his codpiece in Instagram (and I giggled like a school girl), and the hoods I have seen the actresses that play Catherine of Aragon and Mary I are proper hoods each one in the styles of their decades. And some costumes are exant replicas of portraits. (Louise of Savoy and Isabella of Portugal, for example.)
I still reserve complete judgement until the show is released, but it might end up being one of the most accurate shows costume wise for this era.
Found the picture of the codpiece! (Might be nsfw depending on the person, but he is fully clothed):
WOOT! Shoes instead of boots!
I’ve started watching it on the rtve website and really love it so far, even though I couldn’t understand much. There’s a blogger who posts up reviews of each episode so I just read the review after watching haha
Yes the costumes are very accurate and beautiful.