TBT: Annie (1982)


I have previously confessed my obsession with Annie, the 1982 film adaptation of the stage musical based on the 1930s comic strip. I was the prime age of 8 when the movie came out, and let me tell ya, I was ALL ANNIE, ALL THE TIME. See my previous post for embarrassing photos.

So today, let’s throw back to this classic of my childhood! In case you’ve been living under a rock, Annie tells the story of a plucky young orphan living in an orphanage during the Great Depression (the story is set in 1933). As a publicity stunt, she spends a week with grumpy millionaire Daddy Warbucks (Albert Finney), who falls in love with her — and his assistant Grace Farrell (Ann Reinking). He plans to adopt her, but alcoholic orphanage mistress Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) cooks up a scheme with her brother Rooster (Tim Curry) and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (Bernadette Peters) to impersonate her long-lost parents in order to run off with reward money. Cue a bunch of fabulous musical numbers!

The costumes for Annie were designed by Theoni V. Aldredge, famous for the 1974 The Great Gatsby. They’re a theatrical take on early 1930s wear — let’s look in-depth at the main characters:

1982 Annie

But first, The Lovely Boylan Sisters!

1982 Annie

And a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.

The Orphans Costumes in Annie

The orphans are all in multiple-piece ensembles in the same completely washed-out beige colors, implying that these clothes are OLD OLD OLD. Lots of pinafore and waist-less dresses:

1982 Annie 1982 Annie


Annie’s Costumes in Annie

Annie herself is in something similar, although there’s a blue tone to the smock that she wears over her dress:

1982 Annie

Once she moves in with Daddy Warbucks, Annie gets a number of different new outfits:

1982 Annie

This totally unflattering shorts/onesie thing. Seems too baby-ish!

1982 Annie

A white and blue sailor suit.

1982 Annie

And, of course, the prototypical “Annie” dress (of which I owned one, which I wore the shit out of).

1982 Annie

It’s very much based on the dress worn by Annie in the comic strip, which is usually short-sleeved but sometimes long, and either with or without belt. Photo from the Mel Birnkrant Collection.


Daddy Warbucks’ Costumes in Annie

He wears a lot of tuxes, befitting his status as ultra-wealthy, but also three-piece suits. His look is very broad-chested, ultra man’s man — but totally put together.

1982 Annie


Rooster & Lily St. Regis’ Costumes in Annie

NOW it gets good! Rooster is a con-man, Lily is his cheap floozy girlfriend from Jersey City.

1982 Annie

Lily is done up to the nines, with baubles and heavy eye makeup and hats and gloves and … LOVE the contrast collar that matches the sleeve ruffles. She’s all about MORE MORE MORE.

1982 Annie

Rooster is sharp and gangster-y.

1982 Annie

But when they impersonate Annie’s parents, both have to tone down their looks immensely.


Grace Farrell’s Costumes in Annie

Mr. Warbucks’s assistant starts off super tailored, all business/efficiency. But as the story develops, and she becomes Warbucks’ love interest/Annie’s mother figure, her wardrobe switches from tailored suits to flowy chiffon dresses (also great for the big dance numbers).

1982 Annie

With a cute little short-brimmed hat and tie, Grace is all “business lady.”

1982 Annie

She starts to soften up a bit when they go to the movies, but things are still pretty fitted and the tie around the neck is a nod to her professional role.

1982 Annie

However, it’s sheer printed chiffon with a flowy neck scarf, and the hair comes down, as she becomes more of a love interest.

1982 Annie

Her hair is back up for the finale, but Grace has gone full girly with a subtle floral print, flowy sleeves, and bias cut dress.


Miss Hannigan’s Costumes in Annie

TEAM MISS HANNIGAN FOR THE WIN. “Little Girls” is the best song in the movie; Burnett as Hannigan is hilarious, mean, sexy, and sweet; and her wardrobe is over the top, slutty, and slovenly but still fabulous, and a nod to the 1920s, showing that Hannigan has passed her prime.

1982 Annie

Around the orphanage, Miss Hannigan’s brightly colored wardrobe contrasts with the orphans she neglects.

1982 Annie

She wears tons of drapey, flowy kimonos, which sure would be fashionable now but were even more so in the 1920s.

1982 Annie

As much makeup and jewelry as she possibly can.

1982 Annie

More kimonos!

1982 Annie

Underneath, she wears pretty damn hot underwear: here a camisole and tap pants, with gartered stockings…

1982 Annie

Here a slip. Again, tons of jewelry, tons of makeup — Miss Hannigan has NO taste.

1982 Annie

Here’s that same slip, via Pinterest.

1982 Annie

When she actually manages to put her clothes on, Miss Hannigan looks pretty similar to Lily St. Regis — lots of bias and ruffles, but here she’s also got color-coordinated tassels.

1982 Annie

And here a print dress with a lace shrug.


Do you love Annie?


About the author



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.

19 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I, too, loved Annie. This post brought back so many lines and song titles. ‘You’re never really dressed without a smile’ , ‘Tomorrow. And Sandy the dog.
    I get a chuckle out of FDR getting the ideal for the ‘New Deal’ from a plucky ginger haired little girl.
    And that a Republican or conservative like Warbucks being on speaking terms with FDR, (he was sort-of considered a class traitor for being a Democrat. His Uncle Teddy was a Republican) makes me LOL.
    But my favourite costume was Miss Farrell’s from the end. Ann Reinking was a noted Broadway dancer. In the scenes with the Bernadette Peters (loved Sunday in the Park with George) and Carol Burnett was like a tennis match of glhead turning and equal to the Maggie Smith Downtown one word zingers.

  2. angharad

    I prefer the 1999 made-for-tv version with Kathy Bates and Audra McDonald. It was a little closer to the stage show, so it had the NYC number in it. Plus Alan Cummings and Kristin Chenoweth as Rooster and Lily.

  3. Saraquill

    Oof, Grace’s yellow chiffon dress looks like it’s straining in that picture. I guess the costume designer and choreographer weren’t looking eye to eye.

    On another note, does anyone else stick a raspberry upside down on their finger to create Little Orphan Pinkie?

  4. EAG46

    I loved Carol Burnett in this. Kathy Bates was okay in the 1999 version too but Carol had the swagger perfect. I wish that style of underwear would come back. Maybe not the stockings. And as good as Alan and Kristen were, they can’t match Tim and Bernadette.

  5. Trystan L. Bass

    I was a teenager when this came out & had grown up with the Carol Burnett Show, so YAAAAAAS TEAM MISS HANNIGAN ALL THE WAY!!!

  6. Valerie Lane

    I, too, had the Official Annie Red Dress and wore the hell out of that thing! I remember turning the belt around backwards so it looked closer to the dress in the movie. I’m sure my fourth grade peers thought I was insane, but I adored that dress.

  7. Mary Jo Dickerson

    Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan was a revelation to me. Carol Burnett is a goddess. I watched her show every Saturday without fail. She was class and elegance and suddenly, she was this slovenly, mean, pinched creature and she completely owned the part. Not to mention those slinky tap pants underneath, adding this whole other dimension to her character. I wish my thighs could support tap pants in bias cut satin.

  8. Susan Pola Staples

    Agree! Remember her Scarlett O’Hara with the curtain rod across the shoulders in the green drapes dress?

      • Susan Pola Staples

        Amazing designer. He worked also with Cher and several Dynasty cast members. I believe that Alexis and Crystal Harrington owed their look to him.

        What about a Carol Burnett review of her movie spoofs? GWTW and if I remember correctly she did a Sound of Music spoof?

    • Jamie LaMoreaux

      went with the wind, a classic and the longest recorded laugh in tv history. even longer than Jack Benny’s “I’m thinking it over!” line. Bob Mackie designed Starlets gown.

  9. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    Ok, I adored this movie when I was a child. I even bugged my mother to buy me a bathing cap and matching swimsuit like Annie wore when swimming with Daddy Warbucks. Now I want a turban like Punjab wore. lol

  10. SarahV

    I haven’t watched this movie in ages, although I just did a deep dive on Google images, I just discovered how astoundingly hot Albert Finney actually looks, all bald and suited up to perfected. You get it, Grace!

  11. laBelleNoire

    I watched this movie recently, and I realized how sexy and totally non-kid appropriate this movie was, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Carol Burnett was a revelation, especially when she was trying to seduce Daddy Warbucks. The most recent version version with Jamie Foxx was too sanitized for my taste.

  12. Nia

    Grace’s 1970’s looking hair in the picture with the yellow dress is a no from me.

  13. Jamie LaMoreaux

    sadly I LOATHED the movie and adore the play. which I saw on Bway in 1979. I was devastated to have missed Andrea McCardle but I did see her understudy when she took over the role. the sell out at the end and the changes the movie made in the play ruined it for me. where was the Hooverville part and song? I wish they would redo it and actually use the play in it’s total.