TBT: John Adams, Episode 5


We’re recapping the 2008 miniseries John Adams each week because the 18th-century costumes and American history are just that good! Catch up with previous episodes here.


This episode opens in 1790, with John Adams doing a bit of grandstanding in his role of Vice President, calling for a vote on what title the President of the United States should go by.

No shit, “His Highness” did not go over well.

Abigail is irritated, partly because she knew the proposal to address the President as “His Highness” would go over badly, and partly because she’s just over politics and wants to go back to the farm.

Washington looking sober in a brown suit.

Meanwhile, Jefferson is looking very Parisian in a lavender silk jacket and eggshell blue embroidered waistcoat.

John is annoyed when Alexander Hamilton shows up and starts ingratiating himself into Washington’s inner circle.

John’s clothing aren’t interesting, but the clothes on the extras are…

At a dinner with Jefferson, Abby wears a nice gray striped gown.

Flashing forward a bit, Moriarty is annoyed because John wont let him marry his daughter, Nabby.

But the marriage takes place anyway because Abigail thinks it’s a good match, even if John is convinced Nabby is marrying beneath her.

A wider shot of the wedding party. Nabby has a nice light organza frock while you don’t see much of Abigail’s dress in this scene. You will, however, see it later.

Washington is irritated with the French because they’re attempting to drum up support for the French Revolution amongst Americans.

Genet is like, “WTF, you guys practically came knocking down our door to get support for your little revolution.”

Meanwhile, back at the farm. The family shows up to send off John Quincy and Thomas to England. JQ has been appointed ambassador to the English court, due to a bit of political maneuvering on his father’s part after telling his son-in-law, William Smith, that he wouldn’t be caught dead trying to pull strings for anyone in his family.

Adams is elected President and he and Abby are forced to reckon with the fact that the Presidential Residence has been ransacked by angry mobs.

So, of course Abby gets to work cleaning things up.

I really liked this shot, which shows her tasteful shoes.


What did you think of episode 5 of John Adams? Share it with us in the comments!


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.

8 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    John was right about Moriarty but the costume details were terrific

  2. Nzie

    I like the hair on the French guys. Really seems like a lot of attention to detail in the production design as a whole.

  3. Shashwat

    They really did the normal,everyday kind of clothes and hair very well.Abigail’s green gown is gloriously gorgeous.
    Is the cut of the coat on Genet accurate though?It looks a bit too high for the ’90s.His entire aesthetic gives perfectly Regency vibes,perhaps a bit too early for it.

  4. Kelly

    May I please have that green dress? And the hat and shoes, yes, thank you.

  5. M.E. Lawrence

    Is it just me, or that the first Major Hat we’ve seen on Abigail?

  6. Charity

    John wasn’t the only one annoyed when Hamilton showed up. Jefferson was like: I HATE THIS BUFFOON, GET HIM OUT OF MY SIGHT. And I gotta admit, as much as I love Rufus Sewell, his Hamilton annoyed me too. XD

  7. Michael NEISS

    Correction: the Presidential Residence has not been ransacked by angry mobs but by Washington himself (as a reference to the fact that the real life Washington comitted plenty of embezzlement, while in office).