TBT: Sleepy Hollow


In honor of Halloween’s approach, of course, we have to throwback to the epically gothic and gorgeous Sleepy Hollow (1999). This film has everything you could want for a frock flick this time of year: delicious dark dresses, misty creepy settings, a few ghosts and goblins, just a little gore (but not too much), at least one powerful witchy woman, at least one moody goth boy, and a murder-mystery that ties it all together. And, of course, costumes by Colleen Atwood and directing by Tim Burton. Nailed it!

The story honestly doesn’t engage me as much as the costumes, I just watch it over and over again to see them from every angle and how they move. It’s such a pretty movie, perfectly suiting my aesthetic, totally my happy place…

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

If you don’t love this dress, I’m sorry, we can’t be friends.

1999 Sleepy Hollow

It’s perfection from every angle.

1999 Sleepy Hollow

And I don’t care if Kendra thinks it’s been a tad overexposed — repetition has made it all that much more delightful to me.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Everything looks better in black and white.

Sleepy-Hollow 1999

Here’s the dress Christina Ricci wears, above, but in color. Yeah, it laces up the back, nobody’s perfect.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

We might forgive the shocking lack of hairpins because of all these great “zone” style gowns.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)


Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Johnny Depp is the requisite goth boy.

1999 Sleepy Hollow

And gets all nerdy too.


1999 Sleepy Hollow

Miranda Richardson gets quite a wardrobe.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

What is it with stepmothers? You just can’t trust them in spooky stories.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

This catalog image shows some of the amazing detail of Lady Van Tassel gown.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Gorgeous down to the undies.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Inspired by a pre-raphaelite painting.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Black and white and hot to trot.

1999 Sleepy Hollow

She will cut a bitch.

sleepy hollow 1999

Another yellow and black stunner, with details revealed in this catalog image.


Will you be watching Sleepy Hollow this October?



About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

13 Responses

  1. picasso Manu

    It seems we can be friends!
    Must admit I went to see that one to watch Depp fainting at every turn… And, well, Tim Burton aesthetics never really disappoint.
    But yeah, costumes to die for. That stripey dress both fascinates and terrifies me: I want one, but I’m certain I can’t handle those stripes!

    • Angie Wilson

      All that fainting was hilarious. I recently finished watching the movie, and I just LOVE all of the costumes.

  2. Lady St. Columb (in appropriate Masquerade costume)

    It grieves me that rarely do I see this film come up in must “top ten” to watch for this season.
    Why does contemporary horror have to be the go to? Le Sigh.

    I simply adore the catalog images of the gowns close up – Thank You! : )

    I generally fancy a gradual leading up to seeing Sleepy Hollow on Halloween – from
    Crimson Peak, Agatha Christie’s Poirot’s Hallow’een Party, Arsenic and Old Lace, to Le Pacte de Loup/Brotherhood of the Wolf, etc.

  3. Elessa Wylde

    The dress with tan and orange details is exquisite with the deliberate matching of the panels with the floral patterns in the bodice.

    This is a movie I watch at least once a year due to its aesthetic.

  4. Bea

    Who had the better costumes: Sleepy Hollow or Crimson Peak?
    (as a non-horror/non-spooky/don’t watch these movies movie-goer, I have no horse in this race)

    • Lady St. Columb (in appropriate Masquerade costume - though shoes are now off!)

      Hard to choose since they are different time periods! : ) It would be like choosing between
      Aristocrats and The Buccaneers!

      And, I’m with you on the non/horror aspects but spooky, yes please!

      (Fortunately both films aren’t typical horror-horror films with senseless gore – Does that help? – & Didn’t they have to use silly orange goo for the blood effects because of Sleepy Hollow being shot with a blue filter?)

      Otherwise I would not be interested – is why I cannot really get into Dracula with Gary Oldman though I love him best in that role and really can never ever with films like 28 Days Later or Event Horizon despite adoring the actors/actresses in them.

      Sorry about the long explanation – but there had to be Malbec after work!

      • A Little Bit of Bad Taste

        Well, for me, Crimson Peak is miles above the costumes in Sleepy Hollow. Personally, theres something about some of the sleepy hollow costumes that I dont care for. Mostly that yellow and black gown, its too fantastical to me. Theres a costumer on youtube who just did a great brown suiting and orange and brown taffeta redingote which IMO is much more aesthetically appealing than the gown from Sleepy Hollow.

  5. Caradoc

    Miranda Was Amazing in Sleepy Hollow! And of cours Johnny, and Christina, and Christopher and everyone!!!! Amazing

  6. Susan Pola Staples

    I’ve always loved MS Atwood’s dresses for this film and enjoyed the movie immensely. Depp with the eye-microscope glasses is early Steampunk which pleased me no end. I keep waffling on my favourite dress – black and white stripe or the ‘Pre-Raf one. And I really cannot decide.
    This is a film I’m waiting on Halloween.

  7. Charity

    I love this movie so much, in so many ways, but the utterly gorgeous costumes are a huge part of that. The entire thing is just so atmospheric and haunting.

    I watched it last week and drooled over the black and white dress, as usual. Shame we only see it for a few seconds of film but damn, if it’s not worth it.