Top Five Athletic Moments in Historical Costume Movies


The 2016 Summer Olympics close this weekend, and while sports and historical costume don’t seem like a good mix, this one-third of the Frock Flicks team has been obsessively watching the games as I always do. Thus, I realized, while also poking around through costume movie and TV show photos, as you do, that a fair number of scenes with women excelling at athletics turned up.

So here’s a Top Five Friday with scenes from historical costume flicks that are (kind of) related to sports in the Summer Games. Sure, why not!


1) Fencing – The Girl King (2015)

The Girl King (2015)

Queen Christina of Sweden used her father’s sword, according to this recent biopic. While I have quibbles about her fencing outfit, it works for the film.


2) Cycling – Downton Abbey (2010)

Downton Abbey (2010)

During the war years, Lady Edith took to cycling around the estate. Pity she gave it up in the rest of the series — the activity might have taken her mind off her troubles.


3) Riding – Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)


A horror-fairytale set in 18th-century France, this movie features some delicious costumes, especially the red velvet riding habit Marianne wears while hunting through the forests.


4) Swimming – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2013)

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries costumes

In the second season of everyone’s favorite 1920s detective series, Phryne Fisher hits the beach to solve the story of the “Dead Man’s Chest.” And she does so in this smart and colorful bathing costume.


5) Archery – Daniel Deronda (2002)

Daniel Deronda (2002)

The title character, Daniel’s, love interest Gwendolyn, is quite a good shot at archery. Plus check out her excellent sporting outfit, complete with all the required accessories.



Are you a fan of the Olympics? What historical sporting costume appeals to you most?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

Twitter Facebook Website

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.”

16 Responses

  1. Gina

    What about Mae in Age of Innocence? She won a pin for archery that her mother says will make a fine heirloom.

  2. Daniel Milford-Cottam

    That archery outfit is sooooooo The Fair Toxophilites.

  3. Julia

    Oh man Brotherhood of the Wolf. I adore the costumes in that movie, especially Marianne’s cobalt blue robe a la francais.

  4. Janette

    The archery scene from Daniel Deronda reminds me of a similar scene in the Pallisers (BBC 1971 pure costume porn). It is roughly contemporary given the costumes so I guess it was a fashionable sport amongst the well healed in the 1870s-80s

  5. Susan Pola

    I loved the Pallisers. Susan Hampshire was marvellous as Lady Glencora. She and the actress who played Madame Geisler wore the best clothes. I’m drooling over their idea.

    • Janette

      Yes.I am currently re-watching it. At 26 episodes though it might be a bit much to expect a Frock Flicks Blog. (but fingers crossed one day they might find time.)

      • Susan Pola

        Lady Glen’s wedding dress was so gorgeous. I’m so glad she didn’t marry the Irish Burgo.

  6. Jenno

    Lucy Honeychurch’s Edwardian tennis whites in “A Room With a View.”

  7. Sarah Faltesek

    So happy to hear someone call the costumes in Brotherhood Of The Wolf ‘delicious’, rather than rolling their eyes when the film is mentioned.

  8. Alisa

    The archery dress in the Age of Innocence. I also adored the archery scene in Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow, not the dress in particular but the scene as a whole. (“Try not to kill my dogs…” Haha.)