Top Five Music Videos for Historical Costume Nerds


Now for a musical interlude…


“I Don’t Want to Wait” – Paula Cole

You’re going to have to click here to watch a non-shitty upload of the video. If you were conscious during the late-’90s, this song has probably become part of your DNA by now, since it was played everywhere, all the time, and was even the theme song for Dawson’s Creek. But what you may not know, is that the official video for “I Don’t Want to Wait” features some fabulous historical costuming from across the ages. Watch it with the sound off, if you’re like me and you never need to hear the song again in your life, but definitely watch it for the costumes.


“Bow Down/I Been On” – Beyoncé

Honestly, we could do an entire Top Five Beyoncé Music Videos for Historical Costume Nerds, but “Bow Down/I Been On” is by far my favorite. It features costumes designed by Swedish costume designer B. Åkerlund and is directed by her husband, Jonas Åkerlund. You can watch a nice little behind the scenes video about the making of the video here.


“Smooth Criminal” – Michael Jackson

I’m copping to a serious bit of nostalgia here. Back in the heyday of MTV, when pop stars had insane budgets for videos that could last upwards of 10 minutes … Man, those were some good times.


“Celebrate” – Ingrid Michaelson and ADR

I recently ran across this cute little video from Ingrid Michaelson. The costuming isn’t the greatest, but it’s fun and I enjoyed it.


“Bustle Fluffah” – Andy Karl and featuring Roundabout Theatre Company’s cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Yeah, you are all probably familiar with every parody of “Baby Got Back” that plays on bustle fashion, but this video IMHO is a way better tribute to the 1880s.


And now for a shameless plug…

“I Want Candy” – the Frock Flicks Gang and Friends (with apologies to Bow Wow Wow)

So what do you do when you have 10 costumers drunk on champagne, a fabulous French chateau at their disposal, and professional video equipment? You make goddamn sure you spend a day filming an homage to Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Trystan’s hubby and professional videographer, Thomas, was really the rock star of the entire production. If it weren’t for his hard work, direction, and infinite patience, we wouldn’t have the masterpiece it turned out to be.


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.

10 Responses

  1. heratech

    I was hoping you’d mention “I Want Candy” as it’s one of my all time favorite costume videos!!! <3 <3 <3

  2. Mari

    Hearing Paula sing “Say a little prayer for I” instead of “Say a little prayer for ME” just about drives me nuts, but yes the costumes are very cool in this video.

  3. Susan Pola Staples

    My favourites are Paula’s and I Want Candy.

    Hope no banyans were destroyed in the making of your video.

  4. Donnalee

    How about There’s Always Room At The Top by Adam Ant? Really sexist, but some great outfits in their way–“18th century brain in a 21st century head”–“be beautiful but shut up; the going can be real tough uh huh”–“I really tried to fight it but what the hell, I liked it uh huh”–rather a clever reworking of the whatsis compulsion.

  5. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I forget who actually parodied the song but someone did a parody of Royals by Lourde called Tudors. The costumes were fun and the lyrics were snarky as hell. I approved.

  6. Marilyn

    Though previously mentioned in another post, and not her official video for the song, Madonna’s live performance of Vogue at the 1990 MTV Awards teaches allll the children, and changed my life forever.