WCW: Jessica Chastain


Jessica Chastain is a talented actress who’s done her fair share of frock flicks. And, team redhead! Let’s take a look:


Charlotte in Blackbeard (2006)

A TV miniseries set in 1717 (allegedly), about the famous pirate Blackbeard. Chastain is clearly the ingenue. I half want to watch this for snark week.

Blackbeard (2006)

Battenberg lace parasol alert!

Blackbeard (2006)

That’s a deeply shitty … jacket? Dress? Thing?

2006 Blackbeard

Also, dupioni alert!


Mary Debenham in Poirot: “Murder on the Orient Express” (2010)

THE classic Agatha Christie tale.

2010 Poirot

Okay now THAT is a gorgeous dress!


Celia in The Help (2011)

She’s the ditzy, socially ostracized lady who hires the disgraced Minny, an African American maid.

2011 The Help

Surprisingly blonde in this film! Ph: Dale Robinette / ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.

2011 The Help

SUCH a cute playsuit | Ph: Dale Robinette / ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.

2011 The Help


Mrs. O’Brien in The Tree of Life (2011)

“The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents’ conflicting teachings,” per IMDB.

2011 The Tree of Life


2011 The Tree of Life


2011 The Tree of Life

Back to fine.


Maggie Beaufort in Lawless (2012)

A film about outlaw bootleggers in the 1930s. I’m unclear who Chastain plays, but she’s the lead female actor and clearly down with the outlaws.

2012 Lawless

Shades of Bonnie & Clyde.

2012 Lawless

I like the gathers on the blouse, but this seems very 1970s.

2012 Lawless



Miss Julie in Miss Julie (2014)

An adaptation of the 1890-set August Strindberg play, about the power struggle between a rich lady and her servant. I’m never going to watch it, because this dress is nothing compared to Sandy Powell’s design for the 1999 version.

2014 Miss Julie

I mean, what’s 1890 about this?

2014 Miss Julie

It just seems ye-oldey-timey.


Lucille Sharpe in Crimson Peak (2015)

She’s the creepy sister in this late 19th century-set horror film … that features STUNNING costumes, especially on Chastain!

Crimson Peak (2015)

The ruff! The ruffles!

Crimson Peak (2015)

Oodles of fabric!

2015 Crimson Peak

Every goth’s dream outfit!


Catherine Weldon in Woman Walks Ahead (2017)

In the 1890s, a real-life painter goes to Dakota to paint famed chief Sitting Bull.

2017 Woman Walks Ahead

She starts out all fancy and East Coast.

2017 Woman Walks Ahead

I’m not sold on this color, but otherwise this is gorgeous. Yes, her hair comes down, quite literally.

2017 Woman Walks Ahead



Antonina Zabinska in The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

During World War II, a married couple — who are zookeeper’s — save hundreds of people and animals.

2017 The Zookeeper's Wife

Very chic!

2017 The Zookeeper's Wife

Nice casual wear | Credit: Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

2017 The Zookeeper's Wife

Great print!


Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

Just on the cusp of our period cut-off, but her performance — as the famous televangelist — is too good not to include.

2021 The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Look at that bubble flip!

2021 The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Aaaaand then things go scary. Authentically scary!


Tammy Wynette in George & Tammy (2022-23)

A TV mini-bio-series about the country musicians Wynette and George Jones. Definitely on my list, but then I love my biopics!

2022-23 George & Tammy

Oh 1970s, how unflattering you could be.

2022-23 George & Tammy

That dress would be so hideous on most anyone else, but she’s working it.

2022-23 George & Tammy




Which is your favorite of Jessica Chastain’s frock flick roles?


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.

8 Responses

  1. Kat

    I loved Crimson Peak; I got to see Lucille’s red dress as part of the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario a few years ago and the amount of workmanship and tiny details (a lot of which didn’t get picked up on camera) is stunning.

  2. Julia

    My only memory of “The Tree of Life” is that utterly bonkers dinosaur scene.

    • Carrie

      She was excellent as a small-town Marilyn with a tragic secret in The Help. (Very) unpopular opinion alert- I hated Crimson Peak, probably because Mia Wakowski strikes me as a black hole of charisma. She bores me to tears.

      My favorite is Tree of Life, though the above plot description seems… misleading at best. I love love love the bonkers dinosaur scene.

  3. Bel

    Love her! She reminds me of the excellent, sadly departed Chadwick Boseman in that she’s done a surprising number of biopics (and done well in them!) for someone who’s very distinct-looking.

  4. M.E. Lawrence

    Oh, god, a bubble flip! That does it: I MUST find “Tammy Faye.” But the beige-y thing J.C. wears as Tammy Wynette is the ugliest matron-dress (mother of a Mormon bride?) I’ve ever seen, especially on such a hot young woman.

  5. Lily Lotus Rose

    Crimson Peak is my fave of her FrockFlick roles, though, she really is excellent in everything–even in shows that I loathe like The Help. Even though I couldn’t compare it to the 1999 version of Miss Julie that you raved about, I couldn’t get through 2000s version with Chastain and Colin Farrell, both actors whom I enjoy. It just screamed “two hander poorly adapted for film”–and I just wasn’t in the mood. The nonfiction book The Zookeeper’s Wife is 9 out of 10 stars, and I HIGHLY recommend reading this compelling little-known story. Although I must admit that I am biased and would gush over Diane Ackerman’s (the author’s) grocery list! I haven’t seen the movie yet and had forgotten that Chastain played the lead. This post is the nudge I needed to finally watch it. I also really wanted to watch Blackbeard and Lawless. Good WCW choice!

  6. ED

    I enjoy Ms. Chastain’s work, but her look at the recent Met Gala made her look alarming like a femme fatale from some horrible timeline where the Third Reich won the Second World War with help from Alien Space Nazis.

    Strong ‘Master Race’ vibes make me suspect Ms. Chastain should either stay redheaded or avoid wearing black while being very, very blonde!


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