Who Wore It Better? – 16th-Century Edition


We know that historical costumes get recycled from one production to another — it’s just a thing due to budget and time. While certain outfits seem to show up more often than others, that doesn’t mean they look as good on everyone. So let’s get judgy! With a shout-out to Recycled Movie Costumes, we’re gonna have some fun deciding who wore it better among these 16th-century style costumes.








Tell us how you voted and why!


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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

20 Responses

    • Katie O.

      Yeah, even though Natalie Dormer looked beautiful in her costumes, you can tell between the two productions there was a conscious effort to sex her appearance up in a way that didn’t feel historically accurate lol so I had to go with Elizabeth

      • LadySlippers

        On my phone I cannot see any options to vote on as that space is blank.

        • Heather Ripley

          click on the photo you like best @ladyslippers and @Susana

  1. Colleen

    The last image set alone it’s obvious the first one is the best, since it looks like it was tailored for the wearer. The others look like they’re drowning in the jacket.

  2. Shashwat

    Many costumes of Elizabeth that were reused in The Tudors laced up in the front instead of being hooked like the original.Was it for fitting issues,or just to make costumes interesting ?I find Dormer more petite than Blanchett.
    As good ye olde bright and colourful Elizabethan extragavanza,Elizabeth had some quirky costuming.

    • Sam R

      Just from looking at these pictures, it looks as though Natalie has a wider ribcage and perhaps a fuller bust, so the gowns and jackets don’t close easily in the front on her. It’s also possible that Cate was wearing stays, which compress the torso, but The Tudors left them out? That would account for the fronts not meeting or fitting smoothly.

  3. Saraquill

    I tended to vote for ones that were accessorized rather than slapped on. Makes the thing look like an outfit.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Absolutely agreed. The other thing that drives me mad about stuff like “The Tudors” is the sloppiness of–I don’t know, affect. Everything about formal court dress conveyed a meaning, and that meaning adds, or should add, to the overall sense of period, whereas The Ts usually just slap on the women’s costumes, and it’s sexy or not sexy, rich or not rich; nothing else seems to matter.

      Have been thinking about this after reading Teri Fitzgerald’s analysis of the Holbein portrait of (probably) Jane Seymour’s sister Elizabeth, the lady who married Cromwell’s son: https://queenanneboleyn.com/2019/08/18/all-that-glitters-hans-holbeins-lady-of-the-cromwell-family-by-teri-fitzgerald/ (Some nice close-ups; I would sell my soul for those sleeves.)

      • Katie O.

        I have a theory that they used less accessories on The Tudors to make it easier to get in and out of the costumes for impromptu sex scenes. It seems to be where the show’s priorities were at lol

  4. Badalice

    I LOVE this post and hope you will do more like it. “Who Wore It Better?” was my favorite feature back in the glory days of STAR magazine. Would you consider a post on styling? Just think how the ill-fitted costumes from Wolf Hall came alive with serious jewelry and killer gable hoods in Six Lives With Lucy!

    • Shashwat

      Would be great if FF does one.It left me perplexed because the WH costumes were so neat and aesthetically pleasing,but didn’t fit Foy very well,while Claire Cooper wore them as if they were designed for her.Even though the costumes were laced and pinned so they could fit slightly different sizes,I wondered why they didn’t fit Foy despite wearing boned kirtles.The gable hoods though,weren’t that good.They were infact too boxy,and given to old women to wear despite the changes through the decades.I rolled my eyes when Catherine(strawberry blonde,blue eyed,fair,yes!!!)wore a hood with one side pinned up.That was a wrong,because not only the veil would be hanging free but the oreilette would be much longer and the lappets would be pinned at temples,not the crown.And like wolf hall,even the docudrama had almost all gable hoods with sheer veils-scandalous!(actually both these productions designed very few gable hoods,most of them were lifted from TOBG for the extras and the non royals)Wolf hall had some serious styling problem,because the same gable hood worn by Catherine of Aragon looked different in different scenes but looked absolutely stunning and comfortable on a mannequin in the FIDM display.Although the jewellery looked fine in both versions,the docudrama ones looked a bit clunky,while Wolf Hall went with a slightly anachronistic minimalist approach to women’s jewellery,again wrong.They made men look like peacocks in comparison.

  5. Charity

    I had to factor into whether the color suited the actress into my decisions — and a lot of the costumes in Elizabeth, while gorgeous, washed Cate out, whereas Natalie glowed in a lot of them. It’s also interesting to me that because of Natalie’s much wider rib cage and shoulders, they had to “leave open” all of Cate’s costumes on her, because though Cate is much taller than Natalie, she’s way more slender through the torso.

  6. Lmaris

    My votes went through the following analysis:

    1) Was the garment appropriately buttoned/laced closed or was it hanging open in a manner no one would wear in public?
    2) Which wore it properly fitted and which just grabbed it out of wardrobe?
    3) Which movie or show sucked less.