Movies and TV shows set in different time periods have always been popular, and the costumes are a big reason why. There are many iconic shows and movies with beautiful costume designs, from the huge dresses of the 1700s to the big hair and patterns of the ’80s, there are lots of prominent clothing items featured across television and movies.
A lot of the more popular and well-known shows and movies set trends on social media and in real life. The continued popularity of shows likeStranger Things and Friends have caused ’80s and ’90s fashion to come back in style. These period pieces have some of the most recognizable costumes of all time and will be remembered for quite some time.
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10 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired from 1970 to 1977 and was a groundbreaking show that featured Mary Richards, an unmarried and independent woman focused on her career. The show has been recognized for the fashionable clothes of the ’70s. She wore her signature flipped-out bob, skirts, suit jackets to the office often during the show, and a lot of red clothing.
Since the show aired during the ’70s it really shows what outfits and accessories were in during that time. The series has aged wonderfully and still has many fans to this day. The Mary Tyler Moore Show will be remembered as a trend-setting series with cute clothes featured throughout the show.
9 Marie Antoinette
The 2006 Marie Antoinette movie featured the large dresses and big powdered wigs of the 1700s. The silhouette of the gowns were historically accurate with a colorful twist and were inspired by the real portraits of Marie Antoinette. Costume designer, Milena Canonero, designed over 60 dresses for the film to replicate how the real Marie Antoinette never wore the same dress twice.
The fashion of the 1700s was known for being over the top, and it was custom to dress for your social status, hence why her gowns were so large and detailed. These amazing costumes are what made the movie so visually stunning and the designs won Canonero a well-earned Oscar.
8 Sense And Sensibility
The 1995 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel pulled inspiration from the late 1700s for costuming, though the dresses were modernized slightly to appeal to the audience. A lot of subtle storytelling is told through the costumes, the characters were put in dresses that were similar to what lower-income families would’ve worn in that time period, to represent their sudden financial change, and the colors of their clothing go from dark to light as they grieve their father.
The Regency Era fashion in England was known for empire silhouettes and high waistlines, hats were also a popular accessory at that time, as well as shawls and Spencer jackets, and most of the characters are shown wearing these items. According to Frock Flicks, the costume designers, Jenny Beavan and John Bright also took a lot of inspiration from portraits painted in the 1790s, and that’s reflected in the choices shown in the film.
7 Anne With An E
The now-canceled Netflix original show, Anne with an E is based on the classic children’s novel, Anne of Green Gables. The show is set in 1896 and shows the fashion of women and young girls of the late 1800s. Many of the outfits worn by Anne when she is younger are simple dresses with white pinafores, stockings, and a straw hat. While Anne and her friends grow up, their style changes as well with longer skirts and more modest silhouettes.
The older women in the series show a variety of different fashion choices from the time period, such as her school teacher, Miss Stacy, who sports a controversial masculine silhouette with skirts and tops paired with accessories inspired by the men’s fashion of the time. Other notable fashion pieces featured in the series were hats, long overcoats, and corsets.
6 The Great Gatsby
The costumes in the 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby were designed by Cathrine Martin, who did extensive research on the source material and the fashion of 1920s New York (per Fashionista). Hundreds of costumes were designed for all the men and women on screen, with the help of Miuccia Prada. Pearls, fringe, and a vibrant color pallet were featured throughout the film. Daisy’s costumes are very feminine and elegant with gloves, headbands, and beaded details all very prominent pieces of her wardrobe.
Gatsby is shown mainly in brightly colored suits to show off his extravagant lifestyle and wealth, as well as to impress Daisy. Though the costumes have been called historically inaccurate, Martin certainly put in the work to create beautiful costumes inspired by the entire time period, and she didn’t just focus on the stereotypical feathered accessories and short dresses.
Reign is a show very loosely based on the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Since the series as a whole lacks historical accuracy, the costumes are really no different. Though all the costumes featured are visually stunning, it’s clear the designer, Meredith Markworth-Pollack, wanted to make sure the character’s appearances appealed to the young audience rather than rely on accuracy.
Markworth-Pollack did incorporate some elements of 16th-century royal fashion, such as the women’s silhouettes and fabric patterns. She referenced paintings of Mary, Cathrine de’ Medici, and Queen Elizabeth I for their gowns throughout the show (per Observer). Queen Mary goes through changes in her look throughout the show’s four seasons, starting in more youthful dresses, to her iconic coronation outfit, and finally ending the show in a very plain black gown for her execution.
4 The Tudors
The Tudors is another show that is not entirely historically accurate, but the costumes are stunning nonetheless. The show follows the reign of King Henry VIII and his six wives. Designer, Joan Bergin, wanted to keep the clothes mostly accurate to the time period, but with a modern twist, and had around 150 of the gowns made completely from scratch (per The New York Times).
Each of the wives has a wardrobe that reflects their personalities, like the contrast between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Catherine had more mature gowns that reflected her home country, Spain, while Anne is more flirtatious and young, and she dresses to capture the king’s attention. The details of the costumes were very intricate and time-consuming, which earned Bergin three Primetime Emmys for the series.
3 The Crown
The Crown is probably one of the most accurate historical dramas, especially with the costumes. Most of the costumes on the show were recreated exactly from photos of Queen Elizabeth and many of Princess Diana’s iconic outfits was recreated in season 4.
Since most of the events documented in the show happened fairly recently – like Princess Diana’s wedding – the designer for season 4, Amy Roberts, and head of the costume workroom, Sue Crawshaw, had the opportunity to meet with the original designer of Princess Diana’s wedding dress, David Emanuel, to talk about how to best recreate one of the most recognizable wedding gowns of all time (per Vogue). The fact that the royal family is so heavily documented in real life made it easier for the designers to create accurate adaptations of their looks.
The Netflix original show, Bridgerton, made a huge impact on social media, and it has quickly become one of the most popular shows currently on air. The show is set in Regency-Era England, but everything is made to be more extravagant.
The men’s costumes, such as Anthony’s suits, were more accurate to the time period than the women’s dresses, while the silhouettes of the dresses were correct, they were featured in bright pastel colors and were never shown in Regency-accurate bonnets. According to Insider, the huge team of designers worked hard to create around 700 unique costumes for season 2, and the show was nominated for two Emmys for costumes.
1 Stranger Things
Stranger Things is another extremely popular Netflix original show. Set in the 1980s, the costumes in show have brought back classic ’80s fashion in style. The characters are featured in ’80s-accurate clothes, with bright colors, jean fabric, and jumpsuits. Even the hair and accessories are a good representation of what kids looked like back then, including scrunchies, converse, perms, and bowl cuts.
Lots of Tik-Tok trends have started with creators easily recreating the looks seen on the characters, which is part of the reason why the shows’ popularity skyrocketed since season 1. The costumes also heavily reflect the character’s personalities, like Eddie Munson’s rock-and-roll style and Max Mayfield’s laid-back vibe that’s completed with her favorite skateboard.
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