9 Movie Costumes That Are Key to Understanding the Characters

3 years ago

It’s not just the story, the set, the characters’ motivations, and characters that matter in movies. When watching films, we need to pay attention to the meaning of the clothes the characters wear. Because the colors, fabrics, and overall looks can give us a lot of subtext when it comes to the characters’ actions.

We at Bright Side decided to check both the iconic and the newest movies where costume designers planted very interesting ideas for the most attentive viewers.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

The costume designers did all they could to make the most loyal and attentive fans melt. Look at the clothes Harry and Neville are wearing while fighting for Hogwarts in the final film. And after that, compare their clothes to the clothes in the photo we saw in the Order of the Phoenix. The sons were dressed almost exactly like their fathers.


In the film, Eilis Lacey leaves Ireland to build a career in New York. She really misses her home, which the costume designer shows through the colors. At the very beginning, the character is wearing the color green — that is associated with Ireland. And in the middle of the film, she misses home so much that she wears the colors of the national flag: green, white, and orange.

Enola Holmes

Enola is Mycroft’s and Sherlock’s sister. She is really fighting the traditions of the Victorian era, especially those that limit women. This rebellion can be seen in the clothes she wears. At the beginning of the film, she, despite the established etiquette, is riding a bicycle while wearing a big blue dress. A 16-year-old girl at that time was supposed to wear a hat, gloves, and a corset, but she doesn’t follow the rules.

When Enola is in London, she needs to blend in with the crowd, so she wears “the right” dresses.

At the end of the film, she returns to the more comfortable clothes that she’s used to. According to the costume designer, the silhouette of the final dress is the same as the blue dress at the beginning. This shows that Enola will never stop fighting against the oppression of women.

Forrest Gump

In Forrest Gump, we see the life of the main character through several decades. During this time, the character changes a lot but one detail of his clothes remains the same. Forrest always wears a blue checkered shirt at the beginning of every scene showing the next stage of his development as a person. And at the end of the film, his son is wearing this kind of shirt.

Mean Girls

Cady, played by Lindsay Lohan, recently moved to an American town from Africa. And she doesn’t know the rules that the teenagers at school live by, so she decides to join a group of the most popular girls. The head of the group is Regina George. She tells others what to say and what to wear. The special position of Rachel McAdams’s character is shown with a pendant with the capital letter “R.”

When Cady decides to throw Regina off the pedestal and take her place, she starts to copy her style. The key detail is that Cady also starts to wear a pendant with the capital letter of her name — “C.” But Regina doesn’t notice that and has no idea about the evil plan of her “friend.”


Septimus is the prince of Stormhold, the 7th son of the king. His name means “Seventh” in Latin. This number can be seen in the details of the character. Look at the buttons and the decoration of Roman numerals on his jacket.

Black Panther

Dora Milaje is a fictional team of women in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. The head of the team is Okoye (on the left in the picture). The costume designer of the film highlighted her special status using golden armor. All of the other women have silver armor.

Even when she’s wearing regular clothes, Okoye is still a general. When she’s out of Wakanda, she still wears golden bracelets on her wrists and her neck that remind us of her armor.


A pregnant teenage girl, Juno, often visits the couple she’s going to give her child to. Juno is becoming closer to Mark. The girl finds out that she has a lot in common with the future foster father: they both love punk rock and horror films. The costume designer of the film showed the influence of the girl on Mark. After every time they meet, Mark’s clothes become progressively similar to Juno’s style. And at the end of the film, he acts like a teenager: he breaks up with his wife to make his forgotten dreams come true.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

What do you think Donna and her friends used to make the costumes for the prom? The creators don’t hide anything from you. When we see Donna’s room, you can see that the curtain on the right looks bright and happy. So, it was the curtain that the girls used to make the clothes for themselves. This is how the costume designers show that the girls are very creative.

When you watch movies, do you pay attention to how the characters look? What costumes have impressed you the most?


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