14 Historical Movie Costumes That Could Never Exist in Reality

One of the integral elements of any historical movie is its bright and attractive costumes. Puffy dresses adorned with gemstones, sophisticated hairdos, and gorgeous jewelry look captivating on the screen. But sometimes moviemakers get carried away and make mistakes when creating costumes.

At Bright Side, we carefully watched 14 famous movies again and found out that some historical costumes didn’t correspond to their era.

Queen Mary being suddenly fond of piercing

The movie Mary Queen of Scots tells the story about the complicated relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart. There Saoirse Ronan sports different jewelry. For example, she has 5 rings in her right ear. Even though there is documented evidence of the fact that ladies of the 16th century would wear a few earrings in one ear, it was never mentioned that Mary Stuart ever followed this fashion trend. That is why this style looks too modern and implausible.

Anna Pavlovna Scherer’s missing sleeve

The epic novel War and Peace is set in the early 19th century. However, the dress that we see on Anna Pavlovna Scherer could hardly have existed earlier than the 1950s. A one-shouldered dress doesn’t correspond to the fashion of that era.

Daisy’s dress was too fitted and too modest

Baz Luhrmann, the film director of The Great Gatsby, decided on a loose interpretation of the fashion from the 1920s. The dresses worn by the main character Daisy look too modern. The silhouette should be looser, the necklines should be lower and square, and the back of the dress should be plunging.

Jane’s skirt should be wider.

The events of the movie Becoming Jane take place in the late 18th century when fashion in England was changing. During these years, young ladies wore fitted dresses with puffy skirts. Therefore, Jane’s outfit looks truly revolutionary. This style will not become popular until 10 to 20 years later. And the skirt looks too tight even for 1810.

Meg’s gown is not scandalous but old-fashioned.

In the screen adaptation of the novel Little Women, the main characters’ hairstyles were criticized most of all because the main characters appeared with loose and uncovered hair too often. However, some of the outfits also looked dubious.

In the book, for example, Meg comes to the ball in a scandalous gown — her dress and her behavior cause the disapproval of other guests. In the movie, this gown looks much more modest. According to the plot, the neckline should be deeper, and the dress should be strapless. Therefore, the scene loses its meaning.

No lady would have dared to go out wearing an off-the-shoulder dress in the 16th century.

In the 16th century, ladies always wore a chemise under their dress, and parts of it were visible. However, this element of an outfit is constantly neglected in The Tudors TV series. For example, Gabrielle Anwar appears on the screen in a bright outfit that has no undergarments. In those days, the neckline was usually square, and the dress consisted of several parts. Therefore, it’s impossible to imagine a woman of that era wearing an off-the-shoulder dress.

Only the emperor could wear purple in ancient Rome.

The events of the movie Pompeii take place in the 1st century AD. In those days, only the emperor could wear purple clothing. Any other person who dared to wear this color could face severe punishment. Therefore, when Senator Corvus appears on the screen in this outfit, you may involuntarily begin to worry about his future. Not only did he wear the purple outfit himself, but his soldiers were dressed in purple clothing too.

A bodice was never adorned with one giant motif.

In the 16th century, ladies could decorate a bodice, a skirt, or another detail of a dress with embroidery. But they chose a complex pattern, not just one giant motif. This kind of dressing became popular much later. Therefore, the dress worn by Natalie Dormer, who plays Anne Boleyn in The Tudors, looks unrealistic.

This knitted sweater jacket looks too weird on screen.

The movie Mary Shelley, which tells the story of the writer’s life, received both positive and negative reviews from critics. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was the main character’s outfits. They look like a modern version of the fashion from the early 19th century.

The costume designers chose linen over cotton and wool, and therefore all the dresses seemed wrinkled and shapeless. This pink outfit is probably the worst in the movie. It looks like the Regency grunge style.

There were no bright dyes like this in the 18th century.

The historical movie Farewell, My Queen shows the life of the French court in the late 18th century. Ladies there flaunt different colorful outfits. Virginie Ledoyen, for example, appears on screen in this green dress. In past centuries, fabrics could be dyed in different colors, of course. But it was almost impossible to achieve such a rich shade. Usually, the colors were soft and more muted.

Wide straw hats were never tied down with ribbons.

The events of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl take place in the early 18th century. And Elizabeth’s headdress looks quite authentic. Straw hats were indeed sometimes tied on with ribbons. The thing is that ribbons generally came from underneath. No one would press down on the sides of a hat with ribbons. It just doesn’t look all that great.

This lace overgown looks too courageous for the 18th century.

The creators of the movie Love & Friendship approached the selection of costumes in a very responsible manner. Most of the outfits are consistent with that era, and also reflect the changes that are taking place with the main character. However, the costume designers showed some imagination here too. In those days, dresses were never adorned with lace overgowns.

Daphne forgot to curl her bangs.

Although the Bridgerton TV series doesn’t try to be historically accurate, the characters’ outfits are generally quite consistent with the era. However, the hairstyles can sometimes be criticized.

In those days, ladies wore their hair up and could only leave one strand falling on their shoulders. But the bangs had to be curled. Therefore, Daphne with the straight bangs covering her forehead looks more like Natasha Rostova played by Audrey Hepburn than a Regency girl.

Pregnancy armor never existed.

The Spanish Princess series tells the story of the life of Catherine of Aragon, who became the first wife of Henry VIII. In one of the episodes, the queen is forced to defend her new homeland with her own hands and for this, she puts on armor. It’s quite possible that ladies could lead military campaigns and participate in battles.

But there is no reliable evidence that special armor was forged for women during the Middle Ages. A chest plate following the curves of a woman’s body could be downright dangerous. The main task of the bulges on the armor is to deflect blows of a sword, which should slide off the metal. And the use of this armor Catherine of Aragon wears in the movie could lead to sad results.

Do you think the costumes in historical movies should just be beautiful or also authentic? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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