20 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Unnecessary Lacing

  1. It’s so ubiquitous that I feel like without historical costume blogs I would totally think laces were everywhere. But some of this is so outlandishly not of the period. I mean, I get the grommet rage, but it’s an understandable mistake, however wrong. But that Robin Hood pink number??? It makes literally zero sense and looks nothing like any image from that period, and not even most half-assed medieval costumes in movies. facepalm

  2. Now, you know why I refer to Costner’s Robin as Robin Hood Dancing With Trees.
    The white poly dress in Henry VIII looks like a failed prom dress.
    I gave Outlander a pass when I first saw Geillis’ corset for the reason Geillis seemed to be trying to belive up to her witchy image and maybe she was trying to be more sexier in a ‘I’m too sexy for my…’ moment. Teehee

      1. Maybe they were trying for an early Ren Faire costume look? Or to make it easier to switch sleeves without the need of servants. Claire seemed like she was ill at ease with servants. Traipsing after Uncle Lamb was not conducive to servants and the use thereof.

    1. I’m really surprised to see Outlander here, because Terry Dresbach is very proud and open about all of the historical research she’s done for the show, and about why she makes the costume choices that she does.

      1. Nobody’s perfect! And as Terry said in our interview with her (search the site), they’ll just as often do things for the story / practicality / because they didn’t know better than for historical accuracy.

  3. I like to use lacing rings inside the garment edge for eyehole-less and grommet-less lacing. For well-done lacing, I like The Borgias. The women’s clothing is gorgeous and seems to be well-researched.

    I don’t understand how costume designers can do such BAD stuff. Five minutes of research would help.

    As for Pillars of the Earth, I’d forgive Eddie Redmayne a lot, even bad lacing.

  4. Can anyone point to some (any?!) examples where costumers have got it right? Visually I LOVE a bit of lacing when I’m illustrating a costume and I want to make sure I get it right. I know there are some actual historical examples here, but any movie/tv ones would be appreciated too. Thanks!

    1. Hmmm, that’s a good question! Lacing done right is a lot harder to find in movies/TV bec. it’s SO easy to do wrong. You can search the site here, & off the top of my head, I’d suggest the movie ‘The Witch’ — it’s early 17th-c. & the lower/middling-class costumes are very accurate.

  5. Love this post. The period illustrations are so beautiful, and the screencaps are so hilariously snarkworthy.

    About the second lady from the right in the Herod’s banquet painting with the double row of buttons, what would those little loops connecting them have been?

    Also, if you’re working in the fields or the house or fighting a battle, how do you not get stuck by all the pins? How do you even get dressed if you’re not a rich person with someone to dress you? (Sorry if these are costumely naive questions.)

    1. 1) The little loops would have been a thin cord, same as for the lacing.

      2) Pins don’t stick you when they’re holding your clothes clothes together. I’ve worn pinned-on sleeves & pinned-front bodices all day with no problems. Remember, you’re wearing multiple layers of cloth & the pinned item is 2-4 layers away from your own skin.

      3) There was always a sibling, cousin, other extended family member in the house. Folks lived a lot more communally than we do today :)

  6. As for ‘Front/side/back’ lacings, I thought much the same until I saw a statue in a museum that had them all was 15th century…italian I think, (I couldn’t take pictures) One of the theories I did see was because of pregnancy, to give more flexibility to the garment?

  7. As for “unable to afford buttons” — make ‘em out of cloth, ffs! If you have cloth you probably have offcuts when a garment is finished, and what else can you do with them anyway?

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