4 thoughts on “Tips: How Can I Tell If a Costume Is Authentic or From a Movie?

  1. Usually, one of the biggest dead give-aways that a costume isn’t historical, but a movie costume, is the color and color combinations. That dress from The Duchess is a good example… It looks *close*, in terms of fit and proportions. But the colors are all wrong for the 18th-century. Historical color combos, while they can be garish and clashy to the modern eye, typically have a brightness to them that modern movie repros lack, favoring a more “tarnished” palette, probably to evoke “Ye Olde Timey-ness”.

    Also, the petticoat is quilted (period) but it’s abstract (not period). Also, the vertical pleats all over the petticoat… Not something seen much in the 18th-century, and even then, not *all over the petticoat*. The emphasis in this era was on the horizontal, particularly with petticoats. And again, trimmings were pretty much focalized in the front of the petticoat, where the overgown splits over it. An all-over embellishment is rare. Not saying it didn’t happen, but it certainly wasn’t the norm.

  2. My only tip is do exactly what this post starts off describing — ask around / crowd-source an answer. Talk to trusted experts, post to the relevant Facebook groups (although I know what a quagmire that can be), etc.

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