10 Hidden Messages In Movie Costumes That Only Keen Audiences Notice

One of the essential elements of a great movie is the costume. Costume designers love to place hidden messages all over their works. From the color of the outfits to the number of layers that the character wears, anything can have a deeper meaning. Not all audiences have the sharp eyes to spot them all, but that’s why we’re here!
For clever hidden messages in movie costumes, scroll down and find out if you have the keen eyes to spot them all.

1. Black Panther

hidden messages Black PantherSource: Marvel/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Black Panther’s producers wished to bring the vibrant life of different African tribes and civilizations into the movie, and they accomplished it through the costumes. Colors, patterns, fabrics, and all other elements of the outfits were carefully picked to represent African traditions.
You can see that Shuri’s T-shirt has a symbol representing “purpose,” despite it being Western and Americanized. The queen’s clothing has traditional woven patterns that are made using 3D printing, which is to show Wakanda’s advanced technology. Nakia’s necklace shows that she is a member of a river tribe.

2. Legally Blonde

hidden messages Legally BlondeSource: 20th Century Fox/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Elle’s outfits reflect the growth of her character throughout the movie. She started with expensive bold-colored shirts and skirts to items that are much soberer in color. Her curls also changed into a straight and pulled-back ponytail. Her final outfit on the court was a mix between her old style and her serious lawyer look. It shows Elle’s confidence in achieving her goals while still being herself.

3. Birds of Prey

hidden messages Birds of PreySource: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Harley Quinn’s outfits in Birds of Prey show us a piece of her mind. As she moved on from her relationship with the Joker, her clothes and hairstyles started to focus more on herself. Instead of being provocative or sexy, she went for much more chaotic and comfortable outfits. She even changed her iconic pigtails!

4. Black Swan

hidden messages Black SwanSource: Fox Searchlight Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

You can clearly see Nina’s evolution just by looking at the colors of her outfits. At the start of the movie when she was still a naive and childish girl, Nina mostly wears pale and pink. However, as her mental stage gets darker, so do her costumes. In the end, her clothes became totally black. It reflects who she wants to be: the black swan.

5. Enchanted

hidden messages EnchantedSource: Walt Disney Studios/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Throughout Enchanted, we get to see Giselle’s gowns go from fluffy, pillowy princess dresses to something more practical and modern. She is adapting to a new world, that is very different from the fairytale land. Her changes are shown through her outfits. It’s no easy feat, but designer Mona May manages to show her character’s progress while keeping her sweetness and innocence.

6. The Devil Wears Prada

hidden messages The Devil Wears PradaSource: 20th Century Fox/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

From all the dresses that Andy and Miranda wear throughout The Devil Wears Prada, fans with keen eyes can see that their silhouettes are pretty similar, especially in the scenes where Andy gets more involved in the fashion world. This detail hints that Andy is subconsciously following Miranda into her workaholic mindset.

7. Mean Girls

Mean GirlsSource: Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

At the beginning of the movie, Cady’s clothes was simple and very unflattering. As she becomes the new member of “The Plastics,” her wardrobe changes into a mix of fashion styles taken from the other 3 girls. The pink and blue combination was taken from Karen, the curls and eyeliner were from Gretchen, and the sporty outfits along with other accessories were taken from Regina.

8. Pride & Prejudice

Pride & PrejudiceSource: Focus Features and co-producers/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

As the movie progresses, Mr. Darcy loses layers of his clothing and his clothes also become softer. This is to show how his rigidity and inflexibility personality is slowly morphing into a more open and humble attitude. The changes are very subtle, but they’re super effective!

9. Gone with the Wind

Gone with the WindSource: Selznick International Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

The colors of Scarlett’s clothes reflect her essence and feelings. Her green dress refers to the expression “green with envy,” which she wears when she feels envious. When she longs for affection, she wears a red dress, which is the color of passion. Scarlett’s financial status was also shown through the level of extravagance of her dresses.

10. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

Confessions of a Teenage Drama QueenSource: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Lola’s choices of clothing are slowly changed after she meets Ella. From generic, childishly colorful clothes, she changes into outfits that are much more suitable for her age and more flattering for her figure.
What other hidden messages did you notice in other movies? Which ones are your favorite movie costumes? Speaking of hidden details in movies, you might wanna check out this post. It can make old films become much more interesting.
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