7 Film And TV Costumes That Looked Like They Came Straight From The History Books

If you're a fan of film and TV, you know that besides the characters and the storyline, the costume – as minor as it may sound – can make or break a scene. And if you're a stickler for historical accuracy, you know that it can be especially frustrating when period pieces get it wrong. Some Movies truly look like the whole production team failed history class.
That’s clearly not the case with these 7 movies, as their costumes excellently brought us back in time. So authentic that you might mistake them for artifacts in a museum. From the opulent gowns of Marie Antoinette to the casual attires of American women during the Civil War, these spot-on costumes are sure to make you appreciate the artistry and the level of detail that went into these masterpieces.
Join us on a journey through time and fashion. Feel free to put on your picky glasses, but trust us, there won't be anything to critique. And who knows? Maybe you'll find some inspiration for your next cosplay or Halloween costume.

#1 Little Women (2019)

Source: © Little Women / Columbia Pictures

The costumes in Little Women were notable for their attention to detail and historical accuracy, particularly in the portrayal of the Civil War era clothing. From the full skirts and corsets of the women's dresses to the military uniforms of the male characters, the costumes captured the fashion of the time period. The use of natural fabrics like cotton and wool, and the absence of modern fasteners like zippers and buttons, added to the authenticity of the costumes.
The color palette used in the movie also reflected the trends of the time, with muted earth tones and pastels predominating. Overall, the costumes in Little Women were a perfect complement to the film's themes of family, love, and individuality, and helped transport viewers back to a bygone era.
In 2020, the movie won an Oscar for “Best Costumes.”

#2 Bridgerton (2020)

Source: © Bridgerton / Netflix

Set in Georgian England, the show seamlessly blends the intrigue of Gossip Girl with the grandeur of 19th-century high society. The first season is set in 1813, during the early years of the Regency Era, with the costumes being one of the standout features of the show.
Our leading lady, Daphne, often don breathtaking, long dresses with a high waistline, reflecting the popular style among young women searching for a suitable husband. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte opts for more structured gowns. The heavier petticoats, longer sleeves, and a lower waistline bring us back to the late 18th century, which is unsurprising given her birth year of 1744.

Source: © Bridgerton / Netflix

The show's costume design is truly a visual treat, perfectly capturing the fashion of the Regency Era, with each character boasting their own distinct sense of style.

#3 Emma (2020)

Source: © Emma. / Working Title Films

Alexandra Byrne, the costume designer for the Oscar-winning film Emma (2020), conducted extensive research on Renaissance-era fashion by analyzing archives, vintage patterns, and fabrics. While many believe that fashion during this period was dull and uninteresting, Byrne aimed to dispel this myth by incorporating a bright and bold color palette in her costumes, ranging from soft pinks to vibrant ochre hues.

Source: © Emma. / Working Title Films© Friedrich Carl Gröger / Wikipedia Commons

The film's female characters, including Emma, often wear chemisettes, which were these frilly blouses. They were worn over dresses during the daytime to cover the neck and neckline.

Source: © emmafilm / Instagram

This pink dress was intricately designed as a precise replication of a bright silk dress from the 1810s worn by Emma. Look at the ornate detailing on the top and bottom of the garment! The attention to detail in the costumes of Emma provides an accurate representation of Renaissance-era fashion and the desire for the wealthy to display their social status through their clothing.

#4 The Duchess (2008)

Source: © The Duchess / Pathé

Michael O’Connor, a British costume designer, won an Oscar in 2009 for his work on The Duchess. He created 30 costumes for Keira Knightley, who played Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, a highly fashionable historical figure in the circles of English aristocracy.
The film covers a vast period, from 1714 to the mid-1800s, and the costumes reflect the evolving fashion of the time. The wedding dress worn by the duchess, for instance, draws inspiration from the luxurious French outfits of the late 1770s. The ruffles on the skirt are also a perfect match. Additionally, both the dresses have a similar panier, which is a framework made of whalebone worn underneath the skirts to give the required silhouette and support the weight of the heavy clothing.

#5 Titanic (1997)

Source: © Titanic / Paramount Pictures

Deborah Lynn Scott, who won an Oscar for her work, was the costume designer for Titanic. She was tasked with accurately depicting the era, and paying attention to the smallest details, as the movie was based on a well-known historical event. Scott extensively researched the time period and read numerous books on etiquette to determine what type of outfits the elite members of society would wear in public.
When Rose is first introduced on screen, she is wearing a striped outfit. It closely resembles the fashion depicted in French fashion magazines from 1912, which was a popular style for women traveling in the latter part of the day.

#6 Mulan (2020)

Source: © Mulan / Walt Disney Pictures

In the movie adaptation of Mulan, the costumes designed by Bina Daigeler play a prominent role. To create the costumes, Daigeler traveled across China for three weeks to study the history of the country and draw inspiration from the clothing of the Tang Dynasty, which spanned from the seventh century to the tenth century.
During this time period, women wore dresses with high waists and elongated sleeves. The clothing of the Tang Dynasty was also famous for its vibrant colors, with officials donning purple, blue, and red uniforms, and other dresses featuring up to five colors at once.

#7 The Crown (2016)

Source: © The Crown / Left Bank Pictures

The costume design of Netflix's original series, The Crown, is a true masterpiece that accurately depicts the wardrobe of every character. The attention to detail in the costumes is impressive, ranging from the royal court's formal wear to the casual attire of the young Princess Elizabeth.

Source: © The Crown / Left Bank Pictures

In one episode, the Kennedys are welcomed by the royal family at Buckingham Palace in 1961. Queen Elizabeth's iconic look during this occasion was an exquisite blue chiffon ball gown, with ruffles and velvet accents, adorned with stunning diamond and sapphire jewelry. Altogether, the show's recreation of this outfit was nearly perfect.
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