We all know that it takes talent to properly portray a character on film. The actor or actress has to understand the character and act as the character would act. And aside from the actors/actresses, the director has to see what they are doing and make suggestions on how to act. But what about the clothes they are wearing? Shouldn't the clothes on the character describe their personality also?
Costumers also have to understand the characters they are clothing and dress them in a way that fits their personality (but keep the clothes historically accurate too :-P). For instance, if a new version of Mansfield Park were to be released (let's hope for a good one one day!), Fanny Price, since she is a very modest, moral character, should be dressed very modestly: the necklines of her dresses shouldn't be low and fichus or chemisettes to fill in the neckline of her gown would be a good choice for her.
So what were some examples of good costuming to describe the characters?
Pearl and Ruby Pratt from Lark Rise to Candleford
These sisters are snobby and (since they are dressmakers) keep up with the latest fashions. They are, therefore, dressed in the absolute latest fashions, even a bit to the extreme; notice that they are very much trimmed in their dress. And sense Ruby follows Pearl's lead, she dresses like Pearl.
Esther Summerson from Bleak House (2005)
Esther, like Fanny Price, is a modest character (however, she isn't as shy as Fanny). Save for a little bit of lace at the neckline, Esther is dressed without very much trim. Her clothes are always modest and aren't extreme.
Molly Gibson, Cynthia Kirkpatrick, and Hyacinth Kirkpatrick Gibson from Wives and Daughters
Just look at the way these three ladies dress in this picture. Molly if very simply dressed while Cynthia and Hyacinth are dressed very opulently (just look at their hair!). Cynthia, being more worldly than Molly, is more decoratively dressed. Since Hyacinth always puts on airs (c'mon, she changed her name from Clare to Hyacinth), she is also very decoratively dressed (dare I say gaudy?) But Molly, who doesn't have nearly as many dark secrets as Cynthia, is very simply dressed.
Sir Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel
Okay, I know Sir Percy is only pretending to be a fop to disguise the fact that he is the Scarlet Pimpernel, but look at the way he's dressed! It's just perfect! Lot's of lace on his cuffs and cravats! Absolutely perfect!
Which characters in what period dramas were dressed in the best way to compliment their personality? Are there any here that I listed? Or is there someone else that I didn't put in this post? Leave a comment!