Right now, I bet you’re probably saying, ‘”but I don’t need ten reasons to watch Outlander!” Duh, we know. We know everybody watches this show, but are you watching for the right reasons? Are you, say, missing Reign and its gorgeously fish-out-of-water period costumes? Do you ever get weak at the knees at the sight of a really, really good bustle? HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT DRESSES WERE PRETTY?! Leave the Jacobean drama for your mama, these are the real reasons you should be watching Outlander.
10. Claire in the 1940s
Before the hyper-feminised fifties with its bullet bras and beauty school dropouts, the forties were a softer time, where women used there being a war on as an excuse to wear pants and have ideas. All those ‘tuxedo’ and ‘boyfriend’ cuts cluttering up your wardrobe? Yeah, your boyfriend didn’t dream those up, women’s clothiers in the forties did.
And what with the eighteenth century being what it is, bosom up to your chin and skirt down to your ankles, flashback (flashforward? Flashboth?) Claire gets to dress like a lady in floaty, flattering cuts, a becoming scarf here, a keyhole there; step aside, Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina, The Duchess or any other movie, because no one does hats like Caitriona Balfe.
9. Claire in the 1740s
Anybody who thinks plaid is for schoolgirls and chokers are best left in the nineties had better check themselves, because when Claire gets spirited away to Castle Leoch and used like a dress-up doll by its inhabitants, she’s slaying more in her wee flowered stomacher than the morbid sore throat.
Praise God for a woman who knows her own worth and appeal to the opposite sex.
One of the opposite sex in particular.
This arranged marriage is going to be anything but political. Horizontal, maybe.
To recap: if an iron lady housekeeper wants to dress you up like a picnic blanket, you’d better damn well comply if you want a seven foot tall Scot to feast on.
8. Claire Getting Married
Outlander even caters specifically for those with a penchant for costume porn. Just look at the gazillion angles we get of Claire’s wedding gown:
And in broad daylight too!
Trust me, you want in on a show where the costume designer is a stickler for detail, considers the source material gospel and is married to the executive producer, i.e. has a bigger budget than God. This is also the dress of an angel, but I digress.
7. Claire Cross-Dressing
Get you a heroine who can do both, by which I mean pull off a tricorn and muted masculine florals *drools* while hunting down her husband through a complex system of actually looking for him and singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in public.
And what Scottish down-on-her-luck Claire can do, Parisian up-and-up Claire can do better. Feast your eyes on her cockade, and her jabot, and her matching bag. Accept Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser as your Lord and Saviour.
6. Claire in Dior
Terry Dresbach, costume goddess, has freely admitted she designed Claire’s wardrobe for being an all-round winner at a) life and b) French high society with Dior’s New Look in mind, so if you’re still pining for Reign and its ability to mix and match historical and modern, read on!
Monochrome, satin, the aesthetic of Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s Australia and the ethereal beauty of Queen Mab aside, just look at that hat. No one does hats like Caitriona Balfe.
5. Claire in Red
Why you should read along with the on-screen action: there’s practically a whole chapter dedicated to Claire’s red Versailles dress, and it’s not very hard to see why.
Oh, what’s that? Just some sweet panniers, and a neckline which is really quite modest when you consider there’s a woman wandering around with swan nip covers on.
How about Claire, Queen of Scots as the new frontrunner in our ‘Ear Chandelier Wearer of the Year’ contest, plus perfectly matched lip colour?
Basically, this dress causes every man in France to have an apoplexy, and the special shade of red is called sang du Christ, and it’s so hot right now, and the dressmaker gushes that only Claire should ever wear it because she has such unblemished, period-inappropriate skin, and she’s just like, ‘mind my massive hips, peasants, and by the way, my ear knockers are up here’.
4. Claire in Cloaks
If you are indeed here because you enjoy the Franco-Scottish vibe of Reign, you may be aware that I’m obsessed by a particular shade of goldenrod, most often toted by Queen Elizabeth I.
Outlander is notable for making its own costumes rather than borrowing them, but I don’t suppose there’s any chance this divine pairing of buttery hooded cape and sumptuously sunny gown could find a new home in the court of Her Maj on Reign? Anything with a cape, particularly a matching cape, or matching accessories is my jam.
Matching cape and matching accessories say WHAT.
3. You’re Dead, Claire Just Killed You
What have we learned about Caitriona Balfe and hats?
May your perpetual light shine upon us, my lady. As stunning as this hat is, however, it’s got a hell of a lot to contend with, in the form of some of the best work in contrasting colours I have ever seen. And the Emmy goes to…
On paper, brown and yellow don’t work. Yellow leather gloves really, really don’t work. How is any of this working?!
Maybe it’s that incredible fusion of period and contemporary that led to a fabric being drawn from the bowels of a cloth shop in L.A., in response to a request to bring the designer something she’d never think to use. The result is a World War Two, Asian-occupation-cultural-appropriation dream of a pattern in the middle of Versailles.
There’s even yellow binding on the hat brim! *weeps with joy*
2. I’m Dead, Claire Just Killed Me
Did I mention that while Claire’s wearing the brown tartan of reason number nine, she straight up drugs a guy? And that while she’s wearing this spectacular emerald dress, with panniers for days, she straight up murders a guy? Claire is not here for your nonsense, even five minutes after having a late-term miscarriage and her husband being imprisoned. You. Go. Claire.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, this motherfudging heiress to Slytherin gown has a motherfudging cape. YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT CAPES.
1. Jamie Fraser
They call him King of Men.
They, my friends, are right.
The defence rests, Your Honour.