Period dramas have become my thing. It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy all things regarding history, particularly the history of Europe (more specifically the UK), so my watch lists as of late have, unsurprisingly, have included shows like Outlander (omg), The White Queen (o.m.g.) and CW’s Reign (OMG).
While Outlander and White Queen are both adaptations of novels (also on my long list of things to experience), and therefore had a dedicated fanbase that would probably have rioted had anything been different, Reign is the creation of CW, and therefore had no pre-existing storylines except, uhm, HISTORY.
Outlander, with very little ties to events in history other than the time periods and both wars mentioned in each one respectively, is easy to fall into as relatively accurate. As someone who’s fairly well versed in Scottish history, especially, this series makes me happy because everyone involved did a LOT of research into making the show as realistic as possible.
Though White Queen is a fictional series based on the historical events of the War of Roses, it is clearly an attempting to be as faithful as possible to the cultural and visual traits of the time (minus that one scene where the ancient castle outdoor steps has a modern safety handrail, and the occasional use of witchcraft, but we’ll forgive that).
Reign, on the other hand, really makes no attempt at historical accuracy in any sense. It’s got magic in most major plotlines, the events in nearly every episode follow no historically based fact, and for the love of all things holy FRANCIS DIES AT 16. THEY WERE LITERALLY KING AND QUEEN FOR LESS THAN TWO YEARS.
But I digress.
The biggest thing about Reign that bothered me, at first, was the costuming. I’m well aware, it bothers a lot of people. I’ve read a TON of hilariously rant-tastic articles on it, namely here and here. Because, while Outlander and White Queen aren’t exactly historical reenactments, they’re a decent attempt at re-creating the looks that were common during the periods they are set.
And don’t get me wrong, Reign has had its moments of costuming GLORY. Like, I would die to have these dresses at Faire.
But let’s take a moment to inspect some of the less…respectable moments of costuming in this particular show.
Oh, the mermaid dress…the costumers from the show have said a few times since its premier in the fall of ’13 that they are not trying to focus on being historically accurate, but more on taking the “feeling” of the time and translating that with more modern pieces. Obviously, you can see that, on the far right.
There have been moments, however, when I’ve been less hateful of some of the more modern outfits – when they’re genuinely a more modern translation of a REAL look of renaissance women – something that covers more, doesn’t show every crurve and is still fashionable.
Angry Mary is angry. With good reason. Francis is kind of a jerk most of the time.
Again, I digress.
So, today, I was tasked with reading one of my writing pieces for a final presentation in my Creative Writing class. This one, from the perspective of a Scottish noblewoman. Of course, being me, I wanted to read it in dialect (accent), but I wanted to take it a step further.
Obviously, I couldn’t exactly walk around campus looking like this.
I mean, I could. But I didn’t have the stormtroopers on hand. And let’s be honest, did I really want to be that girl that wore a hoop skirt to class? I’d be lucky if I could find a chair to sit in.
No, I couldn’t do that. So, I did something I never thought I would do. I took a page from Reign‘s book, and mixed Renaissance sensibilities with modern fashions.
I must say I had many weird looks, but it went so well with my presentation and recieved a LOT of compliments as I went about my day as usual.
I think I need to start dressing like TV characters more often.