Terry Dresbach has been sharing some great inside knowledge this season. Although she officially left Outlander design department last winter, she has been staying on with the @OutlanderCostum Twitter feed through the airing of Season 4. As you can guess, she gets inundated with a lot of costume information requests. For episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, Dresbach shared some more information on costuming design for Brianna and Young Ian. The series has been getting a great deal of praise, while at the same time getting a lot of fans questioning design. As always, the design team at the series goes through extensive research for all characters and what would be available to them.
Shared for this episode is the thought process that goes behind designing for each character, including more costume design and character boards. For example, Brianna goes through a huge emotional and personal journey to meet her parents in the past. She grabs clothing around her as she gets to Fraser’s Ridge. It is also a very modern young woman’s thing to do, borrow clothing. Costuming a newly arrived traveler from the future meant thinking like the character would. Brianna was given a trunk of Claire’s old clothing, and we see the reuse of some costumes from Season 1 and 2. Much of this is based in fact, what would have been available. Clothes were often handed to the next generation and considered property. And many people in families made their own clothing or made for others. There wasn’t a tailor on every corner, or a shop to purchase as we do today. Bespoke was for the wealthy and in large cities. Colonials for the most part were poor immigrants, and as a colony, resources were taken from the colony by the British and goods such as woven fabric were shipped back and heavily taxed. Average people had one set of clothes, maybe an extra shirt or petticoat, but many things were reused and mended constantly, and borrowed.
Assimilation should also be taken into account. As colonists came, they may adapt the clothing of the natives, namely skins and hides, into their own clothing. If the native people have been surviving there so long, it would only make sense. It was also a world of trade and bartering systems. You could get what you needed if you could trade, and it was also a way to escape taxation. Young Ian has spent a great deal of time with the Indian population and begins to adapt their clothing and take as his own style, as many of the Mountain Men did for survival and acceptance of culture.
Images provided by Terry Dresbach