Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

A Day In The Life


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Okay, been having an interesting discussion on the REAL behind the scenes of a TV show or a movie. Not much for the blooper real. Ron and I were just talking about those and how you might find a few of those out of THOUSANDS of hours of footage. Neither of us never know what to say when some interviewer asks us, “Who is the biggest prankster on your show?? Tell us something funny that happened on set”

Want to see what it is really like? Let’s start with an EASY day. Today. It is Sunday. The Office is closed, which means there are no fires to put out, or tsunamis to escape. I can actually get some work done getting costumes for the show.

I need to buy about 225 – 300 costumes for the 1960s. I need to dress men, women and children, for a street scene in fall/winter, head to toe. I need to chose the palette and tone, create a world the audience can believe. Today.

Want to try? See how long it takes you. Make sure you have a range of sizes, and don’t forget accessories, stockings, gloves, hats, purses, etc.

Ebay, Etsy, random online shops??? You have all day, but if you have to, you can push into next week as well, but it will be harder, because the fires and tsunami’s are distracting.

Have FUN!!!!






21 thoughts on “A Day In The Life

  1. Cynthia Crane

    I can definitely see how that – and undoubtedly a lot of other BTS (somewhat mundane) duties – would get very old after a while. And frustrating. I do a good bit of lot of online shopping, much of it a fruitless effort. Still, its better than the alternative. It is an eye-opener to follow you and learn a bit of the REAL story behind what it takes to make a fabulous show like Outlander come together so wonderfully. Your fans appreciate your sharing so very much, as we’ve told you time and time again. But honestly, from my too quiet life as an independent artist in small town USA (where I feel very out-of-place, having recently been forced to relocate from a large city and 32 yrs of friends and family) your life seems so much more interesting and full. I really really hope that after you spend a few hours of uninterrupted work today, that you and Ron can escape for some of that fresh air and beauty that is Scotland, which for me can only be experienced in pretty pics on the Internet.

  2. mcmarep

    And I am assuming you have to do all this with some type of budget restraint? All I have to say is WOW. This is why we should never, ever get rid of old clothing as we can sell it (or donate it) to costume designers. Good luck with this huge task.

  3. martasullivan2014

    The 60s in the US were a time of major change. This was the beginning of the ‘Hippie’ era, mini-skirts, and shift dresses. I wonder what it was like in the UK and Scotland. I think that I remember that in the book, it was the late 60s. Women were also wearing hose and high heels. Hmm. It will be interesting to see how you dress your cast. If it’s winter, they will be mostly covered. I was in college at the time and made my own shift dresses. We didn’t wear jeans to school at that time.

    1. nolakate

      I always laugh – or shudder – when I see school kids today, and high school is worse! Irish nuns weren’t the only ones who made you kneel to see where the skirt hit! and hose – remember this is before pantyhose so you also had a girdle or garter belt. so comfortable!

  4. nolakate

    does the fact that there are still patterns from that time available help at all? ( I have several in my stash). Claire wasn’t a hippie but Boston was a little out there.

  5. annalapping

    I remember wearing a panty girdle to hold up my stockings! I think pantyhose first came out in my Freshman year at college 1964-’65. Good luck today, Terry.

  6. marthatrulock

    Thank goodness, your husband and Starz Sony have you there doing what you do so well. Really appreciate all the work that you do and the time it takes to do it.

  7. labmaden

    I VOLUNTEER!!!! Seriously!

    Do you have local interns working with you? For example, doing internet searches?

    I certainly have no real understanding of costuming for the epic show, Outlander, but I can understand your day. I will be working later today at the hospital and some days we are just running. No eating. No bathroom breaks. Just our passion and compassion carrying us through!

    Love your costuming, Terry, et al. I wish the screen could truly portray/convey all the splendor you create.
    Regards, Lisa

      1. Lisa

        My daughter is 14 and is working on her first high school production in wardrobe for Les Mis! She makes her own costumes for cosplay as well. (I really need to take pics of her process!) What tickles me most is her homemade dress form she made out of duct tape and stuffing! I’m really enjoying her creativity and resourcefulness! I imagine that does not change even on “big budget” shows like Outlander. Keep doing what you do and breathe that crisp Scottish air today.

  8. Katiscotch22

    The UK was way ahead of the USA when it came to 1960’s fashions – Mary Quant and all that. Mid 60’s “knee peeper” (skirt just above the knee and quite the shocker) were the in” style in the UK. They soon gave way by the late 60’s to the micro mini as well as midi length (coats that swept the floor). Capes were also very fashionable. Low chunky heeled shoes with shorter skirts. Higher heels with the traditional mid knee length skirt. Hats weren’t a big thing in the UK anyway. Gloves, shoes and purses had to match. Lots of checks and plaids and paisley were trendy. 3/4 length Leather coats were also in style as were bell bottom pants that actually had bells sewn onto the legs of the pants from the knee down. Oh what fun looking back!!

  9. southernlassie

    Well it didn’t take me long to get bogged down & headed in another direction (attention deficit kicked in). But mostly the things I saw were from early 60’s not 1968. The items I saw that looked appropriate, were very similar to what is in fashion today. However, I didn’t come across any pantsuits that were very popular with professional women in late 60’s.
    You have a tough job & I’m glad you like doing it, because I would never be able to make the right choices.

    1. southernlassie

      I sent a comment earlier that apparently I failed hit the right place to send . I was wondering if you could explain what the glass cylinder with brass fittings at each end with a pendant like attachment on one end is & what is it for? (From the Gellis palate you posted)
      I can’t tell what is inside the cylinder.
      Southern lassie

  10. LisaW

    My God! It takes me forever when I am just trying to find one item on Ebay or Etsy for myself, never mind hundreds of people. So that’s what a Sunday “down day” looks like for you. 🙁

  11. Hazel

    Hello, well I’m a day out here sorry, but if I’d been shopping yesterday for 60’s outfits or accessories on a Sunday here in Scotland – before I hit the websites – I’d have trawled Byres Road Vintage shops on Ruthven Lane especially ( just off Byres Road) and Charity shops on Byres Rd itself, all open on Sunday plus other city centre shops – in Glasgow that is. Tons of 60’s ‘gear’ ! I was in a few and saw them a few weeks ago. I know it’s easier to buy online comfortably especially bulk buys but if you were looking for a few good character pieces this area of Glasgow is great for retro stuff. Also the ‘Granny Would be Proud’ fair has loads of dealers selling 60’s minis/maxis, crimpolene etcc… hats shoes wigs glasses you name it held in Hillhead Book Club on Sundays (code for glorified superb pub on two levels) or in Glasgow Art School Vic cafe on Saturdays! Great places to visit in Glasgow if you visit – THEN if I’d not got enough would I cosy up to the websites and shop some more…..
    Oh and just took my twin daughters (age 23) to visit two elderly gentlemen who were selling off their mothers clothes locally – I’m in Ayrshire – honestly there were clothes there from 50’s onwards … she had over 200 black skirts size 8 &10 every length shape etc,,, – the house, loft was FULL of clothes some never worn – she never threw anything out – wonderful but sad too.
    If you want details lmk….. I know he’s started passing things onto Vintage places in Glasgow…..
    So good luck with it all Terri,
    Hazel in Scotland (out of lurking mode)

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