Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer



I have put the close up shot in twice as some have asked about the trim we made for Colum’s coat.

10 thoughts on “Colum

  1. andeesings

    I noticed in your blog post below you speak about Gary really wanting to make sure his costumes reflect a certain feeling- and in the podcast you talk about discussing with Gary that delicious quilted fur coat Colum wears (and Lotte changing things up a bit)- so it got be thinking about your process specifically working with the actors. Where do you bring them in to the process? I’m only semi-professional, but it’s been different every time for me and often I get only the barest of input. Where do you involve your actors? Do they see your sketches? Do you have conversations with them before you even sketch things? Have any of them said, “Terry this doesn’t feel quite right can you change it because X, Y, Z?” How much leeway do you give them, and how much pushback do you allow them?

    A huge “Brava!” To you and your fantastic crew- costumes are my greatest joy watching television and the fabric choices especially have me melting down more than once an episode. I’m loving the HD viewings, because the DETAIL and TEXTURE you can see on the pieces is so spectacular (though I’m sure it’s more of a pain for you- then again they probably would’ve been that detailed anyway knowing you and you’re just glad we get to see it!!!) I just melt down at least a few times an episode just sighing over the work, and I love how you talk about it in the Podcast. I’m especially loving how much attention you give the extras. I just love watching them.

    The fan interaction with you has honestly been one of the GREATEST joys for me as Outlander comes to life- thank you so, so much.

    1. terrydresbach

      Just spoke about this on the last podcast. The actors are involved every step of the way. The Costume Department is usually the first place they come on a show, except for preliminary meetings with the show runner (TV) or director (film). We develop the character together. By the time we get together I have probably done more research, and given more thought to the character then they have at that point in the process, and had more meetings with relevant folk. But the actor has to BECOME that character, wear them like a new skin, so they have to feel like my ideas are right for where and how they want to go. Then we continue to work very closely throughout the production, continuing to craft costumes to support the story along the way. You don’t want the audience to feel like they are “seeing” costumes, you want them to feel like they are “clothes. But in truth they are costumes carefully planned and constructed to support the character and the story.Without the actors direct participation, for me it doesn’t work, but actors tell me that is not always the way it is done. I only know the way I do it.

      1. Connie Sandlin (@Yr_Obt_Svt)

        As several of us, including me, have commented before, it DOES seem that we are just watching people wearing their _clothes_, NOT people doing “make believe” in costumes that hang on their bodies without matching who they really are inside. These actors, in these garments, make this story _real_.

        Your costume design for Outlander has us engaging with the PEOPLE (characters, if you absolutely must), not their outer trappings. We, the viewers who are long-time fans, can throw ourselves into the story and then come back and re-view and observe this magical transformation, wrought partially by the costuming and other visual components. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this is just making this journey more fun and intriguing, and more so than we ever dreamed. Thanks again, Terry.

  2. Brenda Cunningham (@PunkiBrenda)

    Rich (not in money) that is the term for entire look to him…The details, coloring and use of them are done in such a way it speaks strength! Though he suffers from his condition you are brought to the power of this man and not his weakness….Says so much of the actor but the design chosen for him is so very very perfect. Once again the clothing adds so very much to the character…..As with all of the designs so far well done well planned well designed and sewn with awesomeness!!!

  3. Connie Sandlin (@Yr_Obt_Svt)

    Descriptors of Colum that come to mind just from looking at these photos/portraits:

    powerful, commanding presence, assured, confident, dignified, not-to-be-trifled-with, important, canny, piercing gaze, stately

    Those are just off the top of my head. Do any of those match what you were going for?

  4. andeesings

    It’s interesting to know the actors tell you that isn’t always how it’s worked for them in the past- and how it’s specifically your process. It’s fascinating to me how much you collaborate and work with them. Thanks for the glimpse- I think it’s interesting how the actors specifically inform the clothes and how the clothes inform the character. I always feel better in my costume. I have about a thousand more questions but I’ll quit bugging you for now! Suffice it to say I’d love to be a fly on the wall for those initial costume consultations!

  5. pogonip

    Watching the show, it never looks to me like anyone is wearing a costume. I think Graham said when he goes to work, he doesn’t feel he’s on a set, but that he’s in the 18th Century. Lotte said much the same thing, IIRC. The clothing is part of the person, the world in which that person lives, and is not dress-up or fancy dress for play-acting.

    The men get the best of this deal, I think, as the kilt is a tremendously freeing, versatile garment, where the women are encased in multiple layers, some with no practical function whatsoever. This speaks to the time and the way things were for men and women in that time, doesn’t it? I think if I were tasked with acting in this show, the clothing and the locations (including sets) would be a huge help to getting into the rĂ´le.

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