Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: Episode 108


The best thing about the costumes for Episode 108 was that both periods were so well represented. In a single episode we have the debonaire (if disheveled) Frank, grimy Angus, the Road Gang looking a bit frayed around the edges and like they could each do with a bath and change of clothes (with Claire and Ned remaining, in character, tidy and professional looking), Hugh looking like he’d sprung directly from the rocks, Mrs. Graham’s housedresses, and the adorable Roger’s suit. Each character’s costumes anchor him or her to time and position in the story and in their lives. I’ve never understood fully before how much costuming can, potentially, add to a film. In Outlander we see that potential fulfilled.

The costumes for Tobias are a great example. As Frank sinks into despair, he becomes more disheveled. As he resolves to leave Inverness and start his life anew in Oxford we see the razor-sharp creases return. Randall’s generally more unkempt look reflects the darkness in which he dwells. A truly good man would be, we know in our hearts, tidier, cleaner, more couth. This is a man who shaves in front of a woman, a man whose personal habits reflect the contempt with which he holds others. And his uniform, while proper and expensive, is just a bit off — just a bit uncomfortable to him.

As a viewer, I see the costumes and marvel at them individually and as an ensemble. But from Terry’s description, I know the team doesn’t have he luxury of designing and making the costumes for each episode as a unit like you might on a movie. The costumes for Episode 108 include outfits, like those of the Road Gang, that carry from one episode to another, while others of the costumes are purpose-made for this episode. And it sounds like the costumes for the entire 8-episode block had to be made betwixt and between — in and around one-another as story lines developed, as parts were cast, and as craftspeople and materials became available.

I am learning a good deal from reading your blog, Terry, and I’m enjoying your generous sharing of processes and materials. I wish you an enjoyable Hiatus, busy as it will be!