Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Tag Archives: 1940s

Claire and Frank wedding



We really wanted to indicate the war years, before and after. Claire and Frank are getting married just as the war is breaking out, and while there is still optimism in the air, it is a more somber time. Ron wanted the clothes to be very faded as in an old photo, so we used tones of grey and brown. But Claire is in love, and it shows up in her jaunty little hat, tipped over one eye. We wanted her suit to carry through some of the deco lines of the 30s, but showing the direction of women’s fashions to come during the war years. It is a very tailored, masculine style, nothing frilly or frivolous.
This suits Claire’s character very well, and tells us a lot about who she is. She is a strong and savvy young woman, filled with optimism.
The later scenes with Frank, these are the stolen moments in the midst of war, and the peachy blush color of the peignoir coveys the romance they are trying to hold onto in spite of the war that surrounds them.


Amazing video from 1941


There appears to be a glitch with this video. I am looking into it, come back and take a look later. Thanks – T.

Mood Boards


I always make mood boards for any project I am designing. I thought it might be interesting for you to see these as the season progresses.

Starting with the 40s. They are not specific images, you don’t look at it and say, “oh let me make THAT dress”, It just creates a feel, a tone, a world. I often present these boards to a director (film), or show runner (television), to give them an idea of where I want to take the costumes.

I am also including additional research images.

(btw, you all know these are galleries, and if you click on an image, it will create a larger gallery of all the images)

Claire’s Peignoir


Another requested item. Sorry, I have no picture of Claire wearing the peignoir (marvelous word, sadly rarely used). I DID very much want a peignoir, not a nightgown and robe. This represents Claire’s optimism and hope for the honeymoon that couldn’t happen because of the war. So many couples of the time had to marry¬†quickly, while one to the other partner were on leave. And you got married with the knowledge you might never see each other again. What an investment, what optimism.

And then you are reunited after a brutal war, and have to try to push all that you have experienced and get back to normal?? What is that?

But there must have been a tremendous longing in so many women to rekindle and connect to some sort of hope and romance. Claire certainly speaks about trying to make that connection to Frank, in the book. I always imagined that she might decide to buy herself a new suit and a new peignoir. I wanted her to have seen some picture of an actress in a glamorous peignoir, and decide to buy it, completely out of character, just like the vase. A glamorous peignoir, a symbol of love and hope for a very practical and down to earth woman.


I am including some of my research images.

Claire’s Blue Coat




Adding some research pictures I used designing the coat.