Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

The End, and A New Beginning…





First of all I want to take this moment to say how incredibly proud I am to work on this show. It is not an easy one, as I have pointed out many times. But not only is it an amazing chance to do incredibly creative work (OMG, just wait for Season 2), but to work on something that has such integrity. Not only creative integrity, but human integrity. That credit is shared by many, but at the helm is a man who not only has incredible personal integrity, but the ability to infuse his work with the same. Every show he works on is an exploration of the human condition. Not only what separates us, but what brings us together. He comes back again and again in all of his work to an exploration of humanity and all its shades of grey, always nuanced, never black and white,  never absolute. We are all human, with nothing more than circumstance and chemistry creating different paths for each of us.

He tackled difficult themes in Outlander, and did it with bravery and steadfastness, a commitment to the themes of the books so many of us have loved for many years, but with a commitment to the audience, their intelligence and their ability to look deep into the dark places that often reside in humanity, without flinching. Respect. Respect for the material, for the characters and for all of us.

Thank you Ron.


Okay, onto the costumes. There are only a few really, in Episode Sixteen, but they are hugely important.

The first one’s is Claire’s. The minute I knew we were going to put Claire in men’s clothing for The Search, I knew I had to put her in the trews and shirt for the end. She is a woman of the 40’s, a woman who wore a uniform in the field hospital, a woman who was part of that very special generation of women who had to “wear the pants”, and do “men’s work”, while men (and women) fought and died in the war.  They manned the factories, built the machinery, and kept the infrastructure going.

It only made sense to me that Claire’s instinct at this moment in time, when she was going to fight her own war, fight to rescue the man she loves from certain death, would instinctively be to pull on her “pants”. She would not  put on the heavy cumbersome skirts and restrictive corset, but would strip down to clothing that would allow her, once again, to get the job done, to face down and fight death itself.

There she stands on that road, ready for battle.


Jamie in the monastery. If you look carefully, you will see the monks wearing this garment while tending the  gardens and working in the hospital.


They give one to Jamie. It is a garment that provides him with modesty, and allows them to tend to his wounds. I also wanted his costumes to both reflect and join together. I wanted a kind of purity, costumes that said nothing, that would allow nothing but the emotional place these characters have to find together.



oCWSIYyu0dY0OAJpauHwUFfk6NZbZk6-Wz_rUVDSGb4_edited-1Finally on the other side of that moment is survival and a new beginning.Our characters are given new clothes, by the monks. What was left of their clothes, is left behind. If you think about it, what would they have had? Claire’s trousers and shirt. And Jamie? What did he take from Wentworth, except more scars?

They embark on a new journey, a new beginning, and we accompany them. Paris awaits.

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48 thoughts on “The End, and A New Beginning…

  1. peggyvanslp

    Thanks, Terry, for taking the time to post this. Especially this: “We are all human, with nothing more than circumstance and chemistry creating different paths for each of us.” Truly.

    As always, your comments about the costumes, like Bear’s about the music, add insight and dimension to what is seen and heard when we are sitting in the relative luxury of our living rooms. Beyond experiencing a first-rate production of “entertainment”, we are treated to the result of thoughtful production and execution of great professionals.

    Please celebrate today (comments on Twitter notwithstanding) and sleep well. Many congratulations to entire staff and crew.

  2. elizlk

    Excellent work by the entire team! Thanks for doing all you do, and being on the team bringing these books to the screen.
    Enjoy the triumph and I look forward to your S2 creations?

  3. martasullivan2014

    You, and Ron, are SO appreciated by your fans. I try to describe this show to my friends and it is almost impossible to talk about its elegance and special qualities. Keep on the good work. I would still like to go fabric shopping with you in London. Hmm.

  4. call_me_sassenach

    “We are all human, with nothing more than circumstance and chemistry creating different paths for each of us.”
    AMEN! I think that bodes true for both you and Ron, Jamie and Claire and many others out there ……when people follow their hearts and follow that path, it leads to great things.

  5. jennmc725

    I am in love with this show! It’s such a Continual Joy to see my favorite books come to life. I love JAMMF (who doesn’t) but even more I love Claire in her trousers. Makes me want to be fearless every day.

  6. Katiscotch22

    Thank you Terry for the wonderful clothes and Ron for giving us long time Outlander lovers a chance to see our beloved characters in the flesh. It’s been a blast. Can’t wait for Season 2.

  7. Trish

    Thanks again Terry for all your incredible work, and for sharing some of your thought processes with us here. I loved the plainness of both Jamie and Claire in those shifts in the monastery, and the lighting that added so much to the feel of the scene. I think you are completely right about Claire in her trousers too-those dresses would have just been a pain with what she needed to do. My goodness those actors need a huge amount of congratulations as well. It was an amazing finale, and an incredible season one. I know you are hard at work already on season two, but hope you find a little bit of space to enjoy what you have already created xx

  8. SusanCG

    Thank you so much, Terry, for your vision in bringing these characters to life via the meticulously expressive articles of clothing. Thank you to Ron for his own gifts and for assembling such a talented group of writers and directors and production staff. But, mostly, thank you both for the respect and love for this story that so obviously came through in every episode. It was worth waiting over twenty years to see these books come to the screen, and the wait for a new season will be made easier to bear knowing that the story is in such good hands.

  9. Brooke

    Dear Terry, please tell Ron thank you from this side, too. And thank YOU for making it visually AMAZING. I gotta say, though, on my second watch of 116, I noticed Willie’s trews. Damn, if those aren’t fantastic!!! Too bad we couldn’t see more of them. I would to see those on a mannequin if you are able. BRAVO!!!

  10. LisaW

    I can’t begin to tell you of the respect I have for you and Ron. “Thank you” seems such a small way of saying how I feel about what you two have created for us fans. But I say Thank You! Thank You!

  11. woolfarmgal

    Do you have the feeling that you are on a divine journey? One that you get to share with your husband? How wonderful! And how generous of you to share it with us-fans of the show..fans of the costumes..fans of the book and the rich stories and characters. You help to bring them to life…you provide a starting point for the actors to begin..to visualize who their characters are. Thank you for your brilliance. And for touching the part of your soul that speaks to your calling.

  12. Judie

    Your words about Ron brought me to tears. It’s overwhelming to me the amount of work that has gone into this series and he and you and everyone deserve every award! Thanks to Ron for having his vision about Outlander – and thank you to everyone involved.

  13. crzyqlt

    Thank you, and please thank Ron and all the crew, for bringing this dream to reality. Faithfully, artistically and with such attention to detail. The amount of work is mind boggling for the few hours of episodes that flew by. So looking forward to more, and can’t wait to see the red dress!

  14. Connie Sandlin

    The same comment I make every time, I think: THANK YOU! And by the way, what about those boots Claire was wearing??? Were those made for Caitriona especially for this scene? She looked great in the trews, but I was surprised that Fr. Anselm or other monks didn’t seem to blink at her attire!

  15. Michele

    There were so many moments I absolutely loved and I am going to miss seeing a new Outlander each week. The sets and costumes are part of my favorite things about the show. But I think my favorite shot of the whole series is Jamie and Claire holding each other on the ship. I don’t know why it’s different, but that dark coat and dark cloak make both of them look so incredible. I am really looking forward to Paris!

  16. ellenchristine

    Denouement. It’s the end, and not. As you so graciously and poetically share with us all the moments behind, around, above and beyond, we almost live the life with you. Sharing, as they say, is caring, and as today is World Outlander Day, may I take a moment to say “thank you” for caring enough about the fans, the watchers, the stalkers, the possessed. Those of us on this side of the fence are having a ball! May Season Two prove to be happier, not more harrowing, and provide you and your crew with 5 minutes now and again to breathe. Buttons or no buttons, you’ve got it all sewed up!

  17. betsyg

    Thank you Terri and Ron! Not only for your tireless work and dedication to bring our favorite book to screen but also for sharing all the behind the scenes knowledge with the fans. We appreciate the time you give to us because time is so precious when you work with the dedication that is shines through on Outlander. Terri, the costuming in episode 116 was notable. It too portrayed the lightness and darkness. As always with this show there was dirt and grime and nothing clean about that cell except the perfect red of BJR uniform. Thank you to your crew for the hours it must take to make clothing appear to have been beaten and ravaged and to allow that precious shirt to be ripped off his back … not sure how many Jaime shirts you had to make but I’m sure it was many! Claire in the trews was just perfect…her strength was evident! Can’t wait for the opulence to come!

  18. Purl99

    What a thoughtful and respectful post. The Thank-you’s are really from the fans…THANK YOU for taking on this project! Your husband speaks often of the fearlessness of the actors but WE all know its the fearlessness of the entire crew. Like Ron I hadn’t read the books until about 5 years or so ago and my first thought was: This needs to be a TV series, no other ideas would work. I am constantly surprised at the work being done on this show including the costumes which tell the story too.
    Yes, you ALL are fearless and WE the audience must thank you for that over and over!!!

    It will be a long year to wait until the show resumes in 2016…however, I know that the hard work you all do will be worth it.

    Vive la France!

  19. larrouxgirl

    “…circumstance and chemistry…” Each of us unique, all of us the same. Exactly right. I loved what you and your gifted husband made of this story. Just scrolling through the images, a slideshow of the reality you two — all of you — created, made me a little sad that this part is no longer fresh and new, but we’re headed to Paris and a new chapter, one you’re making right now. Thank you hardly says it. Wishing you peace and grace and long life to continue to make dreams real for folk who haven’t quite the juice to do it for themselves.

  20. LynnLouise

    Respect, integrity, thoughtfulness….. I truly am drawn to this show for all of you have such respect for the material, the cast, the crew and one another. Thank you for being such role models in the industry and providing your fans with your time, creativity and thoughts. Your fans feel apart of this amazing experience and we are delighted. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and so looking forward to 2016. Peace and blessings always.

    1. This post really sums up my feelings on being part of this blog. I have never taken the time to be part of something like this, and as Beth Wesson coined it ” her maiden voyage into fandom”……. that has been the experience for me. My husband tells me that I have an uncanny ability to intuitively know when a song will win a Grammy, an actor an Oscar, or a building to be recognized as an architectural masterpiece. I felt this feeling the very first episode of Outlander. For me, it has gone way beyond my love for color and fiber and costume design. Not only have I appreciated Terry’s time in sharing her creativity and thoughts, but I have enjoyed the thoughtfulness and integrity of those that post their thoughts in this format. Thanks to you all!

  21. rynawolfe

    Terry – the tribute to Ron was beautiful and I’m so glad you did it! I will say this with absolute honesty and hope you can receive it as it is meant. I love you guys – the work you do is incredible but you are such an great example of what a relationship CAN be. Thank you for being who and what you are with no apologies. Namaste.

  22. jhclancy

    You and Ron make such an amazing team! I look forward to what the two of you as well as the amazing cast and crew will bring to season two. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to making this beyond our wildest dreams and sharing the journey with us!

  23. kathleenlynagh

    Looking forward to the new costumes and new jewelry. I never read the books. So I do not know what to expect in the next season. Once I have seen the whole season I plan to read the books. Using the imaginary from your creation I can not wait to start the books.

  24. Sweetredhead

    Thank you Terry for doing such a wonderful job of being truthful to the time period and making Outlander real. As a fan of the books I am over the top happy with what you and Ron have done to make this world come to life. Forever a fan of both of you!

  25. Qwertysd01

    The care that you and Ron have taken with this saga is extraordinary. THANK YOU!!!

    You are appreciated and respected more than you could know.

  26. myjobeautiful

    I cannot begin to express to you just how much this story means to me. I often tell people that I didn’t “find” Outlander, that it found me & helped me in ways I can’t even begin to put into words. It reminded me of the strong woman that I had once been & gave me the strength to become her once again.
    What artists like yourself, (Ron, Cait, Diana, Sam, Tobias) do is nothing short of magic. You have taken a well loved & intimate story & brought it to life. Ron, Diana & the writers with words. You with unencumbered beauty.
    Bravo Terry we love you xx

  27. sandyknc

    Thanks for this post, Terry. Your costumes were amazing in all 16 episodes. I have learned a lot about costuming this year from reading your blog. I loved seeing some of your costumes close up at the UK Gathering. I really enjoyed meeting you and your team. Everyone is so talented!

    Ron and the rest of his team have done a phenomenal job with Outlander! Like you, I started reading Diana’s books many years ago and have reread more times than I can recall. I am looking forward to season 2! Excuse me now….it’s time to start my umpteenth reread of a Dragonfly in Amber.

  28. SueBriody

    An Outlander fan since I purchased my first book when it was relegated to the “Romance Section” at the drugstore, I am proud to have urged everyone I knew to share the best historical fiction I’ve ever encountered. An admirer of Ron’s life’s work and his “exploration of the human condition” I couldn’t be more thrilled with what he and the collaboration of like-minded artists have accomplished with my favorite author’s passion. Thank you for exceeding my wildest expectations!

  29. Outlander4ever

    I fell in love with these books almost 20 years ago & to see it finally brought to life is beyond thrilling. Thank you to everyone that makes this such an awesome show!

    Love, love, love this show!! The attention to detail, especially your costumes is totally mind-blowing. Every time I see the back of Claire’s wedding dress I am mesmerized by all the gathering of the material. Glad I wasn’t the one to have to sew it! LOL Loved Claire in her “big girl” trews.

    I do have a question. The stockings that we have at times seen Claire wearing…. would they have been knitted back in the day? If so were they hand or machine knitted for the show? I don’t know they could be held up with ribbon?!

    Thanks again for all your hard work.

  30. bwismer5

    I could not fail to add my own congratulations and gratitude to you and Ron both, for the incredible, beautiful, amazing job you have all done in bringing these beloved books to life. I have said this all season, that your creativity and attention to detail – that of the entire team that Ron and Maril assembled – has realized this story even better than the one that has lived in my imagination for the last 20 years. It has been an absolute joy to experience and I am very much looking forward to the next seasons (yes, plural!). And in the meantime I will be watching and re-watching this season. I know that the media aspect of this must seem at times like drudgery, but you all need to know how much it is appreciated by all of us. Social media, blogs, posts, twitter, interviews – it’s all just wonderful and we so appreciate your sharing of your process and your thoughtful insights. It is just grand! Thank you again for all your hard work, your creativity, and your generous sharing with us.

  31. Pingback: A True Fan’s Review of #Outlander Episode 116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL | Candida's Musings

  32. velosewer

    I love the books and have read them multiple times. I keep reading them.
    What you and Ron and the Outlander team have done is told the story with lots of depth on screen. I’ve loved the costumes and the detailing you’ve included. Each piece is really fine work. I could go on.
    I knew the final episode was going to be dark and intense but I’ve watched it once and that’ll be it for a while. You’ve all told this story so well. This story is not a piece of fluff and the work involved in the final episode/s as well as series one have been really worth watching each week. I’m going to miss it – until season 2.
    Today I was really inspired by the fabric peek you put on twitter and felt a spark of joy again.
    Thank you to you and your team for bringing this story to life through your costumes – every single piece.

  33. Tisah

    Good morning, Terry. I have just now found your blog. I look forward to perusing it and gaining all kinds of knowledge…truly. What can be said about the costumes that hasn’t already been said? Award-winning to be sure. I look forward to the second season as I’m sure you will have great challenges along the way and I’m also sure you will pull it off in spades. You are a genius! On a side note…I was inspired by your work and knitted myself a Claire shrug and I can’t wait for the weather to turn cold enough to wear it this fall and winter. Best wishes to you and the entire ensemble called Outlander for the upcoming Season 2.

  34. @punkiBrenda

    Strength…..All of it from every single word by DG to the onscreen performance brought to us by very gifted people. A story,, words show that is in many hearts for many different reasons praise to and for all involved is not enough but to say that a truly felt Thank You being given hope will do I do not watch many shows truth I think much of TV these days is crap. oops sorry IMO this was done with a most important aspect…. the ones doing it are.fans of DG & to know how happy she is well….thats a true accomplishment in my eyes…so that being said THANK YOU OUTLANDER peeps ALL of you you brought a fullness to my heart with a story I love for so many reasons. Terry you my hard working lady are precious a full plate is not enough to describe your juggling you do, you have given of yourself in so many ways and have taught many of us so much you and Ron are a true strength together and have given much of yourselves to please a huge huge audience….Thank You, THANK YOU to all that brought it to us.

  35. Rebecca Hoffman


    I think what I admire most about you isn’t your ability to make PHENOMENAL garments (though you do an extraordinarily admirable job) but your ability to think beyond the piece. Everything seems to have a reason behind it, right down to the button or placement of hand embroidery. What you do is a true art form. The reason that you are so good at it is because you see the whole picture. You aren’t doing it just to make something look pretty or cool. Ron does amazing work with adaption and cameras but your work is what brings the story to life. When the actors put on your pieces, we believe they are who they are and “when” they are.

    Yours in awe,

  36. OldEarthVoodoo

    Witnessing your work has sent electricity down to the very tips of my fingers and I wanted to say that I am in awe of your designs. There is such a delicate balance to what you create – your costumes are nothing short of magnificent – few, I would imagine, possess the ability of conjuring such a translation of time in the form of clothed magic.
    You’re quite the inspiration…I’ve always been intrigued seeing such a driving force and have to ask – where did this wild story of yours begin and how did it develop into a world transcending the ages? How did you make a go of it? It is obvious you have mad talent and were most likely picked up immediately…There must be some sort of order, a process by which the designer world turns, but am totally curious how one would get their toes wet…
    With light and gratitude,
    R. Kwinn

  37. saraelizabeth

    I know that we will never meet and I am but a nameless face in the crowd of people who adore the work of you and your partner…but I can easily say that one of the things that puts me on the outs with friends and family is my adoration of all things grey. No, not that rubbish 50 shades of it but more….what comes in between? The moment just before the quick inhale and grateful exhale…what happens in between? How can you be a just person and not feel sorry for people who’ve done terrible things (because it is a cycle they know not how to break) or victims in various situations. How to feel sorry for a killer without losing sympathy for the victims. My inability to class things as always being “this or that” has lead to some heated arguments. But I crave what’s unsaid. What people worry and leave behind for fear of being proper. I want the cracks to show and the frayed hems of life to appear everywhere. For people to willingly shed ideals of perfection and actually honestly respond when someone asks, “How are you doing?”

    But maybe I’m just a crazy woman with a dream.

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