Once Upon A Time Costumes

The dress makes the man

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A Regal Look

Something I couldn’t help noticing in the newest episodes of Once is how much Emma and Henry’s clothing seems to echo Regina’s look.

I don’t think this is accidental, because Regina was the one to plant the happy ending ideal on them. Not just a happy ending, but her idea of what would make them happy: a nice home, a happy son, playing together, doing stuff together.

And some of that has carried over into the taste in clothing, because the Emma we saw in season one and two would never have worn skirts and heels like that, except when working. We saw her in a slinky dress, and that was as part of a sting. She rarely wore skirts at all. She was also inclined to fitted trousers, boots, and more masculine clothing.

Now, her clothing is not just feminine, but high-collared, dark, ruffle-edged. It’s almost Evil Queen-ish in tone and colour. Emma in Storybrooke in S1 was all pants and vests and red leather coat. When she found her family, it was softer layers of clothing, but still fitted and trousers, and no skirts that I can recall. But this? This is not her clothing style at all, as far as we have seen. And look! Black leather gloves!

And the colours: all black and red. That’s old school Evil Queen colour. Even Henry is wearing a lot of red in his wardrobe. It’s a sign that some part of Regina is still there with them. She imprinted the happy ending on them, and it’s her ideal happy ending, so a little bit of her has carried through into how Emma is living that happy ending, if only in the wardrobe.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts regina mills emma swan henry mills ouat spoilers

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Nova and the Blue Fairy

I was going to do just Nova, on request, but the more I looked at both these costumes, the more I found the comparisons interesting.

Nova and Blue’s costumes are very similar in basic design: tutu’s love-child with a jelly-fish. However, it’s the difference that caught my eye, from even just the shape and size of the flowers right down to the shoes they both wear.

The way I interpret the costumes is a lot to do with symbolising age and/or power:

Blue has large, blooming flowers that almost entirely cover her shoulders, her necklace is equally large and impressive, and then we have the high-heeled shoes, which are definitely classed as adult shoes.

Nova on the other hand is small and dainty: her flowers are little, her shoes are flat little ballet slippers, and even her necklace isn’t as big and ostentatious. Everything about her is dainty and childlike, while Blue comes off as big, showy and making an impression.

Then we have the colours as well.

Pale blue is traditionally seen as the peaceful and serene colour, but there are also overtones of coldness in the colour. The Blue Fairy may be serene, but she’s also as cold and distant from humanity as the star that is her namesake.

Pink is stereotypically a sweet, warm, feminine colour, and I think this was used to emphatically beat us over the head that Nova is meant to ‘typically’ feminine (which bugs me, since I hate pink, but story for another day) but also the soft shades, not dark passionate pinks, indicate there’s an innocence there as well. This is the soft fluffy pink of gentleness and cotton candy. It’s also the rose-tinted glasses pink; seeing the good in everything and everyone.

There’s something childlike about her. She’s not a big fairy yet. She’s just a little girl fairy, just like Dreamy is a little boy dwarf. They’re both young and naive and innocent.

It’s also very telling that when they meet in Storybrooke that Nova is wearing the severe blues and greys of the Nuns. Dark blue is the colour of sobriety, gravity and knowledge. It’s as far from frilly and pink and ballet-slippers as possible. She even is wearing heeled shoes.

It’s not just the curse that stripped her off the sweet pinks of her youth. It was the loss of her love too.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts nova the blue fairy

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It’s come to my attention that I haven’t posted here for a while and that it’s my anniversary. So if anyone has any character they would like to see me look at, please don’t hesitate to pipe up :D Who would you like to see examined?

113 notes

lillysbitchfest:

ouatcostumes:

Regina’s Identity

Let us talk for a moment about how smothered Regina’s identity is. Almost every scene we saw of her in FTL showed that she had little opportunity to forge her own identity, to the point that she would dress herself according to the people around her.

The first time we see young Regina, she’s dressed much like her father, in breeches and a high-collared pale coat, with a similar cravat at her throat. She’s seeking her father’s praise and approval, and he grants this, because he loves her. However, he does not love her enough to defend her from her mother.

When she chooses to flee this life of oppression with Daniel, she not only downscales her wardrobe, but chooses colours almost identical to his: neutral browns and dulled blues, instead of the soft, gentle shades that her father wore. She wants to make it clear that she is bound inextricably to him now.

But when he is gone, when she is to be a Princess, she dresses to match the child who will be her step-daughter, because that is what is expected of her. She wears the dresses of a lady and a soon-to-be Queen, pure and pale and chaste and modest. (let’s not forget the scene in the crypt where both she and Daniel are dressed in pure, unsullied, innocent white)

Only once, in all of this do we see a glimpse of who she could be: when she tries to flee the palace and her mother’s influence. The riding tunic and breeches are the only time that she is not actively choosing to dress like someone who has influenced her. It is deeper red, and stronger colours than we have seen before, a sign of growing strength and passion. For a moment, she is almost not oppressed.

And then, she stumbles into the path of the man who will be her mentor and guide, and all at once, what he wears, she wears: brown leather waistcoats, soft shirts, fabrics bordering on dark and dangerous. She wants to please him, so she mimics him, dresses herself first in the golds and browns of his training room, and then in the blacks and hides that he favours as he does darker magic.

And when all of that fails her, she becomes like her mother, following the footsteps of the woman she did not wish to be like. After all, her mother was strong, so if she is like her mother, how could anyone hurt her again?

But now… now, she has the potential to become someone new, someone who does not depend on those around her to help her create her identity. Now, we might actually see Regina the person, instead of the masks she puts on to try and win favour or make her look as strong as she wants to feel.

I have to say something to what I bolded above. I love this blog but I have to call bull shit on that. Henry sr. Doesn’t defend Regina from Cora because he physically can’t! He has no magical power to make Cora stop, he’s like an 80 pound wafe married to a 350 pounds of muscle wrestler! He’s terrified of Cora and with good reason! She’s heartless and doesn’t give a damn about him! This is like saying a woman who has been beaten into submission by her husband isn’t protecting her kids because she doesn’t love them enough! It’s totally unfair! It’s more likely he doesn’t want to be murdered in front of his daughter! He wants to stop Cora, watch the scene in The Stable Boy where Regina is up in the air again, he marches over to stop Cora but then Cora gives him one look and he shrinks in on himself like a kicked dog! He’s terrified of her! This isn’t about amounts of love, this is about an abused spouse fearing his abuser is going to kill him and keep abusing his child anyway! It’s not like the fairies ran a shelter for abused spouses of magic users he could have run away with Regina to! 

I have answered this point on my other blog. My point here is that this is how Regina sees it all:

In Henry’s case, from Regina’s POV, she blames him entirely. She has a line in “The Thing You Love Most”, when the curse fails the first time she casts it: Oh, now you’re trying to protect me.

To me, this screams of the fact that she saw him as completely ineffectual when she was in trouble in the past. She couldn’t see her mother as being evil, because she loved her mother, but she could see her father as being weak, because as much as he loved her, he didn’t love her enough to do anything.

In her eyes, he’s the person who should have defended her from her mother, but instead, he just stood by as Cora pressed her into marrying the King. He backed away when Cora was torturing her. He was always passive and submissive, first with Cora, and then with Regina when she went down darker and darker roads. Look at the way she treats him in The Thing You Love Most.

No matter how bad she got, no matter how deep and dark she went, she believes the only times he tried to protect her (from other people and herself) was when things were far too late (ie. when she was locked up by Snow and destined for execution or after she had tried to cast the curse) or when she was threatening harm to him as well.

Maybe Regina didn’t think her mother was hurting her father too. In fact, he probably hid it well. Victims of long-term abuse are often very experienced at that, and Regina does have a tendency to think she’s the only victim in the whole scenario, so wouldn’t believe Henry was being treated as cruelly as she was.

To her, a parent is meant to protect and shelter a child. A parent isn’t meant to stand by or do nothing, which has been shown time and again in the way she tries to shield Henry from any danger. Unfortunately, her parenting style takes after her mother a lot more than she realises, and because of the erratic writing in S2, it’s not clear if she is still consciously aware of this (we had hints of it, but then the second half of the season happened and goodness only knows, because the characterisation of everyone went out the fricking window).

Filed under ouat thinkie thoughts Regina Mills

113 notes

Regina’s Identity

Let us talk for a moment about how smothered Regina’s identity is. Almost every scene we saw of her in FTL showed that she had little opportunity to forge her own identity, to the point that she would dress herself according to the people around her.

The first time we see young Regina, she’s dressed much like her father, in breeches and a high-collared pale coat, with a similar cravat at her throat. She’s seeking her father’s praise and approval, and he grants this, because he loves her. However, in Regina’s eyes, he does not love her enough to defend her from her mother.

When she chooses to flee this life of oppression with Daniel, she not only downscales her wardrobe, but chooses colours almost identical to his: neutral browns and dulled blues, instead of the soft, gentle shades that her father wore. She wants to make it clear that she is bound inextricably to him now.

But when he is gone, when she is to be a Princess, she dresses to match the child who will be her step-daughter, because that is what is expected of her. She wears the dresses of a lady and a soon-to-be Queen, pure and pale and chaste and modest. (let’s not forget the scene in the crypt where both she and Daniel are dressed in pure, unsullied, innocent white)

Only once, in all of this do we see a glimpse of who she could be: when she tries to flee the palace and her mother’s influence. The riding tunic and breeches are the only time that she is not actively choosing to dress like someone who has influenced her. It is deeper red, and stronger colours than we have seen before, a sign of growing strength and passion. For a moment, she is almost not oppressed.

And then, she stumbles into the path of the man who will be her mentor and guide, and all at once, what he wears, she wears: brown leather waistcoats, soft shirts, fabrics bordering on dark and dangerous. She wants to please him, so she mimics him, dresses herself first in the golds and browns of his training room, and then in the blacks and hides that he favours as he does darker magic.

And when all of that fails her, she becomes like her mother, following the footsteps of the woman she did not wish to be like. After all, her mother was strong, so if she is like her mother, how could anyone hurt her again?

But now… now, she has the potential to become someone new, someone who does not depend on those around her to help her create her identity. Now, we might actually see Regina the person, instead of the masks she puts on to try and win favour or make her look as strong as she wants to feel.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts Regina Mills ouat thinkie thoughts

43 notes

amuseoffyre:

Here’s something I had never noticed until I was doing some screengrabbing, but really, look at the parallels in this scene. It’s practically a mirror image, which tells you everything about what Regina is seeking.

She wants a strong father figure who can help her. Henry can’t do that, and Rumpelstiltskin knows it, so he plays on her needs by dressing like a darker, more shadowy echo of her father, even down to the colours and the style of his clothing. He offers her the means to take her freedom in the way her father couldn’t.

He always knew how to recognise a desperate soul after all. He dresses the part, and plays on her needs and fears and lets her make the choices that damn her.

So, about Rumpelstiltskin wearing a high-collared coat, button-down golden waistcoat and cravat the first time he met Regina. About the fact her father wore exactly the same thing for all the scenes in Stableboy and We Are Both. About the fact Rumpelstiltskin is playing the powerful father-figure for her, when she needs it most, while dressing like her father.

This costume department kills me dead.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts Rumpelstiltskin Henry

26 notes

Emma - Softening the Edges

I’m fascinated by the costume choices given to Emma. In series one, she inclined to pants, knee high boots, wifebeaters, and her series of various leather jackets. She was stuck with this in the beginning of S2, after she was sucked back to FTL, but here, in The Cricket Game, we see Emma dressed as we have never seen her before.

For the first time, she’s got people looking out for her in Storybrooke. She has family. She doesn’t need to pull on the armour of her badass leather jacket. She’s even started drawing her hair back from her face, symbolically showing more of herself than she has before, when she let her hair hang loose.

The very first time the family go out together, she’s wearing loose, soft wools (and her dad started life as a shepherd. How about that?), with shading of colours, which she hasn’t worn since she was a runaway with her boyfriend so many years ago. She feels safe, for a brief moment, and comfortable enough to put aside her tough-girl persona. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last.

Archie is found dead, and Emma feels wary and threatened again, so she dons her leather. Not her dark red or black leather, but a softer, neutral off-green coat, that is looser and more flexible. It isn’t armour yet, but it’s the first hint that she’s feeling wary. And she confronts Regina while wearing this, backed up by her father in his leather coat. Daddy is on the warpath, but Emma’s not sure yet.

And instead of going back to the leather, when everything falls apart, when Regina seems to be evil, when Archie appears to be dead, when Gold blackmails her into helping him, she dons a high-collared black wool coat or wraps herself in layers and scarves, a wall to hide behind. Her armour was all well and good, when she was in a world she understood, but she isn’t in that world anymore.

Armour won’t work. She can’t be strong enough, be hard, not anymore, not when she’s got people she cares for, not when she cares. So she puts up a wall, black and big enough to protect herself, a little Princess in a frightening world, and with that as her security, she can face it, no matter how it scares her.

Filed under Emma Swan ouat costume thoughts

56 notes

OUaT Costume Analysis - Masterlist thus far

I figured it’s about time I did a masterlist of all the costume analysis I have done so far for Once Upon a time, divided by character, and arranged into sequential order, based on their character timeline, rather than when they appear in the show:

Rumpelstiltskin

Mr Gold

Milah

Jefferson

Regina

Belle

Cora

Miscellaneous Others

I didn’t realise I’d done quite so many, but I’m still having fun with it :) If you want to nominate anyone to be analysed, drop it in my ask.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts rumpelstiltskin regina cora jefferson Milah Belle

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Cora - The Queen of Hearts

Sequentially, the last pictures are the first costume we ever saw Cora in, way back in Hat Trick. Canonically, it’s the second last of Cora’s new line of Evilwear. I find it very interesting that on both occasions where she has infiltrated a world where she does not belong, this is the look she goes for: a deep red dress and a mask/veil over her face.

The first time she used it, she was unmasked as a peasant girl and shamed and derided. But in this mad little world called Wonderland, this is accepted even seen as the norm, judging by the number of people in her court who hide their faces. The symbolism of the mask/veil itself is simple: she’s playing a part, hiding who she really is behind a golden facade.

And then we have the red dress. Red is the colour of passion and danger and a flashing great warning sign that this is someone who will draw you in but might well cut you to ribbons before you can escape.

The former dress incorporates the motif of hearts throughout it. This is the earlier Queen of Hearts, based on the timeline. This is just after Regina has managed to drive Snow into exile, but before the whole true-love thing has happened. Cora would have taken a couple of years to consolidate power, so the hearts motif is significant because this is really when she’s beating her the Queendom over the head with the imagery: I am the Queen of Hearts and if you do not bow, then I will take yours.

The latter red dress is an echo of the dresses she wore in FTL, which were in turn an echo of Rumpelstiltskin’s costumes themselves: a pale underlayer, a V-cut neckline and corsetry, a high collar. Even the cuffs of the later dress reflect the heavily-cuffed sleeves of Rumpel’s leather coat. The heart motif is still there, but this time, it’s only in the mask.

I think it’s very telling that even after all this time, Cora still dons the same apparel to play a part and hide her origins. She has never forgotten where she came from or how she got there, and her clothing shows that. Even if she is a Queen now, it takes a red dress and a mask to make her believe it.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts cora queen of hearts

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The Queen’s Mask

I only noticed this parallel while gathering screencaps for the Queen of Heart’s costume, and I find it very interesting that Cora dons a mask to gain access to a Palace, which is where she first gains power.

And now, in another world, where she has become a Queen and is the most powerful person in the realm, she once more puts on a mask.

To me, this is Cora playing a part in both scenarios. In the first, she simply wanted to prove herself, to be accepted and not spat upon or looked down at.

In the second, she never expected to be a Queen in her own right. Regina was always meant to be her puppet Queen. And so, as she has no puppet, she dons a mask and playacts as this strange and magical ruler of this strange and magical land.

It is not true Queenship, for Wonderland is too strange for that, but she wears the mask and plays the part and people see what they want to see, just as she did when she slipped the rose into her hair and stepped into the ballroom.

It is only when her mask is stripped away - literally and metaphorically - that you see the Miller’s daughter whose ambitions have all shattered around her.

Just as the King shattered her brief hopes by baring her face and her identity to his people, Hook  ruins her hopes of seeing her daughter’s greatness, when she realises that Regina has not come to kill her herself.

Cora may be a terrifying tyrant, but she’s a fascinating character.

Filed under ouat costume thoughts Cora Queen of Hearts