Jewelry is always interesting to find reused and recycled, because while certain styles and stones do go in an out of fashion over time, it is easier to use jewelry in a wide range of time periods and not have it look nearly so unauthentic as a piece of clothing might be. A necklace, like the example above, may be just as at home in a film taking place in the eighteenth century as it is in a period drama taking place in the twentieth.

This pearl choker was worn originally by Charlotte Rampling as Lady Spencer in the 2008 film The Duchess.  It later went on to make an appearance on Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in the 2011 second second season of ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Costume Credit: Ignacio

E-mail Submissions: submissions@recycledmoviecostumes.com

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This red dressing gown was originally designed by Alexandra Byrne, for which she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design.  The gown first appeared on Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth in the 1998 film Elizabeth. Many of Byrne’s designs went on to be used in Showtime’s The Tudors, and this piece was used in the 2008 second season on Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn. It was seen again most recently in 2011 on Eva Green as Morgan in Camelot.

Costume Credit: Anneboleyns, Anna, Asad, Katie S.

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This regency era coat was first worn by Colin Firth as Mr.Darcy in the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, and then went on to be worn by J.J. Feild as Mr.Nobley in the film Austenland. At first glance the coat does not even seem to be the same, but there are a few clues, such as the button placement and overall cut of the garment, though the actual buttons seem to have been changed. Confirmation, however, comes from Shannon Hale, the author of Austenland.  She states on her website that they are indeed one in the same:

"Later, I find out the costume coat and hat J.J. Feild is wearing are the same ones Colin Firth wore in Pride & Prejudice. Somehow, I’ve managed to enter Austenland. It’s ridiculous. And it’s so much fun."

Costume Credit: ohgilbertblythe

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The Superman suit is about as iconic as a costume can get. First seen on the cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938, the design has changed significantly throughout various incarnations in comics, film and television.  Despite various versions of the suit being different than others, each variation has almost always retained enough of its original essence to still be instantly recognizable.

In 2006 the suit was re-imagined once again by Louise Mingenbach, and was worn by Brandon Routh as Superman in Superman Returns. In a 2010 Comic Con panel, which you can see here, it was revealed that this suit would go on to be worn again in the CW Television Series, Smallville, which traces the early origins of Clark Kent. The costume made a couple of appearances on the show as a prop, before ultimately being worn by Tom Welling as Clark Kent in the last episode of the series.  Welling only wore part of the suit – enough to do the famous “shirt reveal.”  Other shots of Welling in the full suit are CGI, which account for any differences in the “look” of the Smallville suit versus the Superman Returns suit.

To read an excellent article on the Superman suit over the years, check out this excellent piece over at ScreenRant.

Costume Credit: Aengus

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Can’t wait for the fifth season premiere of Downton Abbey?  If you are in the Wilmington area, check out the Winterthur Museum’s exhibit of costumes from Downton Abbey. The exhibit does include a couple of recycled pieces, including this fur coat worn by Shirley MacLaine. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015.

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This distinctive pearl necklace was provided by Joseff of Hollywood, who designed jewelry for many films during Hollywood’s Golden Age. Joseff was not contracted to a studio, and thus rented his jewelry out to various productions.

The above necklace first appeared on Kay Francis as Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez in the 1941 adaptation of Charley’s Aunt. The second time it was used was for the 1952 adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel My Cousin Rachel.  The necklace was worn by Olivia de Havilland as Countess Rachel Sangalletti Ashley, and this time it features somewhat in the plot of the production. Richard Burton’s character gives the necklace to Rachel as a symbolic gesture that he wishes to marry her, which sets the remainder of the story into motion.  The passage in the novel describing the necklace says:

There were four strands. They fastened around the neck like a band, with a single diamond clasp.

The description in the novel obviously does not match its representation on screen, but it is a beautiful necklace none the less.

To learn more about Joseff of Hollywood jewelry, you can visit their official website, or read Jewelry of the Stars: Creations from Joseff of Hollywood by Joanne Dubbs Ball.

Costume Credit: Dean, Joseff of Hollywood

E-mail Submissions: submissions@recycledmoviecostumes.com

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When it comes to recycling movie costumes, it’s far more common to come across costumes on women instead of men. Wardrobe pieces for men and women are recycled with the same frequency, but in general, and with a few exceptions throughout various eras, clothing for men has been less showy or detailed than that of women, and thus much harder to spot a second time. This is not to imply that costume designers today do not put the same amount of thought or work into costumes for male characters - merely that they generally do not jump off the screen as easily.   However, there was a time when the wardrobes of male characters weren’t given the same consideration of those of female characters.   Deborah Noodleman Landis’ excellent book Hollywood Costume states that:

The busy wardrobe department at Paramount was divided into two sections: women’s and character costumes….in keeping with the practice at the time, as chief designer Greer only clothed the principle women in a film.

It was not at all uncommon to see the credits on a film stating “Gowns by Adrian.” with no real credit to any other designer for working on clothing for the men.  Again, this is no longer the case, and costumers today work with both men and women characters, giving them thoughtfully designed costumes to fit their character’s personality.  Still, certain eras such as a the 16th and 18th century tend to stick out more for male costumes.

This beautifully detailed Elizabethan doublet was worn by Nicholas le Prevost as Robert Sir DeLesseps in the 1998 film Shakespeare In Love. The piece was designed by Sandy Powell, for which she won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. The costume went on to be used again in the 2005 mini-series The Virgin Queen, where it was worn on Tom Hardy as Robert Dudley.  It was worn a second time in 2005 on Tom Sturridge as William Herbert in A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets.   Lastly, it was used in the 2007 first season of Showtime’s The Tudors, where it was worn on Jonathan Rhys Myers as Henry VIII.

Costume Credit: Katie S.

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This beautiful Victorian gown is a wonderful example of the importance of both good alterations and using the appropriate undergarments for a period gown.  It’s a true testament to the quality of the costumes that are reused and recycled over the years that they can still hold up well enough and look beautiful after two, three - sometimes even twelve uses.  However, even a gown that is still in great condition after a long period of time will suffer if it is not properly supported in the method in which it was designed.

This Victorian gown was designed for Francesca Annis in the 1978 mini-series Lillie, in which she played the title character of Lillie Langtry.  Her dress is not only stunning - it fits her like a glove and is supported underneath by the proper corset that gives it a very distinctive shape.  The gown was used again in 1981 on Jeananne Crowley as Rossanna McGee in Cribb: Invitation to a Dynamite Party. This time it appears that it is supported by the proper undergarments, but that it is just a bit too large for Jeananne Crowley.  The third usage of this garment was on Gina Mckee as Irene in the 2002 production of The Forsyte Saga. McKee may be wearing some kind of corset, though if she is, the gown is far too large for her and has not been taken in appropriately at all. The gown on McKee is still in relatively good condition, but without being properly supported and fitted is frankly unremarkable. It is fascinating to see the vast differences between its appearance in 2002 and 1978.

Costume Credit: James, Shrewsbury Lasses

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This purple gown saw quite a gap of time before it was used a second time.  Its first known appearance was in 1993 in The Musketeers, where it was worn on Rebecca de Mornay as Milady.  In 2010 it was seen again on Sarah Bolger as Lady Mary in Showtime’s The Tudors.

Costume Credit: Emilie

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There are many current and upcoming television shows that have period clothing, as well as the opportunity for spotting recycled costumes. Check out this great list!

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